Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TECHNOLOGY IN RETAIL

TECHNOLOGY IN RETAIL :
Over the years as the consumer demand increased and the retailers geared up to meet this increase, technology evolved rapidly to support this growth. The hardware and software tools that have now become almost essential for retailing can be into 2 broad categories.

Customer Interfacing Systems :
· Bar Coding and Scanners
Point of sale systems use scanners and bar coding to identify an item, use pre-stored data to calculate the cost and generate the total bill for a client. Tunnel Scanning is a new concept where the consumer pushes the full shopping cart through an electronic gate to the point of sale. In a matter of seconds, the items in the cart are hit with laser beams and scanned. All that the consumer has to do is to pay for the goods.

· Payment
Payment through credit cards has become quite widespread and this enables a fast and easy payment process. Electronic cheque conversion, a recent development in this area, processes a cheque electronically by transmitting transaction information to the retailer and consumer's bank. Rather than manually process a cheque, the retailer voids it and hands it back to the consumer along with a receipt, having digitally captured and stored the image of the cheque, which makes the process very fast.

· Internet
Internet is also rapidly evolving as a customer interface, removing the need of a consumer physically visiting the store.

Operation Support Systems :

· ERP System
Various ERP vendors have developed retail-specific systems which help in integrating all the functions from warehousing to distribution, front and back office store systems and merchandising. An integrated supply chain helps the retailer in maintaining his stocks, getting his supplies on time, preventing stock-outs and thus reducing his costs, while servicing the customer better.

· CRM Systems

The rise of loyalty programs, mail order and the Internet has provided retailers with real access to consumer data. Data warehousing & mining technologies offers retailers the tools they need to make sense of their consumer data and apply it to business. This, along with the various available CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems, allows the retailers to study the purchase behavior of consumers in detail and grow the value of individual consumers to their businesses.

· Advanced Planning and Scheduling Systems

APS systems can provide improved control across the supply chain, all the way from raw material suppliers right through to the retail shelf. These APS packages complement existing (but often limited) ERP packages. They enable consolidation of activities such as long term budgeting, monthly forecasting, weekly factory scheduling and daily distribution scheduling into one overall planning process using a single set of data

The major reasons behind the development of new trends are:

· Scalable and profitable Retail models are well established for most of the categories
· Rapid Evolution of New-age Young Indian Consumers
· Retail Space is no more a constraint for growth
· Partnering among Brands, retailers, franchisees, investors and malls
· India is on the radar of Global Retailer Suppliers


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