Ever since the CES and NRF conferences, innovations in retail technology have been making the news seemingly everywhere we look. From Twitter to television, entrepreneurs, investors, and salespeople are mentioning the “next big thing” in this space. However, it all begs the question: Are we moving in the right direction? The world today constantly discusses pushing the boundaries and implementing the newest breakthroughs, but doesn’t necessarily take into account the costs or implications that this thought model may have. In other words, sensationalism may not always match up with the bottom line.
So, if this isn’t the answer, what should be steering technology moving forward? It is more important first that retailers be able to maximize the utility of their deployed solutions – to the evidenced benefit of the shopping customer – before focusing on technology that the store infrastructure cannot support. The Worldlink Integration Group team sees it boiling down to these two key components:
We see terms like “augmented reality” and “IoT” hitting the airwaves. Yet, many do not consider a core fact which we touched on in last week’s article: Many stores do not even have WiFi in place, let alone the capability of deploying such technologies. It’s very easy to get focused on the possibilities that can arise from implementing the newest innovations in the retail world, but businesses must also recognize how difficult it can be to apply these strides to the broad spectrum of brick and mortar stores when most of them aren’t prepared internally. Rather than focusing on specific scenarios, we believe that innovation needs to ultimately achieve scale.
The next key component that should be emphasized moving forward is the dedication to the customer experience. Yes, retailers should welcome technologies which may make their lives easier, but at the end of the day, it’s the impression they make on the customer that makes the biggest difference to the bottom line. We believe that innovation should identify pain points coming from the consumer, and find solutions which address these issues. Happy customers generally correlate with happy retailers.
In closing, we are dedicated to providing the most value to our clients, and believe that the key to this is to put new technologies under a closer lens. We cannot continue to innovate for the sake of innovation. If you agree, and would like to connect with Worldlink regarding improving your IT infrastructure, we encourage you to utilize our Calendly scheduler that is in the upper right-hand corner of this page.