The Future Retail Success Depends On Culture, Not Technology

by Denise Lee Yohn

Between virtual assistants like Amazon’s Echo, tests of delivery service by drone, and the option to pay by Bitcoin, it’s clear technology is disrupting the retail industry. Traditional retailers that struggle to adopt new technologies like AI and deep learning seem doomed for failure. But to be prepared for the future, the retail industry needs to undergo a cultural transformation more than it needs to adopt any given technology — at least, that was the impression Arun Nair, co-founder and chief technology officer of RetailNext, gave me.

After reading a piece Nair wrote for RetailNext’s 7th Annual Executive Forum entitled Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Your Not-So-Distant Store of the Future, I had the opportunity to interview him personally. Although his article states, “Savvy, winning retailers will recognize the technology solutions are much more of a today thing than a tomorrow thing,” we spent most of our conversation talking about the way people in the retail industry need to change.

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