The hidden retail technology inside your favorite store

By: Kendra Gullette

Close your eyes and imagine yourself inside your go-to store for a moment. What do you see? You might envision shoppers, store employees, racks of merchandise and displays. But behind the retail storefront is a hidden patchwork of retail technology and underlying support. With as many as 40 categories of retail technology, a modern store is a complex machine — any downtime could mean lost transactions. There are four key reasons why you should use retail technology support services to keep your business running around-the-clock.

1. Retailers are racing to add IoT to storefronts

To deliver the omnichannel experiences customers expect, retailers are combining the latest in-store technology, including IoT (Internet of Things) systems, with back-office technology. According to Juniper Research, connected IoT sensors and devices are set to exceed 50 billion by 2022, up from an estimated 21 billion in 2018.

From inventory sensors and customer-tracking beacons to mobile self-checkout and shrink control devices, IoT pervades the retail environment. But with all the marketing and operational benefits they provide, new retail technologies also introduce new challenges.

While innovative retailers enthusiastically adopt new technologies, they continue to derive value from traditional devices. Technology such as point-of-sale (POS) systems can stay in service for approximately 15 years, or even longer with proper maintenance. This means that retailers are challenged to support both new and old IT while maintaining efficient operations and seamless shopping experiences. Contact one of our experts to discuss your needs.

2. Holistic technical support for systems

To complicate matters further, the addition of devices typically results in the addition of IT support vendors. Often, these are smaller device-oriented firms. As more devices are added, a complex ecosystem of providers emerges and technology can be counterproductive. Eventually, store employees may spend more time responding to technical issues than helping customers. And customers may be disappointed when in-store devices or technologies aren’t performing as promised.

3. 3 criteria for retail technology success

Store management teams don’t have the time or the expertise to deal effectively with the vast range of technical devices critical to their operations. So they need comprehensive support from a single, knowledgeable advisor they can depend on. Here are three critical criteria to consider when assessing support vendors for your retail technologies:

4. Capabilities

Retailers need a vendor who can support every piece of technology in their stores, even if they have unique equipment or are early adopters of new technologies. If a provider doesn’t support existing or planned devices, are they willing to develop capabilities specific to these needs?

Scalability

The ideal support vendor must be able to grow with the retailer’s environment. Look for vendors who already have wide-reaching and global capabilities.

Innovation

Stores need more than just a support provider; they need a vendor who shares their vision for the future. Devices like IoT and mobile equipment may be just the beginning, and whatever they choose to deploy could require consulting and installation services.

The right vendor can support every variety of retail technology — efficiently behind the scenes. So when you look around the store, what you see is a smooth running operation where customers are happily examining the merchandise and services they’ve come to purchase.

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About The Author

Kendra Gullette

Global MTSS-MVS Offering Deployment Leader, IBM

Kendra Gullette is a CRM professional with a strong background in creating solutions for various industries and geographies. As a graduate of distinction from IBM's Global Sales School, her focus is always on the client and how to create the best solution with the right message for every deal. In her current role, she helps... Read more

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