Taking a ‘benefits led’ approach to modern commerce transformation — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

Approaches to the modern store

Despite the challenges of monolithic systems, most retailers have managed to deliver on their multichannel customer promise through clever approaches to integrating systems that weren’t designed to work together.

As retail increasingly focuses on a single view of the customer, the dynamic unification of channels and experiences is critical to driving the success of the modern store.

A design-driven approach to adopting modern commerce does not have to rely on a single program of change, or a replacement of everything that already works.

Below are four benefits-based approaches we’re seeing retailers take to drive change. These can be deployed independently or simultaneously, but supporting them with the right technology operating model is important for success.

1. Building in the cloud

Cloud-native architectures have fundamentally changed the pace of software and functionality delivery.

Getting started on a modern trading journey no longer requires a complete ‘rip and replace’ of existing systems.

Increasingly, retailers are adopting cloud-native and modern commerce toolsets to get started. The relative cost of entry is low for technology teams that already have architecture and development skills in-house or through their delivery partners.

In addition to lower running cost considerations, scalability, flexibility, security and resiliency are other benefits the cloud can offer, supporting retailers’ long-term business cases.

2. Implementation and integration of leading retail platforms

There has been a rapid shift to cloud native in the market for packaged software vendors. On-premises and SaaS providers have redesigned their extensive feature-rich capability sets and delivery approach (commonly DevOps).

In addition to this, many new and emerging vendors are also recognized for creating leading retail platforms and components in a rapidly changing market.

This is increasingly recognized within in-store “experience transformation” such as promotions, self-scanning apps, mobile commerce and customer service, and back-office solutions such as order management, pricing and inventory management.

3. Mobilize where you can

The benefits of mobile devices are well understood in retail. The ability to bring transaction capture to the customer in many formats (tablet, kiosk, self-scan), enables retailers to drive greater agility in their store.

This agility supports assisted selling, concierge services, appointments, queuing, and improved customer interaction. It also boosts productivity and, if implemented well, can substantially reduce costs.

Modern commerce architectures can further enhance mobility strategies in stores by reducing the hardware load and physical back-end requirement in distributed states.

This is where the financial benefits can really accelerate, as the total cost of operation can be designed to be much lighter on hardware inventory, logistics, and maintenance.

4. Make payment work

Payment is the critical digital touchpoint to ensure the customer experience feels secure, convenient, and personalized.

Building customer journeys that support contactless in-store mobility and compliance with international tax regulations requires approaches that go beyond traditional service provider implementations.

Modern business architectures offer a way to move quickly and build alongside existing solutions. When combined with endpoint technologies that are flexible and agile, payment can quickly become an enabler rather than a hindrance to strong customer experiences.

bringing it all together

Retailers can take modern in-store business approaches in many different ways. The important thing is that they are unique to your goals and plans to offer an attractive, reliable, convenient and personalized experience for buyers.

The key to getting started is often to quickly move to a “test and learn” approach to test the business benefits of concepts. Gaining access to your own cloud and microservices, or buying best-in-class, can happen at speed and at relatively low cost with the help of best-in-class service providers and partners.

To support retailers in this area, we have created a document of deep ideas share our experience in this area and make recommendations on how to select implementation and service partners.

About the Author:

Rich Lowe is CEO of PMC Retail. He is passionate about building teams to deliver solutions and services that create meaningful change for clients.

His experience in operational management, IT strategy, and software services uniquely positions him to understand the challenges of today’s IT leaders and ensure PMC is best positioned to respond to them.

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