In the retail world, the last few years have seen a number of technology solutions come to market. Nearly every aspect of operations have been impacted by systems that include the cloud, mobile devices and new services. Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) have been the winner in this marketplace.
A recent article from Vertical Systems Reseller examined the current landscape and how it has impacted the business world.
"Pressure to adopt an omnichannel business model. Heightened competition. An increased need to engage and serve an ever-more-demanding cadre of customers. Moves by vendors to develop affordable, yet feature-rich hardware and software solutions," the article reads. "These catalysts are driving the latest trends in technology adoption by SMB retailers."
The piece goes on to break down several specific examples of small business technology that are playing a major role.
Clienteling solutions – Typically too pricy for small businesses because of the needed vertical market and retailer-specific customization, more open platforms have made it possible for companies that support mobility to render the technology accessible to SMBs.
Analytics and reporting – While nearly every business uses some form of sales reporting, the growing abilities of big data are providing insights unlike never before. The current sophisticated algorithms are helping improve the merchandise allocation and fulfillment process. This is adding a new layer to organizations that have multiple locations or an ecommerce solution.
NFC – There are multiple ways that NFC technology is affecting businesses. Aside from enabling mobile devices to make tap payments, NFC can also be used to track customers within the store and send coupons when they walk close to it.
EMV – Having been a topic of conversation for some time and elevated since the Target breach, the adoption of EMV chip-and-PIN technology has increased. While MasterCard and Visa are leading the charge, other card providers like Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and American Express are also picking up their efforts.
Mobile POS – The use of smartphones and tablets to handle credit card processing is becoming a secondary solution in many retailers. Aside from offering the ability to make payments anywhere, these device can also be used to search inventory and answer customer questions.
Is this the 'new retail'?
A recent article from Smart Company took this idea a step further and makes the claim that all of these systems are part of the "new retail." However, backing these solutions will be the cloud.
"Cloud technology and open source technology has enabled smaller business to compete with mammoth enterprises," the article reads. "These cloud and open source technologies have allowed smaller businesses with cash restraints to leverage more powerful technologies without the costs of development from the ground up. No need for internal virtual private networks (VPNs) and internal IT infrastructures including servers, modems, computer hardware."
For many companies, it can be difficult to move on from solutions of the past. These legacy systems could have been the backbone of a business for years and upgrading to something new can seem daunting. With the help of a retail solution provider that specializes in these solutions, any company can easily start implementing payment processing software and other technological systems.