Study: Retailers make technology a key priority for 2018
Using technology to improve the shopping experience is topping a majority of retailers’ 2018 to-do lists.
More than half (53%) of retailers will focus on leveraging technology to improve the shopping experience this year. This is an impressive jump from the 27% of retailers feel their current infrastructure is already capable of improving the in-store experience, according to a report from Zynstra, a software provider of intelligent edge infrastructure.
According to the data, only one-quarter of retailers said their in-store IT allowed them to frequently and regularly improve their in-store experience. Meanwhile, one-fifth said they had to delay or reject a past roll out of new in-store applications because of IT limitations, costs or concerns.
Retailers also plan to use technology to improve operational efficiencies (44%), enhance security and compliance of in-store IT (42%), drive in-store innovation (34%), mitigate the risk of end-of-life technology (27%), and incorporate all engagement channels in a single platform (17%).
“In today’s retail environment, particularly those organizations with a distributed branch network, having the right technology in place to support both operations and overall customer experience is a key competitive advantage,” said Nick East, CEO, Zynstra. “Increasingly, we’re finding the biggest impact on store cost and day-to-day operational efficiency improvements lie in implementing an intelligent edge infrastructure with end-to-end management and control.”
According to results, virtualization of point-of-sale systems is also playing an increasingly important role in in-store efficiency. Twenty-three percent of retailers said they already use the technology, while 26% said they would adopt it as soon as possible, and 21% said they would do so in the next two years.
“2018 is a crucial year in laying down the infrastructure that will reduce costs today and provide a long-term platform for a consistent and intentional customer experience,” said East. “In the challenging retail conditions that are predicted, those who don’t take this step are going to lose out.”
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Whole Foods Market putting new limits on vendors
Under the ownership of Amazon, Whole Foods Market is changing the way some products are sold in its stores — and asking vendors to help pay for them.
The changes, outlined in an email sent to the grocer’s suppliers, are intended to save on costs and centralize operations, reported the Washington Post, and come as Amazon pushes to reduce prices at Whole Foods’ stores.
Previously, Whole Foods allowed small mom-and-pop suppliers to oversee their own merchandise or hire local firms to do so. But under the new rules, suppliers must work exclusively with Stamford, Conn.-based retail strategy firm Daymon, and its subsidiary, SAS Retail Services, to schedule in-store tastings, check inventory on shelves and create displays on their behalf, according to the report. And suppliers are being required to help fund the effort, The Post said. For example, suppliers that sell more than $300,000 of goods annually to Whole Foods will be required to discount their products by 3% (for groceries) or 5% (for health and beauty products) to fund the new program.
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