Having implemented systems which address finance, accounting, HR, merchandising, planogram, loyalty programs, etc., retailers are now making next generation investments to—
Consolidate the investments already made in IT
Leverage other technologies available to increase market reach
The use of business intelligence (BI) systems, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), mobile point of sales, digital signage and xRM (Any Relationship Management) have emerged as the next area of investments for retailers. It is a well-accepted truism that buying patterns vary in India by state, city and catchment area. Retailers in India are now using BI systems to better understand these patterns and structure store inventory to cater to local requirements. This helps retailers avoid over stocking or stock outs, improves the customer’s shopping experience and helps retailers understand individual customer needs, cross sell products, etc.
Some retailers are efficiently using RFID to create applications that reduce the time that consumers are in queues, waiting to pay for their purchases. A mobile POS helps consumers capture the purchase data as they shop and reduces the time for check out. As a next step, retailers can develop contactless cards which can drastically reduce the time for payment. These contactless cards could function as pre-paid cards which require the buyer to wave the card under a reader and self check out.
As the integration of applications with SMS services becomes more common, it can be used more as a personalised medium to communicate with and keep in touch with consumers. For example, if a customer is at a wellness store to purchase contact lens solution, he/she will receive a reminder after a few weeks that his/her stock may be running out and needs to be replaced. Extending this further, the store can offer to have the solution delivered free of cost in case the customer resides within a few kilometers from the store.