Retail Technology Integration: How Important Is It?
Friday, October 20, 2017

Retail Technology Integration: How Important Is It?

The past few months the OD team and I have spoken to several retailers and brands.  A common topic we have been hearing is “We have been promised a lot and it never came. You would not believe the negative impact that has had on business”.  These retailers/brands made the decision to go with a certain provider(s) after one or more consultants recommended a solution. This based on how deep the retail technology integration was between several products – compared against the retailers/brands short term and long-term needs.

Retail Technology Integration is Only One Part of the Puzzle

Investment into retail technology is not only about money but all the other resources it affects. I agree, tight integrations are important, but retailer/brand beware when you are making your purchase decision based solely on this.  The investment you put into retail technology (such as an Order Management Solution) is a massive one that includes not only money but a great deal of other resources. The wrong decision could almost put you out of business.

A good System Integrator/Consultant or Order Management System (OMS) platform provider should understand your business completely. They are there to help you with your retail technology strategy. Which means they have to be honest about costs vs benefits.  An OMS solution might look good on the outside because how deep the retail technology integration is connected with the eCommerce platform, but it might not have the right features and capabilities that drive real benefits for your business.  If you put lipstick on a pig, guess what? It is still a pig.

 

Will the Real OMS Please Stand Up Whitepaper

 

So What Else Should You Consider?

When looking into an OMS, figure out when and where you want to see your Return on Investment (ROI).  This is something that varies across different retailers. After all, they each have unique omnichannel needs. Some examples include:

  • Grow loyalty with all different generations
  • Increase speed to customer from all channels
  • Raise foot traffic in stores
  • Increase store and online purchases
  • Cut shipping cost for both the retailer and the customer
  • Decrease returns liability
  • Reduce the revenue impact of returns
  • Drive greater store inventory turnover
  • Decrease square footage in non-retail locations (DCs, Warehouses)
  • Raise your brand reputation and awareness
  • Diminish your carbon footprint

These are just a few examples of how you can measure your ROI. Making sure that the OMS solution you chose provides you with the advanced Order Management features that can offer you this ROI makes much more sense than just choosing one that has depth of integration with only one technology. Rather, look for a solution that offers the features you need, as well as proven integrations both with eCommerce platforms as well as other critical systems in the retail ecosystem. Don’t forget that as the heart of your business, an advanced order management system will tie into ecommerce, POS, WMS, marketplaces, shipping carriers, payment gateways, financial ERP, loyalty card solution, call center, and so on. Here a rounded choice will pay big dividends over time.

Don’t Fall Off the Short Term Cliff

When you only consider a retail technology's short term gain, you set yourself up for failure. When a consultant or your business starts going down the road of looking at a solution as only a short term gain, you could be setting up yourself for long term failure. You also might want to start questioning the locality of the consultant(s) and if they are looking for a quick sale rather than a deeper, mutually beneficial  relationship.

Make sure you don’t just think about the short term retail technology integration, but also how it will affect your business in the long term.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to connect with me.

 

Author:  
Adam Moncrieff - Account Executive at OrderDynamicsAdam Moncrieff has been in Retailing and Technology Solutions for 17+ years. He has worked with large and small retailers globally, with brands like Walmart, Staples, GoDaddy. Reach out to Adam directly at: Adam.Moncrieff@OrderDynamics.com

 

 

Related: 

Innovative Game Plan: How to Implement Your OMS

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