As multi-channel focus grows, integration is key to competing in retail
I've read some interesting studies lately and it's clear that we are entering a new era in retail. Gartner defines it as "the era of true innovation" and claims that how well businesses respond to the "Nexus of Forces," namely cloud, mobile, social and information, will determine their success and viability.
How Multi-Channel Increases the Need for Integration
One of the main drivers of the new era is multi-channel. According to the annual RIS News/Gartner Retail Technology Study for 2013, 41.5% of its respondents say that expanding multichannel (synchronization) initiatives is a "major action" for the next 18 months. Mobile technology, revenue opportunities, and evolving consumer expectations and behavior (like showrooming) are factors that are goading retailers into this marketing strategy.
But although a study on the State of Customer Data Integration conducted by Scribe Software earlier in 2013 agrees that expansion is a top business priority for 2013, it warns not to lose your focus on customer experience and not to sacrifice customer satisfaction in order to accelerate growth.
Companies are looking at two technology options to help them better manage business processes to support their expansion efforts: integrated suites and best-of-breed solutions. Integrated solutions may seem like a logical choice upfront but the financial overhead of implementation can be difficult to justify and many companies don't want to be locked into the support and software lifecycle of a single vendor.
Best-of-breed solutions, on the other hand, offer better features and flexibility to support growth but result in a more complex IT environment. Despite the integration challenge that multiple disparate systems brings, both studies show that most companies still ...
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