We recently wrote an article on the key takeaways of NEWSTORE’s 2019-2020 Omnichannel Leadership Report. There, we discussed how the industry leaders are continuing to gain market share while mid-market brands struggled to stay afloat.
One big reason for this performance gap is the commitment to innovation that the country’s top companies have adopted instead of being satisfied with retail models which haven’t changed in some time. Investing in infrastructure creates a whole world of opportunities – options that could give you an edge over competitors in our increasingly saturated market.
As Jon Wrennall, CTO of Fujitsu in the UK and Ireland put it in an interview with TechRadar: “IT is like a car – whichever way you use one, it always costs money. It will never come for free; it needs looking after. At some point, it will break down or get vandalized. The most effective and efficient ownership model for you will depend on what you need it for, the way you use it and what you actually want.”
If your goal is to climb to the top, here are four reasons why it all starts with overhauling your outdated infrastructure in 2020:
Infrastructure & Customer Insights
There’s a lot that we can learn about our customers if we have the right foundation to make it possible. According to the NEWSTORE report, only 27% of` store associates have the ability to add notes to a shopper’s profile. Accommodating information from the simplest of notes to customer-facing components like mobile apps and IoT endpoints could be a game-changer. Robust networking solutions enable stores to make sense of all this data.
As the report mentions, “To build a rapport with shoppers, you need more than an email address. Most brands are reduced to just that, though.” The reality is that not enough organizations are making the technology infrastructure investments necessary for them to learn much from their customers. Deploying resilient, flexible IT systems that allow for in-depth analytics gives owners actionable insights that can help inform future decisions.
Infrastructure & Lost Business
It’s no longer enough just to provide the right products. Stores now need to shift their focus towards making the customer experience as convenient for visitors as possible. Innovations like processing the customer insights we listed in the paragraph above are just the tip of the iceberg. Customers have come to expect technology innovation these days, choosing to take their business to brands that are keeping with the times.
For years, retailers have chosen to compete on price, as it was the most natural data point where they could build a competitive advantage. Lately, however, customer priorities have changed. American consumers will now pay 17% more to purchase from a company with a reputation for great service. How’s that for a reality check? Today’s buyers are actually willing to pay more for a great experience, which has led to two-thirds of companies choosing to compete on customer experience over price, up from 36% a decade ago.
Infrastructure & Growth
BizTech Magazine put it best, “Before investing in and deploying any new technologies, a retailer must ensure that its back-end IT infrastructure is capable of supporting the new demands that will be placed on it. The technologies that can enhance customer experience, improve sales and boost efficiency can’t do their job if they’re not supported by the right network and data center investments.
When retailers don’t have the back-end resources to support new technologies, it opens the door for them to fall behind the rest of the pack. In fact, according to a survey by DX Journal, “20 percent of the 308 U.S. and U.K. retail tech decision makers surveyed said they’ve had to postpone or cancel the launch of new in-store tech as a result of infrastructure limitations.”
IT Infrastructure planning is more than the piecemeal approach many stores have grown accustomed to taking. Instead, it’s about preparing for years down the line when your store may need to deploy new tech that can make a difference to its bottom line.
Infrastructure & Long-Term Costs
While we know it takes a lot to allocate budget towards an IT infrastructure overhaul, the truth of the matter is that it’s actually quite costly to service and maintain legacy systems, and it leaves companies with opportunity costs that would far outweigh the price to upgrade. According to a recent study commissioned by SnapLogic, “Businesses in the US and the UK are missing out on an economy worth $140bn due to their disconnected data roadmaps which are hindering innovation, development and growth.”
Make no mistake – There will definitely be a point where it’s more expensive to run your legacy system than it would have been if you had just upgraded when you should have.
Let’s talk facts.
Aside from the customer sentiment and data customization reasons that we highlighted earlier, there’s another huge reason why you should be upgrading your technology infrastructure sooner than later: Reliability. Whether you’re talking about hardware or software, if you have an older system, you’re also likely to have higher failure rates. It could be something small, or it could be a POS malfunction over the holidays – why roll the dice when you don’t have to?
Work with Worldlink to Upgrade Your Infrastructure
At Worldlink, we can help your store upgrade its IT infrastructure to keep up with the times. Work with our team to create a faster, safer, and more reliable system that performs better than ever.
Contact us to learn more, or give us a call at (949) 861-2830.