Technology and Retail in 2018: The Perfect Pair

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Tech transformation holds a great promise to retailers – that is, if done right. There has never been better timing for technology adoption in retail, and predictions for 2018 indicate more disruptive innovations, major shifts in customer experience, and a focus on enterprise technology.

Digital Integration in Consumer Engagement

Customer experience is the cornerstone of retail. Taking technological risks can be a double-edged sword for retailers, especially those operating highly-distributed store models where any mistakes prove a costly exercise and can lead to negative feedback, and worse, significant customer loss.

However, 2018 is the turning point for digital integration into mainstream retail. Omnichannel trade, digital-savvy merchandising, and new operating models that enhance consumer engagement with brands as opposed to the ‘traditional’ versus ‘digital’ debate will become requirements for retail success.

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Posting sales in Dynamics 365 for Financials couldn’t be simpler. Even with customer rates and partner discounts, the cycle can be viewed, automated and optimised.

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Added-value AI Opportunities

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) combined with the huge amounts of data generated in the retail business is a goldmine for retailers. Delivering personalised and localised customer interaction and shopping experiences is now a possibility through chatbots and image and facial recognition technology.

Retailers sit now with enough data to power AI processes and analytics and generate more value-added services to customers based on their unique insights and preferences. Artificial intelligence in retail can be applied across the entire value chain from manufacturing to after-sales service.

Disruptive Enterprise Technology

Cloud computing, big data, machine learning, AI and BI. The source of disruption in the retail industry has moved from consumer technology (think about online shopping and in-app purchases) to enterprise technology and its wider applications in an industry where competitive innovations can push retail brands out of business.

In a thought-provoking Forbes article, a US market intelligence firm focused on trends in retail defines enterprise technology as the new ‘swim-or-sink’ approach in retail.

Success in the future of retail is possible only by investing in technology and getting serious about a digital strategy to attract and retain consumers. That is, traditional retailers who only view technology as a cost-saving opportunity for back-end operations will have a hard time going forward.

“We are reaching the point where the customer experience can’t get any better without taking care of the supporting enterprise foundation – and that means investing in technology for technology’s sake. Retailers need to invest in IT to create a more solid foundation, and to enable future speed and flexibility.” Enough said.

Does your IT infrastructure provide the performance, flexibility, and scalability your business requires?

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