Post Categories: January 2016

Expert Viewpoints: Retailers’ High-Tech New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

DrLanceExpertBy Dr. Lance Eliot, Vice President of Information Technology

The path leading up to the 2015 holiday season often involved putting a hold on any new innovations and freezing further expansion of high-tech for retailers. It was a batten-down-the-hatches time period, focusing on keeping things stable during the crucial money-making holiday period. Now that 2015 is in the can, retailers can take a moment to escape the frenzy of the holiday season and begin to give serious consideration to their high-tech New Year’s resolutions for 2016.

Here are three key steps retailers can take to set themselves up for success in the coming year:

  1. Get Your Systems Security in Order.

Sadly, cyber security threats are a common retail reality. Retailers must be vigilant in ensuring their point-of-sale (POS) systems and other in-store systems and network are kept fully up-to-date with the latest security measures.

New Year’s Resolution: Get a systems security assessment done in Q1 of 2016. Then embolden your security in Q2 and Q3, preparing your defenses for Q4 of 2016, when the risk of hackers will likely be highest as we once again enter the holiday selling season.

  1. Leverage Big Payoff from Big Data

During 2015 and especially the holidays, retailers amassed a ton of data about shoppers and shopping behavior. Now is the time to put it to good use.

New Year’s Resolution: Leverage that Big Data by analyzing it, finding patterns that will allow you to better target your shoppers. By understanding your data, you will be able to ensure that the right products are on your shelves at the right time of the year, and that your sales numbers will be the highest they can be.

  1. Move Forward on State-of-the-Art Retail Tech

In 2015, many retailers started considering the use of beacons for their stores, but held off as they waited to see how the new technology would play out. They also thought about mobile apps for shoppers, but for a variety of reasons, once again chose to wait.

New Year’s Resolution: Dust off the earlier discussions about high-tech retail such as beacons, mobile apps, virtual reality and other state-of-the-art innovations, and resolve to make those plans real in 2016. No need to jump in blindly; instead, get some pilots underway that will allow you to determine what is worthwhile to invest in for your operations.

Make 2016 a banner year by focusing how your tech is doing today and what you would like to see happen during the months ahead.