Today’s Retail Channel: The Force Is With You

Business Solutions – Brick-and-mortar retailers face unprecedented rivalry from online counterparts. Will channel collaboration come to the rescue? Are you ready to join forces for the greater good?

As any reseller knows all too well, the point-of-sale technology channel is a diverse ecosystem comprised of many interdependent, constantly moving parts. For decades, it’s been a fairly smooth and steady ride; traditional POS companies grew healthier and stronger from years of sweat equity and real-world experience. But today’s channel is experiencing transformative evolution with an influx of fresh forces and complex technologies that might look foreign to those of us who’ve been around a while. Instead of staying cocooned inside your technology comfort zone, it’s time to venture out.

Let’s face it — brick-and-mortar retailers are desperate to stay relevant. They’re struggling to create in-store experiences that measure up to one-click, hyper-personalized online shopping. Consider this: Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute recently reported a significant number of consumers say they see shopping in-store as a chore. The study corroborates shoppers are frustrated by brick-and-mortar’s inability to keep pace with the efficiency and convenience of online shopping. There’s real opportunity here, as more than half of retail executives polled admitted they haven’t made their physical stores as digitally enhanced and equipped as they should, with 78 percent adding this is now priority. If you’ve got solutions that map to this pain point, it’s a good time to pick up the phone.

We’ve all heard the mobile hype for more than a few years now. Juniper Research validates the buzz, reporting mobile POS will handle over 20 percent of all retail transaction value around the world by 2021, and at least a third of all POS systems will be tablet or smartphone-based within the next five years resulting in at least $2.3 trillion in mPOS revenue. As 451 Research put it, “The POS is becoming a platform on which other applications are built and delivered, opening up new revenue streams for providers.” The point-of-sale is no longer just a fixed station for in-store transactions; it’s evolved into an intelligent, cloud-connected business management system. For those selling mobile solutions, this comes as no surprise. But the opportunity seems to be gaining traction, not losing steam.

It’s no secret dinosaur POS systems are still out there, taking up space and barely functional. Look no further than your local chain; you’ve likely encountered colossal grey boxes monopolizing counters, their slow, noisy, solely transactional heartbeats scarcely beating, frustrating clerks and shoppers alike. According to Boston Retail Partners, the new, connected consumer has left many retailers struggling with point-of-sale solutions that constrain growth. “Saddled with legacy systems that are not designed to accommodate today’s retail environment, retailers have scrambled to cobble systems together in attempts to deliver the Omni channel capabilities customers expect. Retailers need to invest in infrastructure, networks, and a service-oriented architecture (SOA) layer and do it right. The risk of losing customers due to disappointing shopping experiences caused by flawed Omni channel architecture is deadly.” In order to deliver unified commerce solutions (and lay dinosaur systems to rest for good), it takes a village — meaning industry veterans and millennials must work together to get it right.

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