The adage that software is what makes something a “solution” has certainly never been truer than it is today. ISVs play a tremendously influential role when we look at how IT trends, and market shifts will affect the retail vertical. As new influencers continue to provide transformational solutions for the retail industry, ISVs have an opportunity to drive innovative change, particularly with the advent of cloud-based software solutions, and reinforce their position of influence. How can an ISV create solutions that will help merchants succeed in business? Here are a few areas that can be targeted.
Today’s merchants are working hard to streamline their customers’ experience from the time they set foot inside their doors or visit their webpage. When it comes to being inside a physical brick and mortar store, the ISV should be looking at ways to help develop applications that will help with line-busting or potentially in a DSD (Direct Store Delivery) environment. These solutions prove to be cost-effective and help work towards a more mobile environment that can realize time savings for not only customers but employees, as well.
Another area of focus for retail business is the receipt. The receipt is an aspect of the transaction that proves to be a value-add, if done properly. ISVs are working diligently to help bring value back to the receipt. There are two clear-cut ways a receipt can be delivered. That is either via the more traditional printed receipt or through a digital receipt.
The printed receipt, when designed properly, is a strong extension of the retailer’s brand. Taking the time to help ensure that attractive fonts, layouts, and graphics are available for a printed receipt can really solidify the entire shopping experience. A good looking receipt will also help draw the shopper’s attention, so they will be more likely to engage with any coupons or promotional information there — the more visually appealing, the better chance at garnering repeat business.
Digital receipts are becoming more popular as consumers are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint. The digital receipt is along the lines of the next level of engagement for the retailer, because not only can they be informational or promotional in nature, but it provides a different level of engagement and interaction that can provide valuable insight as to how the retailer is reaching their customer. Being able to solicit customer feedback and offer up loyalty program involvement are just some examples of functionality that can provide value from the merchant’s perspective. ISVs continue to hear from their customers requesting some form of digital receipt and printer manufacturers are now incorporating this functionality, which can prove to be very valuable to ISVs and save them valuable development resources.
Customers are becoming smarter and have less patience for logistics workflow, so an ISV has the unique opportunity to deliver solutions that can help alleviate any of these pain points for retailers. Today, customers will typically go into a store because they need the expertise, availability or are searching for a personal experience that can’t be provided in an online setting. If an ISV is able to deliver a solution that gives merchants the ability to manage inventory, handle employee scheduling, and deliver e-receipts – all from a single, unified platform, merchants are put in a better position to drive customer loyalty.
These and many other trends are shaping the course for ISVs on how they can succeed with their retail clients. Regardless of what exact innovations come to market, the focus will need to remain on providing devices that are designed for ease of use, offered at competitive prices, and help merchants move towards mobility.