News Roundup: Disruption Hits the Toy Industry, The Future of Work?, and Accelerated Buying for Procurement

Disruption in the toy industry, more about the future of work, and faster buying for procurement. News that could affect you in the weekly roundup.

The ever-increasing battle for market and mind share is fought through a productivity, efficiency, and adaptation. In light of the rapidly-changing business landscape, this statement has never been more true. Through the use of AI, innovative new products, and surveying what is most helpful to potential buyers, companies can work together to ensure other businesses and consumers alike are maximizing their business potential.

Toys R Us liquidation won’t be child’s play for toy industry

Many adults today remember family trips to Toys R Us as children, where they would spend hours playing with their newest most-prized possessions. The famed retailer Toys R Us just announced it is closing all of its 735 mortar-and-brick stores in the U.S. This is another example of disruption at the hands of innovation, as companies like Blockbuster and taxi cabs become obsolete as newcomers such as Netflix, Uber, and others reinvent the market space. As e-commerce and online suppliers such as Amazon continue to change the expectations around availability and accessibility, buyers are continuing to move towards an online e-commerce model.

Interestingly enough, this trend is democratizing the market share landscape, creating an opportunity for smaller vendors to emerge and gain market share. One, using channels such as Amazon to promote their wares helps them compete with larger big-box stores who also sell on the e-commerce platform. Yet, and specifically in the case of children’s toys, more unconventional suppliers, such as party supply stores or drugstores, and neighborhood boutique shops will likely receive higher traffic from buyers who want to see toys in person before purchasing. Another example, specialty video stores can still be found in many big cities and independent movies have found their way into deals with bigger companies like Amazon Prime.

The workplace of the future

AI continues to graze the news as a hot topic among businesses, especially as they look for ways to take advantage of the new technology to increase efficiency and automate manual processes. Although many people are still concerned that AI will take away jobs, many businesses point out how AI has already improved their workplaces, including being able to better predict what employees will leave, help make warehouse workers more safe and efficient, and even suggesting who deserves pay raises and promotions.

In the conversation around what “robots” will take over and what they won’t the framing for businesses should be smarter not harder. With AI and Machine Learning automating manual tasks helping employees and processes become more productive and efficient the pace of innovation will only continue to grow exponentially, as employees have more time for strategic work and deep thinking.

IT buyers want more transparency and less hassle

Procurement professionals are always looking for ways to be more efficient. Part of the way they want this to happen? Less sales calls. Nearly half of procurement employees said they’d like to see resellers cut out of the procurement process and even more than that said they want to do the research on their own and only talk to sales teams when they need help, at their own initiation. Not surprising as these are patterns also seen across the board for consumer purchases.

Simply put, buyers want more self-service options and they want to get what they want quickly at the right price. As both procurement and sellers want to sign a deal quickly, this could impact how the entire sales process is structured, from negotiation to signing.

As organizations seek to adapt and set new productivity levels, putting the latest technology to use is vital to success. Companies can no longer afford to stay in old patterns and use legacy tools. Innovating and staying up-to-date with the most current software is key to thriving in this new business environment.