Advancements in Retail Technology
Retail technology is one of the most important factors that influence companies’ activity. This is because technological developments have revealed their importance in customers’ shopping experience, in companies’ success on the market, and on redefining marketing strategies. The issue in this case is represented by retailers trying to innovate in this field, or to embrace such technologies in their attempt to address their competition.
The globalization process that characterizes the current business environment and the changing and developing needs of individuals have determined the retail sector to invest in innovative strategies regarding the use of limited resources and the requirements of improved products and services. In such a competitive environment, companies need innovation in order to consolidate or improve their position on the market by gaining competitive advantage. Governments are also forced to encourage and support innovation in order to be able to successfully manage their limited resources. Innovation can be observed on individual non-profit level, in everyday life, when people must make use of their abilities and skills in developing innovative processes through which they can reach their objectives.
Innovation is required in all fields of activity. Anything that makes people’s lives and work easier requires innovation. The great discoveries and inventions throughout history were developed based on innovation. Machineries that today we consider normal, like cars, computers, and other great apparatus that we use at home or at work were considered important innovations when they were discovered. Another important aspect related to innovation is represented by the fact that these innovative products and services determine and influence other innovations, by creating a chain of developments that lead to various products that can be used in numerous fields. Therefore, it is important to develop an environment that supports innovation in the public and in the private sector. However, this means great financial investments. There are countries and companies that rely on innovation and have the capability of supporting such an environment.
The most important issue regarding technological advancements is represented by retailers trying to determine customers to increase their online shopping. Most retailers have several benefits from expanding their online business. By developing an online shopping activity, companies can significantly reduce their costs. This is objective can be reached by addressing the international business environment while it is not necessary to develop headquarters in different countries. This significantly reduces logistics and human resources costs. Most companies develop international websites that customers around the globe can access. These customers can purchase online, and companies ship the ordered products to their customers.
This also helps companies increase the number of customers they address. They are also able to address niche customer segments that have different purchasing behaviors in comparison with most customer segments. In addition to this, online shopping provides benefits to customers also. They can shop at any time they want, they are not limited by traditional shops’ schedule. They can compare prices and benefit from other customer reviews. However, some of these customers prefer to try the product on, or to put their hands on the product and study it.
Some of these companies have observed this need in certain customers. Therefore, they are developing strategies intended to address these needs also. These strategies are focused on combining tradition with online shopping. Such a strategy is based on providing QR codes for different products (Graham, 2011). Customers can scan these codes with their mobile phones and access detailed product specifications, customer reviews, and other information.
Technological developments that retailers must follow on are more even more important. Intel has developed a digital signage endcap concept and Reflect Systems Audience Touchpoint solution. These developments are intended to create a dynamic in store display that provides access to customers that are interested in informative videos, location of the products in case, comparisons with other products, and others.
The objectives of such technologies are represented by allowing customers to benefits from the advantages of online shopping, while putting their hands on the traditional product. Such technological advancements can significantly improve customers’ shopping experience. This is because in such cases they would not have to wait for salespeople to present these products to them. In certain cases, salespeople are not well trained in providing customers the necessary information about certain products.
Online retailers are also trying to use technological advancements in their attempt to provide their customers the benefits of traditional stores. This refers to websites that use 3D imagery in order to present products, and to allow customers to feel the online shopping experience like the traditional shopping experience. There are certain customers that do not prefer online shopping because they cannot try the products on. Technological advancements in retails have developed a solution in this case also. It seems that certain companies are interested in investing in developing virtual dressing rooms on their websites. This is intended to help customers make a decision about the products they are interested in purchasing. In this case, it is not necessary that customers go to traditional stores to try products on. This is intended to increase the number of online shoppers.
Companies are interested in reducing the differences between traditional and online shopping. This is intended to help traditional shops to attract connected shoppers, but also to help online stores to attract traditional shoppers. This means that companies must invest in retail technology that allows them to satisfy different types of customers.
This can be a concern in the case of companies that are not interested in addressing both business models. This is because numerous companies focus either on developing a traditional model, or an online model. It seems that it is difficult to satisfy a large number of customers in such cases. It is important that companies invest in retail technologies that allow them to satisfy the developing needs of customers.
This situation was identified as an issue by traditional companies having difficulties in attracting online shoppers, and by online companies having difficulties in attracting traditional shoppers. Retail technology developments are considered an important issue that must be addressed by companies. Their strategies based on technological developments are also intended to increase their productivity.
The issue of technology advancements in the retail business has a significant influence on modern society. This is because the influential relationship between society and technology is reciprocal. In other words, technology influences society, but the society also influences technology. Technological developments represent the response that scientists give to the problems, needs, and requirements of the society. Modern society is influenced by the technological developments that take place in different business fields.
Technological developments can significantly influence individuals’ lifestyle. People can connect with their friends across the world, they can send files through their smart phones, they can pay their bills will their cell phones, and others. Certain individuals become addicted with technology (Dawson, 2012). They cannot perform normally unless they use technology. Other individual prefer to get away from technology. Some of them go to great lengths in order to reach this objective. They start living in the wilderness in order to avoid having to deal with technology, even with electricity. Therefore, individuals’ response to technological developments is different. However, research in the field has revealed the fact that most people are interested in technological developments, and consider that their life can be improved with the help of different devices.
Technological developments are determined by the different needs of mankind. These developments are made in order to simplify people’s lifestyle. However, certain opinions are based on the fact that they can complicate lifestyles. This means that technology has different effects on people’s lives, and that their effects are contextual.
Modern society must develop an opinion on the technological advancements that are not useful. This is because many of such technologies have not been developed for efficient purposes, but for the fun of it. Their use becomes a habit. This means that they can complicate things if frequently used.
The modern population must also determine its opinion on technological developments applied in the retail business. In other words, they must determine if these developments are helpful to them. If they are not, companies should not invest in these technological developments because they determine increased prices for their products. In addition to this, they can determine certain customers to address competitors that do not provide such technology developments. But if these technologies help improve customers experience, it is likely that they agree with them.
The modern retail business is significantly influenced by technological developments. Online shopping has expanded. This refers to increasing the number of online shoppers, but also the number of online shops. Traditional stores must also follow these industry trends. This means that they must develop websites where customers can study their products, and make online shopping (Varley, 2006). These stores must address technological developments in order to improve their relationship with customers.
This strategy can be difficult to follow by some companies. This is because technological innovations are expensive, and require significant investments that not all companies are able to make. Therefore, such companies must either increase their efforts into finding the resources that are required by investing in technological developments, or not address them and risk reduce their customer base.
Innovation is influenced by a series of factors. Such factors include: level of financial, technical, and human resources, government’s incentives, the general innovation orientation of the country, talent pools, the collaboration between companies and universities. But there are also several implications of the innovation process that must be taken into consideration. Such implications refer to education, the partnership between the public and the private sector, immigration, culture, and the business process.
It has been observed that large companies are significantly more capable of developing successful innovation research processes in comparison with smaller firms. The financial resources that large companies benefit from allow them to make important investments in innovation, while small companies must allocate their resources in other areas. The growth process of large companies allows them to improve their skills in developing partnership agreements, and in improving their abilities in their research and development activities. Larger companies have the possibility of collaborating with top universities in developing innovation programs. Their experience allows them to identify business partners that are able to support their innovation efforts.
However, small firms have certain advantages in comparison with large companies. For example, small companies seem to be more able to attract top talent than large companies (Leavey School of Business, 2009). This is because small companies provide better incentives packages that are based on rewarding individual contribution, in comparison with large companies that provide traditional packages based on employees’ merits. In addition to this, innovators’ property rights are better protected in the case of small companies. The size of small companies allows them to avoid information overload. This is intended to encourage and support innovation.
Technological developments in the retail industry are used in order to reach different objectives (Aruba Networks, 2012). These objectives refer to attracting a larger number of customers, increasing accessibility to retailers’ products, improving customer experience, and others. If certain retailers are successful at implementing these technologies, it is likely that competitors will follow.
It is important to understand how the use of technological developments and their evolution in time. Mobile points of sale and wireless communication were considered innovations initially. In the beginning, a reduced number of companies used them. Such technologies helped them improve their activity and reduce their costs. Therefore, their competitors had to apply this strategy based on technological developments. More and more companies started to use mobile points of sale and wireless communication until they became something normal and necessary to all retailers.
In addition to this, technological developments help improve business security. This refers to all types of activity, and it is not limited to the retail sector. Inventory management can also be improved with the help of technological developments. This helps improve the merchandise flow from suppliers to customers. This is a great benefit for retailers. It helps them manage their stocks, and identify their supply necessary.
Other technological developments refer to the marketing strategy. This is mostly the case of digital marketing. It seems that certain digital marketing techniques are considered technological advancements. This means that they have not been used intensive enough in order to become a habit for most companies.
Marks & Spencer is one of the most important retailers to address such a strategy. The company has stated that it will develop a digital lab intended to speed up retail technology development (Finnegan, 2013). This digital lab is intended to develop certain e-commerce and in store technologies, like digital marketing platforms that employees can use within the company.
However, not all technological developments can be used on any type of retailer. It is important to identify several options, and to select the solution that is in accordance with the requirements of each business (Taylor, 2012). This objective can be reached by determining what the right improvement is for these businesses.
Technological developments have become a must in the retail industry. This means that in order to be successful and address their competition, retailers must invest in implementing such technologies, even if this requires significant investments. The important thing in such cases is to identify the right type of technology that is required in each case. Certain companies need to improve their supply chain management, other companies must increase the number of customers they reach, other companies must improve customer satisfaction.
There are also certain technological developments that can be applied by all retailers. These mostly refer to technologies that help improve customer experience. This is the case of reducing time spent in order to make the purchase, collecting information on the products, comparing prices, and others.
It is difficult to determine how the field can work in order to alleviate the issue of accessibility to such technological developments of retailers. This is because retailers do not have much to say when it comes to technologies. In such cases, it is the customers that decide what technologies they need in order for the retailers to satisfy their needs and requirements. Therefore, retailers must follow the trends imposed by customers’ needs.
Technologies in the it field take place at a fast pace. It is difficult for small retailers to keep up with these improvements. Larger companies can purchase and implement such technologies, which increases the gap between them and smaller competitors. However, this is not always useful to customers. This is because in such situations, certain small retailers must sell their business to larger retailers, and to transform it. Their loyal customers are affected by this situation (Vedamani, 2003). Therefore, it is important to identify the necessary technologies that must be used in order to improve each business.
In such cases, it is important that authorities reveal their interest in helping smaller retailers address technological advancements intended to help their business. This is also useful to authorities. This is because the state budget is influenced by the taxes collected from the activity of these retailers. Therefore, governments are interested in the activity of these retailers in order to benefit from the taxes they collect from them.
It is little that the industry can do in order to influence authorities in this direction. In addition to this, certain members of the industry are not interested in uniting their efforts in order to make these technologies more available. This is because they are not interested in doing so. This would mean that they do not activate in a competitive manner. Their interest is to address technologies that are not available to competitors. Basically, this is the reason for which they invest in such technologies. When these technologies become available to most retailers, they are not efficient. This issue is to identify technological developments that are not addressed by other companies.
In order to develop successful strategies based on technological developments, companies should develop their in house technology labs. These labs can focus on different technology fields, like information, communication, distribution, and others. It is important that companies focus on developing their productivity.
1. Graham, S. (2011). Latest Wave in Retail Technology Will Redefine your Shopping Experience. Retrieved June 10, 2013 from http://www.fastcompany.com/1752413/latest-wave-retail-technology-will-redefine-your-shopping-experience.
2. How Do Size and Experience Affect Innovation? (2009). Leavey School of Business. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://www.scu.edu/business/mindwork/spring09/large-firm-small-firm-madsen.cfm.
3. Technology Advances in Retail: Improving Margins Using Wireless Networks (2012). Aruba Networks. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://www.arubanetworks.com/pdf/technology/whitepapers/wp_Retail_advances.pdf.
4. Finnegan, M. (2013). Marks & Spencer Creates Digital Lab to Speed Retail Tech Development. TechWorld. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://news.techworld.com/applications/3424361/marks-spencer-creates-digital-lab-speed-retail-tech-development/.
5. Taylor, a. (2012). New Directions in Retail Technology. Retail Week. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://www.retail-week.com/technology/new-directions-in-retail-technology/5037924.article.
6. Varley, R. (2006). Retail Product Management: Buying and Merchandising. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
7. Vedamani, G. (2003). Retail Management: Functional Principles and Practices. Jaico Publishing House. Retrieved June 2013.
8. Dawson, J. (2012). Retail Geography. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://books.google.ro/books?id=seV2L-nA6Q0C&pg=PA161&dq=retail+technology+developments&hl=ro&sa=X&ei=HF27UazXCqKt4ATe4IGYBA&ved=0CF0Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=retail%20technology%20developments&f=false.
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