Retail technology is a critical part of merchants’ success
Using the latest retail software can streamline the point of sale, improve inventory management and extract consumer insight from the number of sales and other touch points that customers engage with every time they research or purchase an item. More than ever, the most up-to-date software and hardware helps drive success, from ecommerce to brick-and-mortar merchandising.
Because of technology's importance in retail, decision-makers are investing more in it than ever, according to recent findings from Integrated Solutions for Retailers. The source noted that this is a response to an increasingly informed consumer base, many of whom expect price matching or who might know more about a store's products than its staff.
While only 50 percent of retailers in 2009 agreed that they invested in technology helpful to their success, this increased to 70 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, many of the remaining respondents felt that their companies were not sufficiently budgeting for the latest software and hardware. Sometimes this was for economic reasons, but other surveyed professionals suggested that decision-makers were neglecting that side of the business.
The rising role of mobile technology in retail
Integrated Solutions for Retailers found eight key areas where retailers were investing more in technology, with many upgrading or adding to their POS systems to enable ecommerce or mobile commerce, as well as to manage their workforce or provide added smartphone- or tablet-focused capabilities to their operations.
Emphasizing mobile technology may be important to both brick-and-mortar stores and online sales, as some stores are already issuing tablets to their staff members to assist with in-store assistance or speed up the purchase process. The tools can also grant more portable insight into inventory and store operations, and 48 percent of respondents to the study stated that they were investing in mobile POS hardware. Smartphone-based payments becoming commonplace seems closer to a reality than ever, and some merchants are preparing for this in the coming year.
Understandably, budgeting for retail intelligence systems was also high, with the source noting that it experienced the highest year-over-year growth out of any retail software investments. Possessing a greater understanding of the customer, worker and business all remain critical to keeping shoppers in the store and improving efficiency.
Because of the important role technology plays in many retail activities, decision-makers should seek comprehensive software options that can integrate all of these processes as adeptly as possible.
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