The retail industry isn’t dead; it’s evolving. Thanks to recent technological advancements, modern retailers are finding new and innovative ways to enhance the shopper’s journey via omnichannel experiences.
But with change comes new challenges and growing pains as companies adapt to the retail industry’s ever-evolving landscape. From ensuring a seamless customer experience between online and offline platforms to protecting data from security threats to training employees on utilizing new tools and technologies effectively, there’s no denying that the retail tech evolution has its fair share of exciting opportunities and daunting challenges.
Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of the retail tech stack, some of the challenges it’s created, and how essential it is to implement a cohesive, omnichannel tech suite to mitigate potential negative impacts on your bottom line.
Download our “Think Beyond Omnichannel” eBook to learn more about the power of a unified commerce platform and how it can transform your brand.
A few significant retail tech evolutions
Retailers know that there has been a significant shift in technology over the last couple decades. Some of the most memorable include:
- Task management platform replaces shift huddle
- Workforce management replaces punch clock
- Loyalty app replaces punch card
- POS replaces cash register
The list above provides a fun look at the past, but modern retailers are leveraging tools like social media and QR codes to create a hybrid shopping journeys that connects the online and offline world experience.
Having full visibility of the customer at your fingertips, and unifying customer data will create more engaging shopping experiences that truly blur the line between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce.
The “rub” — challenges when implementing retail tech solutions
While implementing new retail technology solutions can be beneficial, it also comes with challenges. For example, retailers with legacy systems may face difficulties integrating new solutions with their existing infrastructure, which will be time-consuming and costly.
This leads to operational inefficiencies, including:
- Lower margins: When data is scattered across multiple systems, employees may see inaccurate inventory data, leading to stockouts and missed sales opportunities.
- Higher IT costs: Implementing a new system may mean hiring additional IT staff to support and maintain the new technology, which can be a financial burden.
- Frustrated employees: Employees may struggle with the back-and-forth required to learn how to use or integrate a new system with their current processes, resulting in decreased productivity and job satisfaction.
Fragmented systems will also result in poor customer experience:
- Issues with BORIS (buying online, returning in-store) processes: If retailers have fragmented systems, processing BORIS returns quickly and efficiently can be challenging. This can lead to negative customer reviews and impact customer loyalty. Similar frustrating experiences can be said about ROPIS (reserve online, pickup in-store) and BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store).
- Vanishing products: Customers will likely encounter out-of-stock items if inventory data is inaccurate or scattered across multiple systems.
- Disjointed loyalty experiences: When retailers force disconnected systems to work together, it can cause issues for customer loyalty experiences, including difficulty in tracking rewards and benefits across channels, resulting in a lack of personalization and dissatisfaction among customers.
To mitigate these challenges, retailers need to work with a solution partner that offers a unified commerce platform — and that’s where KWI comes in. KWI’s omnichannel tech suite includes mobile POS, inventory management, order fulfillment, customer data management, and reporting/analytics capabilities, so retailers can rest easy knowing that everything can be managed efficiently and effectively—all in one place, with one single partner.
In a world where customers have countless options at their fingertips, it’s more important than ever for retailers to provide a seamless and personalized shopping experience across all channels.
With a suite of solutions that includes mPOS, inventory management, OMS, eCommerce, Loyalty and CRM, KWI provides retailers with the platform they need to deliver a consistent experience across all touchpoints, in-store and online. By not just offering shoppers an omnichannel experience, but a truly unified commerce experience, retailers remain successful in today’s competitive marketplace.
Whether you’re just dipping your toes into omnichannel or looking to elevate your existing shopper experiences, with our consultative approach and 30+ years of retail expertise KWI is here to support you at every step.
Contact us today or download our “Think Beyond Omnichannel” eBook to learn more about the power of a unified commerce platform and how it can transform your brand.