Innovative Retail Technologies

NOV-DEC 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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are faced with having to invest in better technologies to deliver the growing array of products and services that consumers are expecting from retailers. The industry is in the throes of significant disruption and transformation — smaller retailers are trying to find a niche, while larger retailers are expanding their missions, blurring the lines between subsectors. To respond to the expectations that retailers will continue to improve product selection, product availability, services, channel, and fulfillment, small retailers, like their large counterparts, are increasingly finding that siloed legacy systems, disconnected assets and products, and the same business model and processes from years ago just cannot provide the innovation and agility that they need to offer a competitive experience to the customer. Enter digital transformation. Digital transformation describes the continuing process in which enterprises are leveraging digital competencies (strategies, processes, and technologies) to innovate new business models, products, and services that respond to evolving customer imperatives. Retail respondents to IDC's 2016 Vertical IT & Communications Survey (IDC, May, 2016) told us that 25% of technology initiatives are being driven by digital transformation. SMRs are leveraging their size to apply even more focus to digital transformation than their bigger competitors, who are more bogged down in business model and organizational change. Why? Because digital transformation is enabling SMRs to drive productivity improvements and revenue growth through the adoption of modern platforms and technologies that leverage data and analytics to rebalance stores and digital properties intelligently. Interactions with consumers win favor by saving the customer time and money, while creating rich contextualized experiences that engage consumers in many new ways (at the shelf/rack, online, at the subway, on a mobile device, at a remote display, voice- enabled bots, and coming soon via AR (augmented reality)-enabled gamification and virtual reality). Employees also benefit, improving retention and customer service levels, as the well-informed associate is well-positioned to be a valuable resource. (See Figure 1.) Aligning and Prioritizing Retail Commerce: Best Practices And Innovation How should SMRs align and prioritize retail commerce best practices and in- novation to improve agility? Leslie Hand: Figure 2 says it all. Retail business is increasingly cloud-based, mobile-enabled, and data-powered. The customer is buying more online; the consumer device connects the consumer to both digital and physical experiences and enables the retailer to contextualize and localize engagement. Large retailers are investing faster in mobility, particularly mobile applications, as many small to midsize retailers may have been betting that browser-based commerce would carry them into the future. But mobility is all about enabling efficiency and productivity for employees and a richer, more personalized experience for customers. By leveraging location- based data and real-time activity to assess consumer purpose or context and customer history and psychographics to SMR Supplement 18 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Cloud Services Mobile Devices Mobile Applications Business Analytics Internet of Things Cybersecurity Big Data Socially Enabled Business Processes Wearable Technology 3-D Printing Battery and Power Technologies Sensors Cognitive Computing/ Artificial Intelligence Robotics Which of the following do you believe will have the most impact on your business over the next five years? — SMR and LG Retail Businesses LG SMR Source: 2016 Vertical IT & Communications Survey, IDC, May, 2016 Figure 2

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