Calling all retail technology vendors – are you developing software and systems that are helping retailers successfully ride the innovation wave carrying their industry today?
Virtual reality, visual search online and voice-activated solutions are just a few examples of the new wave of innovation lifting up the retail industry at present – and all tech companies operating in the sector are working out how to play their part.
Brands are merging their store assets with their digital platforms, and high streets and shopping malls today are becoming more experienced led. There’s a real hunger for retail technology companies to find the solutions to support the industry’s new beginning.
Partly driven by creative retail technology companies developing new ideas but, primarily, in reaction to the changing needs of the consumer, the innovation agenda shows no signs of abating in retail circles. It’s an exciting time to be involved in what I’ve always found to be such a dynamic sector.
Retail stores are like Minority Report
The famous future-gazing 2002 film starring Tom Cruise, Minority Report, often gets referenced at retail technology industry events around the globe, with commentators arguing today’s shopping experience is starting to reflect the scenes depicted in the movie.
Within the retail world, the film stands out for the way it envisages personalised, targeted advertising served on digital screens, as well as the scene in Gap when customers are recognised by their iris, and asked by hologram if they enjoyed their previous purchase.
This is the type of one-to-one shopper engagement retailers are dreaming about. They are moving closer towards it via the deployment of open platform retail management systems that comfortably integrate with solutions like customer loyalty schemes and POS software.
At the heart of this retail technology revolution, and the acceptance by retailers to try new systems and solutions, is the desire to serve shoppers better and give them experiences in store they have become accustomed to online. They want greater information, guidance and digital touchpoints because that is what they can obtain on the web.
Working together in the era of innovation
We talk of the ‘era of innovation’, but the truth is technology has reached such a stage of sophistication that this period of invention is unlikely to end any time soon. The only thing certain in retail is change itself, as so many industry leaders are realising.
And in that environment, it calls for like-minded and forward-thinking retail technology companies to work together, to help allow the industry to serve consumers how they want to be served.
Aligning retail technology software with open platform retail management systems such as those developed by my team at iVend Retail gives vendors the chance to do exactly this.
The thirst for ‘the new’ in retail and the consumer-driven demand for digitally-enabled experiences in stores means retailers need joined-up thinking and flexible technology from their suppliers.
As the retailers themselves are only too aware, the changes appear daunting at first, but now’s the time to jump in and ride the waves of innovation alongside your customers and fellow retail technology companies who are eager to embrace the new world.