Retailers: Why Your IT Team Can Make or Break Your Smart Retail Strategy

To keep up with consumer demands for seamless digital experiences, retailers need to give IT teams a better view of POS and other devices

Emergen Research recently reported that the smart-retail market size was $23.4 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $220.3 billion by 2032. Consumer demand for an exceptional, frictionless, and personalized retail-shopping experience is driving this growth. Accordingly, retailers are looking to smart displays, digital price tags, roaming handheld devices, and other digital ways to step up their game and attract consumers.

Why the investment? A 2021 global study by Mood Media revealed that “71% of consumers throughout the world are now shopping in physical stores as often or even more often than before the pandemic.” In fact, 38% expect to shop in-person even more often now than they did before Covid-19. Indeed, your smart retail strategy must be buttoned up to remain competitive in the always-fickle retail market. Shoppers have returned in droves; embrace the opportunities!

To compete for wallet share, retailers cannot miss a beat. It’s not exaggerating to say that the in-store consumer experience can make or break a retailer. One poor review by a social-media influencer (or even an anonymous shopper) can be the tweet or TikTok that takes down an empire.

Game on! Every moment of uptime counts for every device in retail — such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, tablets and scanners in warehousing, and smart displays. Your IT team, then, is an integral stakeholder in ensuring a stellar customer experience enhanced these days by smart retail technology. Retailers across the consumer supply chain rely on their end-user devices to get products out the door and into the hands of delighted customers. Meanwhile, the IT team must quickly and efficiently work behind the scenes to power the consumer experience.

“It’s a stark reality that as retailers’ costs and competition increase and customer loyalty becomes ever more enigmatic, pressure across the business to become as operationally efficient as possible leaves no stone unturned — and that especially includes the cost and efficiency of maintaining the IT estate upon which the brand depends (e.g., end-user devices such as POS devices, kiosks, employee laptops, etc.),” explained esteemed retail analyst Andrew Busby in “Unexpected Item in License Agreement.”

IT teams are responsible for ensuring that those devices across the retail consumer supply chain are always working at the right time in the right place. While downtime is the nemesis of all sectors, in retail, it’s especially costly. In the UK, for example, “the average cost for retail downtime incidents currently sits at around £3,675 per minute.” Complete visibility of the IT estate, from the warehouse to the front of the house, is imperative to avoid such a huge financial blow.

The cost of lost revenue is not the only concern. Reputational cost can be just as damaging. We’ve all experienced deep frustration when a POS system is down. Losing a single device translates into longer lines, longer wait times, and shorter customer patience — all of which add up to a perfect storm that can damage the customer experience and customer trust when (and long after) it hits.

3 Reasons Why Complete Visibility Across Retail’s IT Assets is Imperative

What’s the solution? Real-time visibility across the IT estate — from handheld devices in warehouses to POS assets on the retail floor — enables retail-sector leaders to optimize supply chain operations, store efficiency and productivity, sales, and customer satisfaction. As retail organizations invest in digital or form their own digital development teams in-house to bring a smart retail strategy to life, it’s vital to invest in end-user digital experience tools as well. That’s because those tools can affect the uptime of endpoint devices, customer-facing interactions, employee productivity, operational uptime, the in-store digital experience, and, ultimately, brand reputation.

Here are more three eye-opening reasons why visibility across IT endpoints is so important:

  • 58% of retail organizations regard in-store employee access to mobile business apps as critical.
  • 71% of specialty and department stores plan to invest in mobile inventory receiving and tracking apps by 2025 — about double compared to 2022.
  • An astounding 23% drop (year over year) in satisfaction with store efficiency among specialty and department stores was reported from 2021 to 2022.

Visibility to See the Hidden Issues, Smartest Fixes, Biggest Savings

“It’s not necessarily just the end-user experience that matters; retailers also benefit from the invaluable data insights from the endpoint devices,” according to Lakeside Software’s Senior Director of Product Management Matt McGuire during a recent webinar with World Wide Technology. “These data insights empower IT teams to remediate issues before they affect the consumer experience.”

Detecting and remediate end-user device issues remotely is especially critical. This is where the Lakeside SysTrack’s platform can help: Monitoring your retail technology stack SysTrack gives everyone a better view of the health of endpoint devices used across the retail consumer experience in stores. SysTrack solves key challenges most large retailers face today, including:

  • Maintaining visibility into the health of devices across many locations.
  • Analysis and prediction of operational failures to improve resolution time of help desk tickets.
  • Avoiding the high cost of retail tech downtime

SysTrack provides detailed data on the health of POS systems, servers, desktops, and peripheral devices used in daily operations to help maintain device performance, proactively monitor system issues, and accelerate IT help desk responses. SysTrack enables IT to pinpoint the root causes of issues quickly and use automation to proactively resolve problems before they affect the end-user or consumer experience. With a global operational dashboard, IT can easily see the location of any sites experiencing issues that could lead to costly downtime.

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