Having been born in 1970, I squarely land in the demographic known as Generation X.
As much disdain as I held in the early ‘90s for then-new buzzwords like “Gen X” and “slacker,” I engaged in stereotypical behaviors such as crashing on couches coast to coast, hanging out in “interesting” dive bars, and wearing flannel. Lots of flannel.
But times changed and so did my mindset. Unfortunately, too many retailers still hold a slacker mentality when it comes to keeping their enterprise technology up to date. Here are three technology areas where reality will indeed bite if you say “meh” to modernization.
The days of simply relying on a secure firewall are long over. Retailers need to carefully monitor all incoming network traffic and automatically flag anything suspicious (such as an IP address associated with a high-risk area) for further investigation.
Two-factor authentication can help mitigate the damage caused by stolen and misused passwords. In addition to investing in technologies that prevent and block threat actors, retailers need to deploy solutions that can detect hackers once they are inside the network, as well as analyze the dark web for any signs of their customers’ information being illegally distributed.
COVID-19 has served as rocket fuel in accelerating the growth of omnichannel fulfillment mechanisms. These include buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, automated pickup lockers, and same-day delivery. Pandemic-weary customers want the safety and convenience of e-commerce combined with the immediacy of in-store shopping, and omnichannel fulfillment provides the seamless bridge between these two channels.
According to a recent survey from delivery technology provider Bringg, anywhere from one-quarter to one-half of surveyed retailers have implemented these omnichannel fulfillment options since the onset of COVID-19. However, fewer than half of the retailers surveyed work with a technology vendor to streamline operations.
And 71% of retail executives surveyed by Incisiv and Manhattan Associates said they cannot currently manage engagement, checkout and fulfillment tasks via a single interface. Introducing omnichannel fulfillment technology is not enough; retailers must follow through on enterprise implementation and integration.
I would be remiss not to stress the importance of ensuring your entire retail operation is mobile-enabled. This means providing both employees and customers with sophisticated mobile apps that streamline everything from requesting vacation time to locating inventory to making a payment. And since many consumers are overwhelmed with apps, it is also necessary to develop a dedicated m-commerce website that is tailored to navigation via mobile device.
Customers and associates, especially millennials and Gen Z, use mobile devices as their primary means of connecting to the Internet. In addition, after the upfront expense of implementing mobile systems, retailers can realize substantial savings from mobilizing formerly manual processes. Not ensuring your entire enterprise is optimized for mobile devices will leave you as out of date as a can of OK Soda.