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Article by Sam Cinquegrani Published in CIO Review

Integrating Digital Touchpoints

This is all about integration. And to get integration correct, you need collaboration between interested parties. I find that to be the most challenging issue with enterprises. But imagine if a POS knew about a customer’s online activity. Customer engagement would take on a different meaning if you knew each customer, their behaviors, their needs, and preferences. That’s what integrating digital touchpoints would allow, and the key to getting it strategically right is integrating the retailer’s online data into POS so that the brick and mortar store knows as much about the customer as does the website.

The Business Concept

We have focused on the customer’s customer. A simple concept, but if you do this then your focus allows you to serve your customer in a completely different way. Their focus is your focus and the opportunity to meet the challenges of the consumer’s expectations becomes more manageable.

How Technology Is Revolutionizing

a) Reporting and Analytics (social, mobile, reporting)
At this point, we don’t have enough tools to analyze what is effective and what is not. I believe this is the next big challenge for digital commerce.

b) E-Commerce (B2C, B2B, Mobile Commerce)
This continues to evolve. The platforms are delivering more capability, more enhancements so the time to market is greatly reduced. We are also beginning to see eCommerce merge with digital marketing technologies that were previously thought to be standalone or independent activities when in fact they are all one and the same.

c) Core Operations (Store operations, merchandising, Infrastructure)
Changing drastically to deal with the customer through another channel, the digital one. Changing how you operate and the capabilities you need to have like in-store pick-up in changing the mindset of the brick and mortar store operators. Embracing technologies like beacon, RFID, kiosks and POS are all in store technologies that help serve the customer, but operationally you need to be ready to respond.

We are beginning to see eCommerce merge with digital marketing technologies that were previously thought to be standalone or independent activities

Big Data and Analytics Transforming In-Store Experience

They have not started to make a dent yet, but when these have become integrated into POS, I believe there will be an enormous opportunity to customize the retail experience to each customer.

Top Retail Technology Trends

RFID, Beacon, POS enhancements and digital marketing technologies integrated into e-commerce platforms. We will see more of it, better implementations of it and a faster rate of adoption of all of it.

The Internet Of Things

The implications could be vast and as wide ranging as selling products that think for themselves and report back – here, there might be the opportunity for the retailers to insert themselves, in lieu of the manufacturer as Central Nervous System, much the way an alarm company may sell the hardware for an alarm, and then do the monitoring; and products that self-update, wherein the next sale might be a license to upgrade the software – here, retailers may insert themselves in much the same way that they sell a warranty for an appliance or electronic item. And either way, with the huge range of IoT, enabled products hitting the market, retailers will have a chance to sell appliances or electronic products that the consumer might not otherwise have thought to replace.

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ObjectWave is a full-service provider of digital commerce solutions. He can be reached at samc@objectwave.com.