Future of Technology in Retail

The usage of technology has always benefited the retail industry. It has made the industry more organized, accountable and efficient. There is a lot of scope for the implementation of technology. However we notice that many retailers do not know the power of technology which would have immense impact on the growth of sales if implemented. There is a vast growth in technology but retailers still lag behind in implementation.

Technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade and will continue to grow in a geometric progression. Moore’s law states that “The number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double over every 18 months”. Moore is the co-founder of technology giant Intel. This law changes ones perspective on what impact technology and its applications can have over every industry.

In the retail industry profits are not made through a single transaction but by establishing a rapport and a long term understanding with customers. Getting the customers to be loyal to a store is not an easily accomplished task. It’s all about building reputation and studying a customer’s patterns over a period of time. Profiling of customers help a long way in establishing a rapport and technology can be used in accomplishing this.

RFID or Radio Frequency Identification is a technology that was invented about 60 years ago but has found its application in the Retail industry only recently. Radio frequencies are unique, so its applications lie vastly in identifying objects uniquely. The number of suppliers using RFID has increased by leaps and bounds plainly because they will cease to be suppliers if they do not do so. RFID can be incorporated into existing supply chain management which can reduce the labor required to monitor the goods movement and inventory flow. Used along with a bar code system RFIDs can allow manufacturers and retailers to complement existing systems while gathering more information throughout a supply chain. RFID’s can also act as a security guard at gateways. It can also conduct automatic inventories and reduce stock outs and overages. Accounting discrepancies can also be removed.

Database management systems give retailers efficient tools for profiling customers and managing every point of sale transaction. Well managed and carefully arranged files make it easy to access data from a database. Even a non-programmer can access a database using certain built-in tools.

Large scale markets and malls in India demonstrate a good usage of technology in parking spaces; billing counters and security. The data captured can be used in many ways to give insights on sales and increase profitability. The usage of technology does not end here. It can be used as a powerful marketing tool. Having a website or an online shop can increase sales and also advertise products. It is another avenue to generate revenue and attract more people to stores.

Technology has vast and major implications in virtual shopping, where a customer can shop anything he wants within a few clicks of a button. The best part of having an online shop is that it is accessible all the time. Most stores have a integrated online shopping option which enables customers sitting from their of offices.

Before introducing any new technology to a retail store, a retailer need always ask himself whether it is going to benefit the customer in some way or increases his profitability.

Retail is an industry that is always playing catch up with technology. There is so much scope for retailers to implement technology in their business. The challenge they are facing right now is about how they can go about integrating technology into their business and making it work together as a team to derive the best possible results.