It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself to you as the new senior editor of Chain Store Age, focused on covering all the news, trends and happenings in the constantly changing world of retail IT. Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace with major implications for retail. Emerging technology areas such as mobile, social and cloud are changing the very nature of customer experience, while the explosion of Big Data offers both a major challenge and opportunity for retailers that can successfully harness the immense of volume of information that is now available.
Meanwhile, the full potential of RFID technology continues to elude most retailers a decade after it first became widely available, and of course traditional systems managing core areas of the retail enterprise such as warehousing, distribution, inventory management and POS are still of vital importance. And everything has to run on some type of infrastructure. Complex? Yes. But also exciting. And when managed correctly, IT has the power to transform retail organizations into highly effective and efficient operations that maximize revenues while providing customers with the products they want, when and where they want them.
Some of you may recognize my name. I spent eight years spanning the late 1990s to the mid-2000s editing a variety of retail publications for RSAG, and since that have time have also spent stints covering retail IT for publications such as EWeek and Retailer Daily. But I am now fully re-entering the world of retail IT journalism with Chain Store Age, the pre-eminent retail trade publication, and I plan to be here for a long, long time.
Many things have changed since the mid-2000s, but the underlying business needs that drive retail technology adoption have stayed the same. I entered the field at a time when “e-commerce” was still a unique, separate niche of retailing. Now selling items online is a routine activity that almost every retailer beyond the mom-and-pop category engages in. Social and mobile are still new and relatively siloed areas today, but undoubtedly over time will become enmeshed within the broader retail enterprise just like e-commerce did. Cloud is the hot new infrastructure today, while client-server infrastructure was sweeping the industry in the mid-to-late 1990s.
The point is that retailers are always looking for ways to more effectively provide consumers with desired goods at an affordable cost while earning a fair profit. My role is to illustrate how technology can help retailers accomplish this goal. And it doesn’t matter whether that technology is the latest, greatest 21st century innovation or a thin client POS terminal – if it helps retailers do their jobs better and generate higher revenues, it’s worthy of coverage.
I look forward to covering everything going on in retail IT in the days, weeks, months and years to come. And I consider my job to be a partnership with the industry I cover – please feel free to contact me with comments, suggestions, critiques, news items or anything else you think I should know about. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter at @DanBerthiaume1. I can’t wait to hear from you.