As the year draws to an end, our thoughts naturally turn to the new one ahead. It’s a time for looking forward to the new year and all that it might hold. It’s a time for planning, for dreaming, for putting some structure around our hopes and ambitions for the future. That elusive ‘next year’ is almost with us and we find ourselves facing firmly towards the future.
The biggest problem with the future is that we don’t know exactly what it looks like. As Stephen Covey, business educator and author, said “If there’s one thing certain in business, it’s uncertainty”.
In the absence of the gift of foresight, or a crystal ball, we must live with the uncertainty, and position ourselves for it as best we can. That applies to the world of retail as much, if not more than, any industry.
One clear common thread that I see in our retail clients who are successful is that they build flexibility into their business model, their processes and their thinking. This doesn’t mean that they don’t make decisions, or commit to a course of actions, but it does mean that they constantly review their environment and ensure that they have the tools in place to be able to manoeuvre quickly when they spot a change of direction, or a new opportunity.
So how does this relate to you, our technology partners? Well, in talking to hundreds of our partners from around the globe, I hear the same common theme – that working with an Open Platform system helps position them as forward-thinking partners who will be able to lead and support their clients into the future – whatever it holds. I know that this is highly valued by retailers – they tell me that one of the biggest headaches for them in building that flexibility into their business is the systems that support it. They value a partner who can bring them that platform and help them tailor it to meet the needs of their business.
An Open Platform solution offers flexibility for the future and by working with an Open Platform system, you position yourself as someone who can help a retailer to adapt to the uncertainties of the future.
- Your retail customers are selling to consumers who are ever more demanding and whose needs can change very rapidly. Whether it is the way they find and browse products, the way they purchase, the way they want to receive offers, there seems to always be something new that they want. By working with an Open API system, you can position yourself to help retailers adapt rapidly and cost-efficiently to changing consumer demands.
- It’s not only consumer demands that are changing – the technology available to help retailers meet those demands is evolving rapidly too. This year, for example has seen the growth of visual search, beaconing, IoT, facial recognition – all of which have far reaching implications for enhancing retail customer service. Your customers are looking for help to integrate new technologies into their business and will need a partner who can bring them an Open Platform environment.
- Successful retailers are always looking for opportunities to expand – to new geographic markets, acquiring new customers through effective marketing and outstanding customer service, or expanding the range of their products, services or delivery options. Flexibility and the ability to adapt is essential here too – with Open APIs providing the platform for growth.
- Meeting customer demands, integrating new technologies and the flexibility to grow are the core reason why retailers want to offer the seamless experience that we call omnichannel retail. Omnichannel retail cannot be effectively achieved without an Open Platform system and most retailers cannot or do not want to implement an Open Platform system without assistance.
At iVend Retail, we’re no fortune tellers, and whilst we have some specialised insights into retail, we can’t predict the future with 100% accuracy. But what we do know, from practical experience, is that when retailers are looking to adapt to the future, they want a partner at their side. A partner who’ll be with them for the long haul, a partner who can help them adapt to whatever the market throws at them, and a partner who can help them meet those challenges through an Open Platform.