You book movie tickets online. You buy pizza at the click of your mouse. Before you buy that dress you just tried; you quickly check on your smartphone if you are getting a better deal on it. You check the online reviews and ratings of a restaurant before booking a dinner table. Before buying any gadget you take opinions of experts on various social forums. And if all this was not enough, now you have apps to keep your weekly grocery list up to date and you just click to order your onions, tomatoes, eggs, bread and butter!
Technology is drawing new contours on the retail landscape. With a conscious move towards e-commerce, the new technologies being introduced into stores and an increasing dependence on smartphones and apps, retail is undergoing a massive tech transformation. While the retail industry is still learning to deal with e-commerce, m-commerce is already opening up new avenues. In the changing IT landscape, SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud) is going to be a game-changer, with direct influence on significant decisions. The combined potential of SMAC technologies is estimated to be between $70 billion to $200 billion over the next three years. In a hyper connected and mobile age, retailers have to deal with a highly informed and demanding customer. The grocer down your street has to rethink his business model owing to the tough completion he is facing from e-commerce and m-commerce. If he doesn’t take corrective measures now, he may soon run out of business.
Given the increasing importance of the online channel, along with the rise of tools such as mobile devices and social media, it's not surprising that the need to embrace change is uppermost in the minds of most retailers. Today, customers have very sophisticated expectations of product, service, value and environment. To retain and acquire these new age social customers, retailers need to leverage these levers and include them as a part of their business model. Incremental adjustments are no longer sufficient. The need of the hour is seamless integration of the multiple shopping channels, presenting a unique shopping experience to the connected customer. To support the changing business model, it is imperative for the CIOs and CTOs of organizations to plan and build enterprise platforms to support these from a technology perspective. Traditionally, the focus of middleware teams has been around building capabilities of integrations between enterprise Applications (A2A) and with partners (B2B). However, the new trends in consumer behavior require middleware platforms to transform to support the new business process models as well. I believe that an ideal middleware platform should comprise of the following key elements:
- Event Architecture to support Real Time Enterprise
- Capability to integrate with devices like mobile phone, tablets
- Integration with Social sites to exchange information
- Complex event processing rules engine to provide responsiveness
- Scalable platform to support the growing volumes of events and mobile applications
- Leverage cloud based applications and platforms for cost optimization and faster time to market
Retailers need to anticipate the next move in technology and adapt to it for keeping the business profitable. They need to understand the behavior of their buyers and adjust accordingly. As the shopping window has moved online and the point of purchase mobile, it is important for retailers to leverage these new technologies to their advantage and provide an enriching experience to the customers.
What are the other ways in which technology is changing the way you shop?