Retail IT is going through an evolution thanks in part to the growing adoption of cloud-computing technologies that deliver affordable e-commerce platforms and services to meet the needs of modern retailers. Machine to machine (M2M) is another major technology trend affecting the industry, helping improve the coordination in supply chain and more.
A recent finding from analyst firm Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) finds that IT spending in retail is growing across the world, particularly in Europe. The retail sector is among the top ten industries with the highest growth potential for IT in Europe.
M2M technologies occupy a significant share in retail IT spending. The relevance of M2M technologies is growing as it helps improve coordination in the supply chain, react adequately to market demands and improve interaction with the customer.
Unlike most other industries, the retail sector may not have direct legislation that drives ICT investments toward a ‘smart’ environment, but its adoption is mainly driven by the customers’ interest to adapt to new technologies such as machine-to-machine (M2M), big data, and cloud computing, the report said.
Retail is one of the sectors for which the M2M industry is actively developing new solutions and applications. M2M technologies can facilitate communication between supply chain actors, promote easier management of inventory, and provide a complete shopping experience for the customer.
One of the benefits of M2M in retail industry is that it can give real-time visibility of inventory levels and provide useful information to maximize sales. M2M can enhance customer satisfaction by relying on automation and accurate customer segmentation to guide through the whole shopping experience. Additionally M2M helps the industry develop innovative methods of communicating with customers.
With the growing adoption of ICT in retail industry, retailers will be faced with the challenge of managing the data. The growth of shopping activities through multiple channels like mobile, social media and near field communications (NFC) produces immense customer data that contain valuable information about customer interactions. Retailers can leverage this data to gain insight into customer habits and develop methodologies to turn every interaction into prospective business leads. The complexity of handling data has given rise to the need of big data analytics, which is another trend that can impact the retail industry in a big way, Frost said.
According to the analyst firm, big data can drive smart retailers integrate the retail sector into a smart communities vision.
Edited by Ryan Sartor