Retail has come a long way in the 12 months between the NRF Big Show 2019 and NRF 2020. Technology displays shifted from visionary projections and beta demonstrations to live experiences and actual case studies. Retail technology is reshaping the customer experience at an astounding rate. As an example, Redefining the customer experience through immersive technology, presented H&M’s use of virtual reality to allow the customer to try on and design their own, customized tee-shirt and submit it for printing in store. Google demonstrated Ulta Beauty’s augmented reality kiosk that allows shoppers to virtually apply different colors of make-up. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past year, retailers have deployed game-changing technologies that have transformed the customer experience, delivering personalization and convenience.
While the digital transformation is alive and well in the front of the house, there is a noticeable disparity between customer-facing and back-of-the-house technology. Retailers know where they need to be when it comes to technology: fully integrated, completely seamless, real-time access to information. However, back-of-the-house transformation, in many cases, is still in the planning phases.
Retailers are wary of trying to completely reconstruct their back-end operations around new technologies. At the show, retailers were asking about tools that deliver user-defined analytics and customizable dashboards that unlock access to meaningful data. While certainly available, these kinds of customized analytics systems are quite pricey and often require long lead times. With limited time and budget, retailers are pressed to leverage their existing systems and build a year-over-year plan to reach their fully integrated destination.
The goal in 2020 will be to close the technology gap that exists between the front- and back end of retail. In many ways, customer-facing technologies are components that are net new as opposed to replacement systems. On the back end, things are more complicated with existing legacy systems embedded into the core of the business. While perhaps not fully integrated, these systems may be connected, making them challenging to uproot. The complexity of the digital transformation is pressing retailers to take hard steps to achieve back-of-the-house integration in the coming months.
A trusted integrator to leading retailers for nearly 40 years, Telaid has experience helping retailers achieve their business objectives with technology. We understand how to fold in new technologies as budgets and resources allow, integrating them with legacy systems while planning for future integration with emerging technologies to ensure maximum ROI on all investments.
As retailers strive to achieve supply chain transparency, optimize store layouts, shore up loss prevention and gain precisions control over inventory, they must work with existing technologies today and plan for emerging technologies of tomorrow. As you dive into your plan to incite the digital transformation across your operations, don’t miss the opportunity to benefit from our experience.