Retailers will feel a potent mix of the old and the new this year.
Superlative customer service — the oldest “must have” in the retail playbook — will take on even more importance as customers increasingly demand instant inventory stocking, up-to-the-minute items, personalized service and transparent searchability, powered by their smart phones.
To meet expectations, retailers will turn to ever-more-sophisticated technology to deliver the goods.
In short, this won’t be your grandpa’s kind of retail season. Or even your older brother’s, for that matter.
“2017 will be a tipping point for many of the technologies that have been in startup mode for two to three years,” the National Retail Federation declared in its annual What’s Next blog. “That’s not to say that concepts such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality are ready for prime time, but clearly we’re at a point where these emerging technologies have proven valuable and are on the cusp of sparking greater change.”
By necessity, a sophisticated retail POS system needs to be at the heart of any retailer’s attempts to keep up with galloping change, the researchers at Miami-based Retail Systems Research note. A good retail POS allows stores to seamlessly track inventories across multiple physical and online stores, allowing faster and more sophisticated ordering, stocking and delivery. It is the workhorse that drives everything from personalized eReceipts to ePayments to eCommerce integration.
Add in the security and flexibility of the cloud, which lets small and large retailers alike quickly update and upgrade their systems to fit their plans, and watch the speed of competition soar.
Here’s a look at some of the top trends the National Retail Federation and other experts see coming in the New Year.
Of course, most retailers are marketers first and not technology whizzes, so it will be increasingly important to find strong partners to keep up with the pace of innovation. From the heart of New York City’s Fashion District, Runit’s staff of Sales, Support, Configuration, Development and Operations professionals have been helping retailers big and small stay on the cutting edge of technology since 2001.