How IT investments are boosting retail sales

Samsung IT solutions for retail
The retail industry worldwide is in full swing to welcome shoppers, as the holiday season knocks the door. IT investment by retail shops will allow shoppers to go back with a deal and improved customer experience.

Retailers are doing all they can do to make the maximum use of the year’s busiest buying and gifting weeks. Omni-channel commerce is one of the top priorities for this year.

According to a latest RichRelevance survey, shoppers will complete almost half of their holiday shopping – browsing and buying – online this year.

Ahead of the holidays, a lot of innovations and product enhancements were observed in technologies aimed at different retail purposes. These include payment solutions, store management solutions, service optimising solutions and many more.

Recently, Indian online shopping websites Flipkart and Snapdeal have increased their investment in IT to manage spike in demand during special offers.

Payment devices

Innovative payment devices have dramatically transformed the retail point-of-sale to be much more than a box that takes card-based payments.

In October, Verifone launched its first-ever fully-integrated, Linux-based product family, Verifone Engage. The company calls it as next generation family of payment devices.

In September, world’s largest e-commerce company Amazon announced an integrated payment gateway and logistics for Indian e-retailers. The integrated offering will enable e-retailers to use the gateway for order payments and logistics to deliver goods.

Personalized services

Recent trend indicates growing interest for personalized services among customers and retailers. Similar to other verticals, technology offers wide shopping options to customers and retailers. Nowadays, customers expect and want personalized services at shops.

RichRelevance CMO Diane Kegley says new digital technologies and advances in in-store personalization can fix nearly all of the main frustrations shoppers experience in the store.

Personalization requires complete knowledge about a customer, which can be linked to customer engagement platforms at the store. The store employee can make use of these data to give personalised customer experience.

Enterprise IT vendor NCR has developed one such solution, the NCR Power Picking, new store-based order fulfilment software. NCR Power Picking directs the user to the exact location of each item within the order. Items and quantities are confirmed using barcode scanning, and then items are placed into the appropriate tote or bag.

There are signs that deployment of in-store Wi-Fi has the most positive impact on the retail sales and retail loyalty. According to a study by IHL, tech savvy retailers are already seeing revenue increases from deploying in-store Wi-Fi, be it for employees or customers.

Challenges

As the world go digital, retailers face significant challenges in getting new technologies rolled out to stores.

Latest NetSuite study conducted by RSR Research revealed that a strong majority of the retailers surveyed feel their existing technology or infrastructure is preventing them from moving forward with new omnichannel solutions.

95 percent of retailers agree that the store and the digital experience must be brought together for a continuous, seamless experience. At the same time, 77 percent of retailers believe their legacy point-of-sale (POS) is preventing them from providing a consistent customer experience across channels.

“When it comes to how to support the convergence of digital and the full shopping journey, retailers are stuck – waiting for something better to come along than the disparate systems they have,” said Steve Rowan, managing partner of RSR Research and an author of the report.

“The reality is there are options out there, but even better-performing retailers are cautious in approaching them, fearing both the cost and the pain of making the change.”

The study found that many retailers are unsure of how to address these challenges. Replacing point systems like ecommerce or POS does not solve the underlying problem of a lack of visibility across the enterprise into customers, orders and inventory.

e-commerce gains momentum

To run the business, enterprises must meet customers’ ever-evolving online shopping needs. A glance through some of the recent IT deployments in the retail sector underlines this view.

Playboy Enterprises Inc unveiled its e-commerce initiative with the launch of PlayboyShop.com, a brand new mobile online store featuring newly designed apparel, barware, accessories, handmade items, and more.

Russian online retailer OZON.ru CEO Danny Perekalsky says, “It’s vital that we offer the most precise shopper-centric pricing that is truly responsive to what is happening in our competitive landscape.”

Hence, the company decided to deploy Revionics Price Optimization. OZON.ru is the leading eCommerce retailer in Russia with more than 750,000 visitors to the site daily.

In October, Austrian food retailer BILLA deployed NCR FastLane SelfServ Checkout hardware and software. The software will assist BILLA to manage discounts and integrate coupon payments, in addition to cash and card payments. BILLA Advantage Club discounts can be processed at all check outs.

Alibaba Group’s 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival will commence on November 11. The Chinese group will use this occasion to launch a new series of initiatives in globalization, logistics, and mobile and omni-channel commerce to improve the shopping experience for buyers and sellers.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday spending in the US will grow 12 percent to $3 billion this year, according to Adobe’s Digital Index forecast. In addition, online sales for Black Friday will be $2.7 billion (+15 percent) and online Thanksgiving Day sales will be $1.6 billion (+18 percent).

According to IMRG, industry association for e-retail, UK retail websites received 181 million visits on Black Friday in 2014. This number will grow substantially this year.

CDNetworks says it can assist e-commerce portals to handle pressure. It has a network of points of presence to serve website content to shoppers in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, South America, Russia, Asia, and mainland China.

Retail chains are utilizing IT to improve customer experience on both their online shops and physical retail outlets. Happy shopping!

Arya MM
[email protected]

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