Due to the expansive global growth of retail management, there has been more use of Information Technology(IT) in both domestic and international retail supply.
This arose from the need for efficiency in a multiplex system responsible for moving products to the consumer where customer satisfaction is paramount. This led businesses to the realization of the role of IT in retail management.
Is the role of IT in retail management truly critical?
Its role is vital because digital transformation changed the way consumers shop hence the need for advancements in Information Technology. Consumer expectations and the required competitive edge made it mandatory for retailers to adopt various digital modifications.
IT in the retail sector revolutionised the way retail business is done to more efficient methods that ensure higher profit and customer gratification.
Global retail spending on technology is projected to reach $225.4 billion by 2022, which makes transformation of retail business from analogue to digital more evident. Retailers have no choice but to make use of IT if they want to keep up.
It’s essential to maintain customer loyalty and high profitability.
The application of IT in the retail industry ensures the business’ ability to cope with challenges and respond to setbacks that arise during customer relations.
Tangible benefits of leveraging IT in the retail sector
Easily adapt to changes within the sector
The marketplace and its demands are ever-changing which requires intensified speed and the ability to be flexible. Needs are evolving based on consumer trends which the retail system can adjust to courtesy of improved technology.
Easily scaling the business
The suitable technological systems in retail enable the business to grow without grave impact.
More efficient business processes
Information technology systems are strategically designed to ensure lower costs in retail, reduced waste, increased Return-On-Investment and greater market share.
Meeting customer expectations
Customers value convenience at the points of sale. The role of IT in retailing is to promote customer-centric values that ensure reasonable prices and pleasant experience.
Greater visibility and communication
With a highly digitized retail system, huge amounts of complex data are simplified for better comprehension. It facilitates easier workflow due to the clarity and visibility.
Top 5 applications of IT in the retail industry
Retailers who leverage the technologies listed below are outperforming the competition by 68% by embracing the role of IT in retail management.
These identify the future demand for a product. They work by studying current data to make predictions on forthcoming business trends. Using factors such as;
- Sales History
- Store location
- Specific business limitations
Accurate and proactive forecasting can be made to provide actionable recommendations by predicting production shortfalls to avoid out of stocks, overstocks, and also personalize the consumer experience which is a primary role of IT in retailing.
Improved visibility across all channels
Business platforms that unify across all channels can improve access to the product by enhancing discovery and engagement. Making the products easy to identify eases customer experience where quick and instant indulgence is required.
This transparency also creates easy workflow and clear communication. Customer experience has geared towards high expectations of IT and the retail industry.
Fulfilment and returns automation
Fulfilment and returns software powered by AI identifies the most efficient customer touchpoints. Smart fulfilment automation minimizes expenses and time transporting products.
ITProPortal found that 92% of customers will make repeated purchases if returns are simplified. Fulfilment automation systems ensure that these products are sent back to inventory and are set up to be sold as soon as possible.
Smart returns send products with a high demand, and therefore a higher chance of sales.
Inventory optimization solutions integrate processes for purchasing to pricing. They track and optimize the entire life cycle of the product and help control the right inventory to meet target service levels. IT and the retail industry have quick and clear answers to questions like;
- How much to buy?
- What is the right price?
- Where to allocate product?
- Where is a product still in stock?
Shopping enhancement tools
These are platforms that connect e-commerce with brick and mortar, aiding touchless shopping using a virtual assistant with shopping experience tools like VR change rooms.
63% of customers expect a personalized shopping experience while preferring the convenience that comes with shopping online to make travel expense savings.
IT spending in retail is on the rise because it provides efficiency, lessens costs, reduces time wasted and optimizes the business for maximum profit. These IT retailers are scooping the most market shares. Retailers failing to invest in IT are inevitably falling behind.