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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determine how to influence and persuade the consumer to buy "now," a browser becomes a buyer. SMR companies must prioritize mobile now. Apps including commerce are important, but marketing and location-enabled customer service is just as valuable to conversion. Retailers should leverage responsive and flexible platforms that enable plug-ins via APIs (application program interfaces) as programs change. Retailers should be able to jump on a craze like Pokémon Go within weeks, not months, if desired. Architectures that enable agility are critical. Let's look a bit more at how mobility drives foundational infrastructure investments. How To Rejuvenate Infrastructure Foundations How has the notion of being a digital business altered how retailers are invest- ing in and managing core infrastructure? Bob Eastman: Retailers' infrastructures have many pieces — from network and wireless network backbones, to security systems, to instore displays and digital signage. As the digital transformation sweeps into the retail industry, retailers must look at all of these areas to ensure that they have the infrastructure in place that makes them competitive to the market and responsive to their customers. The challenge for the SMR, then, is to leverage the retail infrastructure and smaller IT budget to deliver a retail experience that is as close as possible to, if not better than, the retail experience that the larger retailers are delivering. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in mobile applications, which have rapidly become one of the most important pieces of a retailer's infrastructure. With consumers' mobile devices becoming the primary platform for communication, social engagement, search and information exploration, discovery and evaluation, and purchase and fulfillment, consumers are expecting every retailer to provide them with more mobile capabilities. For SMRs, the strategy has to be to leverage every possible customer touchpoint to increase frequency of purchase and size of shopping cart with a frictionless, pleasant shopping experience. To proliferate the number of possible customer touchpoints, the SMR has to provide more mobile capabilities to consumers to provide them the opportunities to shop whenever, however, and wherever they choose. IDC's research shows that while larger retailers have the edge in deployed mobile capabilities, retailers are working hard to catch up — with more SMRs moving from the "not yet considering or pursuing" into researching the value of mobile apps and pilots (See Figure 3). While 61.6% of large retailers in IDC's 19 SMR Supplement 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% In production enterprisewide In production in business units or departments Pilot/Proof of Concept Considered not yet pursuing Not yet considering Small Retailers Large Retailers Researching/Under consideration Deployment of Mobile Apps by Small vs. Large Retailers "Mobile capabilities, delivered via APIs, are surely looking like a very strategic part of the retail infrastructure." Bob Eastman, Research Manager, IDC Retail Insights Source: 2016 Vertical IT & Communications Survey, IDC, May, 2016 Figure 3

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