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Lessons that retailers can learn from etailers by Leon Grant

Article Author Biography
Lessons that retailers can learn from etailers by
Article Posted: 12/15/2014
Article Views: 138
Articles Written: 640
Word Count: 665
Article Votes: 3
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Lessons that retailers can learn from etailers

The war for market share between ‘brick & mortar’ retailers and tech-savvy etailers is more than a decade old now, and has long ceased to be a buzzword in the space of emerging technology and business. However, the worldwide trend points to the fact that retail ecommerce businesses have grown in scale at a phenomenal pace across geographies and categories. This unprecedented momentum gained by etailing ventures in the last decade has been primarily fueled by two factors – availability of cheap, mobile computing power for billions of shoppers around the globe, and prudential approaches championed by visionary entrepreneurs who are now idolized as pioneers in adopting, as well as adapting cutting-edge technology for expanding their business empires to greener pastures. As a matter of fact, they have put in concerted efforts towards enticing people, and lure them to spend their time and money on shopping from their websites. Delving deep into the embedded complexities reveal that extremely smart algorithms are working relentlessly behind the sublime performance of the state-of-the-art etailing websites. People browsing such websites are suggested with items they might like to buy, based on their browsing patterns, previous shopping histories, amounts expended, categorical comparison with purchases of peers, etc. In fact, these subtleties work to a great extent, and people often end up buying things they have not planned for. All of these analytics based real-time decision making prowess stems from complicated mathematical formulae based prediction algorithms, and contributes significantly to the company’s bottom line. On the contrary, ‘brick & mortar’ retail stores rely heavily on their staffs and salespersons for similar type of functional roles. For traditional platforms whose customers are not tech-savvy, the humane touch had not lost its shine. But it is indeed a matter of grave concern for conventional retailers to compete with the efficiency and cost-benefit ratio of employing algorithms, especially considering the fact that in spite of investing a sizeable amount of money and time in training their staffs, human efforts will never be able to keep up with the consistency offered by software governed environments. Quite evidently, retail stores need to equip and supplement their employees with high end retail software, which might prove to be a strategic tool for challenging the aggressive etailers. At this juncture, it is imperative for traditional retail biggies in their own interest to push for innovation and invest wisely in IT infrastructure. There is no dearth of talented masterminds in the marketing departments of deep pocket retailers, and in today’s scenario, coders with decent to extraordinary levels of skills are also not scarce. While the street smart marketers fashioning business class suits need to assess, identify, re-invent and define the contextual necessities in discrete terms, the onus of creating, debugging and delivering futuristic retail software lies with the geeks and funky programmers with cheeky T-shirts. Such software should ideally be capable of incorporating all the major facets that are considered as standard in the retail industry, and topped with the cream of algorithms powering etailing websites. A typical high-end software of envisioning functionality is probably the best thing that can bridge the ever-widening gulf between the two shores of retail business, and the ultimate winner will be the consumers. The days are not far when sensors installed within retail stores will collect data regarding innumerable aspects of customers entering the store, and the retail software, entrusted for doing the job will automatically send necessary suggestions to smart watches worn by salespersons. A sensible and well trained staff equipped with valuable information is obviously a far more potent agent for converting a prospect into a sale, when compared to reliance on artificial intelligence only.

AUTHOR’S BIO: Steve Jo is a director of Swadesh Softwares Pvt. Ltd. He portrays a vivid but crisp description of how vendors of high end retail software can revolutionize their products by taking into consideration the techniques adopted by new age retailers to engage with their customers and visitors of ecommerce websites.

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