Today’s fast paced retail world means you need to differentiate quickly or be left behind to stronger competition. We see this with the emergence of retail giants Amazon, and closures of once powerful brands such as Sears.
Flexibility and speed isn’t only needed in branding or retail experience. It's necessary to integrate multiple retail solutions so your systems can work in an efficient and cost-effective manner. A company’s planned growth can be greatly stunted with separated databases and inefficient integrated systems.
A large hidden factor behind retailer’s success is the technology supporting the companies vision and its ability to handle an environment that demands immediate inventory and product showcasing.
“So you’ve changed your product suite, BUT is your technology advanced enough to keep up with your competition? Can you offer endless aisle, or POS systems to manage inventory and demand?”
What is the Frankenstein process?
Older systems usually have software that has been maintained and added-on over the years to function at a higher level, but it is not optimal. This is referred to as the ‘Frankenstein’ process. Continued additions to keep the system alive and walking, but in the end you have a monster. In some cases, there are only particular IT resources able to maintain or even understand the integrations and work-arounds made, resulting in exclusive knowledge which means high IT costs, and difficulty for future changes and maintenance.
Okay, so you get it. So, now what?
Ps. If you deal with strategy and have no clue about connecting systems, you may need to forward this next part to your IT power-lifter, it may get technical.
So, what is the problem?
Traditionally, retail departments have maintained their applications and databases separate. Over time, this results in multiple separate data stores that are connected with complex integration and batch synchronization. This often results in: error-prone systems, general inefficiency with work-arounds, and high IT costs for integrations and maintenance.
To properly deliver the omnichannel experience that is necessary these days, it is critical to have proper access to: data, inventory, CRM capabilities, product information and more. This should be real-time and interactive. Pieced together systems cannot support this quick enough.
Unbox retail with a centralized platform
Enable a centralized platform for all types of data using open real-time APIs for instant access. Like a brain connecting to various limbs and organs, this is the foundation in which you will build better functionality and mobility.
How? Invest in replacing current infrastructure with a unified commerce platform. However, this cannot be done overnight, so it may be necessary to connect current systems to the central ‘brain’ using solutions with minimal integration. This will be a starting point.
Tip: Look for a data platform that has Master Data Management (MDM). This allows product information to be available to multiple systems even though they may refer to the data differently. When able, go with the API-first approach. Ensure that incoming data is available almost instantly to external systems that may need it.
Start your path towards a flexible retail system with omnichannel capabilities, download the free whitepaper with the next three steps:
- Manage Content More Effectively
- Opt for Lightweight, Open APIs
- Use Analytics to Facilitate Actionable Strategies