NRF 2016 may be over, but the conversations we had and the insights we gathered have validated the need to revolutionize enterprise software for the retail industry. From cloud developments, to digitization, to predictive analytics and user interface design, here’s a round-up of what we heard at Retail’s BIG Show at NRF 2016 and how those findings will shape Infor Retail CloudSuite:
Cloud computing and network models, brought to retail
The retail cloud is evolving. As end-to-end supply chains begin to find a home in the cloud, the entire information model is changing. Duncan Angove, President at Infor, believes this shift is just as disruptive as the shift from email to social networking was.
In the past, retailers had to aggregate mass amounts of data and boil it down into summary data if they wanted to carry out helpful analysis. But thanks to unprecedented computing power in the cloud, we can now work with extremely detailed data that allows us to understand what our customers are buying, when they’re buying it, and what they’re buying along with it.
Digital technologies are creating a massive shift in the way supply chains function and shoppers are engaged. In the near future, you’ll hear more about the network of networks and see more smart beacons and other retail hardware, which will target and customize the shopping experience like never before.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is around us already, whether it’s the GPS module on your phone, the fitness tracker on your wrist, or the smart thermostat in your house. But retail has yet to make the most of this rapidly expanding technology. From smart-chipped vegetables, to sales associates equipped with smartwatches, to fully-connected brick-and-mortar stores, retail’s future has the potential to mesh our physical and digital worlds—allowing retailers to serve the customer in new and exciting ways.
With the ability to discern patterns in large data sets, machine learning can dramatically increase our understanding of complex problems, driving massive growth for the retailers that use it. Don’t let the name fool you: the insights that machine learning affords will will help retailers understand the very human idiosyncrasies of shopper behavior, which proves extremely useful in an industry where seemingly unrelated objects are often connected in subtle ways.
With the digitization comes the power to deliver specific experiences to individual customers based on their preferences. The emergence of fresh methods for personalization—from offering hand-picked deals based on purchasing history to automating customer-specific emails and pushing out recommended products as shoppers enter a brick-and-mortar store—add not only convenience to store visits, but also help to build customer loyalty—which is one of retail’s top priorities.
When enterprise software for retail was last substantially updated in the 1990s, “user experience” wasn’t even in the lexicon let alone the applications. Today’s reinvention relies on teams of IAs and UX designers that know in beauty there is efficiency and effectiveness. By consulting with users to create an interface that’ll best complement their workflows, these teams are helping to boost productivity, reduce training costs, and help build brand loyalty.
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