Four broad technology trends — Big Data, social media, seamless retailing and disruptive technologies — significantly impacting the ways retailers conduct business and engage with consumers, according to a research report from SAP.
The SAP report, titled: Top IT Trends In Retail, analyzes the four trends and provides explanations of their importance and roles in the retail industry.
Social media enables shoppers to share and access retail reviews and other consumers’ product experiences. Retailers must be more aware of public opinion delivered via social channels and prepare to solve issues when they arise or risk damaging the brand image. SAP recommends that retailers enable “social listening” by designating a staff member to constantly monitor social media and online commentary.
Regardless of the channel the consumer chooses to engage with to begin the shopping process, retailers need to deliver a seamless experience across channels. Consumers are interacting with retailers through multiple channels, making it important for businesses to implement strong enterprise applications that support the entire operation. The report stressed the importance of price transparency and encouraged retailers to maintain consistent pricing across all channels.
Disruptive technologies affect both sides of the retailer-customer relationship. In order to engage with the sophisticated consumer, retailers should look for in-store solutions that help shoppers search for product availability and gain access to information not available on the mobile or e-Commerce site. Cloud computing enables retailers of all sizes to take advantage of relevant IT needs, without the significant capital expenditures that accompany most traditional retail IT solution implementations.
The report concluded with a message encouraging retailers to understand their customers more intimately than ever before. Today’s customers do not want to be lumped into demographic groups. Acknowledging this trend can go a long way in keeping retailers "relevant and competitive in the challenging customer environment of today."
Click here to access the complete report.