Adapt or Die: Why Retail Technology Innovation Matters

The retail industry has long been challenged when it comes to technology innovation. Historically, each retail function was managed in silos – security and loss prevention, workforce management, merchandising and store operations; each with its own systems, strategies and staff. That is starting to change.
Technology has not only changed the way consumers shop, but has also changed the way retailers respond and how they operate. A wide range of maturing technologies is allowing companies to streamline backroom functions and increase efficiency, offsetting higher labor costs. They are utilizing data-driven analytics from multiple sources to optimize all aspects of their business, including inventory, pricing, warehousing, assortments, shelf displays and staff.
To complicate matters, shoppers have also become more sophisticated and are equipped with technology that in many cases is better than the retailer. The emergence of omni-channel retailing and retail transparency gives retailers the opportunity to address this shift and offer merchandise to shoppers at the moment of truth. That said, it also raises shoppers' expectations with a promise of availability. This shines a hard light on the ongoing issue of "out of stock," which coincidentally, costs retailers an estimated $456 billion in lost sales annually, according to IHL's 2012 Inventory Distortion Study.
Retailers of all sizes need to capture, interpret, report and intelligently respond to real-time operational data from stores, employees, inventory and shoppers. That data can be collected from existing store systems as well as a number of sensor devices – from traditional EAS tools and newer RFID-enabled solutions, to traffic counting and video analytics. However, it's not solely the power of the data itself, but rather the integration and analysis of all those data points in real-time. By giving retailers the ability to gain insights into each store, each region and even globally across the enterprise, they are poised to optimize store performance, increase profitability, and enhance safety and security.
The Integrated Store requires common business objectives across a broad set of decision makers and optimized technologies. Maximizing the value of our customers' current IT and security investments today while enabling future growth and integration of additional technologies is critical.
Renate Juengling, solutions marketing for Tyco Retail Solutions. Tyco is committed to helping customers mitigate evolving market requirements and adapt to a fundamentally different retail landscape. To learn more on how to employ technology for more efficient store operations, join the upcoming Retech Americas 2012 – Unlocking Store Performance conference. The event will be held October 8-10 at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort.