Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Information Technology (IT) in Retail

Why information technology IT is needed?
Information Technology (IT) has become a key business driver in today’s world. Retailers are also trying to reap in the benefits of the technology. Thus technology has become a critical and competitive tool for surviving in the business. Retailers are using software systems to manage and plan their inventory, to reduce the procurement costs, electronic ordering, electronic fund transfer, e mail communication and for many other things. IT is poised to take a much bigger role in Retail Industry however the high implementation cost of IT projects has restricted many Retailers to go for proper IT solution. IT growth areas in Retail are mentioned below.

Supply Chain Management:
Supply chain is one of the focus areas for the Retailers and immense opportunity of business process improvement and scope of technological empowerment is there in this area. In today’s tough economic climate customers have become price sensitive and there is a price draught in the market . Retailers are struggling to control the cost and in this the environment effective Supply Chain Management can act as a big contributor. It helps them to integrate with their suppliers and through collaborative planning retailers can reduce the cost. SCM solutions will enable Retailers to track their inventory movement from supplier’s premises to the point of sale. It gives a better visibility in the area of demand planning, forecasting and inventory management. Worlds largest Retailer Wal–Mart has adopted a state of the art SCM system which not only tracks the inventory but also it increases the efficiency of the process. Wal–Mart has also introduced the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) of merchandise.

CRM continues to be a growth area for IT in Retail sector. Advancement in this field helps to maintain sophisticated customer database and systems that can maximize multi channel returns. This helps the retailers to understand the customers demand pattern and enables them to offer a tailor made shopping experience.

Internet has unfolded lot of opportunities to the Retailers. Retailers can do business over internet. It can also be used as a communication medium. Successful Retail community uses internet technology for reliable communication between Retailers, customers and suppliers.

Business Intelligence:
Business Intelligence is an effective analytical tool which helps the Retailers to understand the eco system of retail business . It helps the business community to take mission critical business decisions which will help them to navigate in the right direction. In today’s world Retailers equipped with such data mining or data warehousing tool which has the micro level understanding of customer demand.

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