Next generation apps for retailers

Epson Insights catches up with Carlos Miguel Soares, General Manager of Portugal’s itBase to learn about new software approaches for retail.

Next generation apps for retailers

Next generation apps for retail

Epson Insights recently had the opportunity to interview Carlos Miguel Soares, General Manager of Portugal’s itBase, at an Epson-managed ISV event in Antwerp, Belgium.  Here’s what he had to say about the prospects for creating greater customer experiences through technology and software applications in the retail sector.

What solutions are you developing for retailers?

At itBase we’ve done a lot of work with the retail sector on data analytics software recently.  For example, we’ve been working with one major European retailer to help them map where their customers live around Europe in order to help them better target their marketing and promotions activity.  But there’s a great deal more that we’re working on.

What does the future of retail look like from an ISV perspective?

Retail is changing rapidly. Consumers have integrated the use of smart phones into retail by researching products, comparing prices and buying online as well as in-store. It’s now been shown that omni-channel consumers often spend between 15% and 30% more than the single-channel consumer. Retailers know they have a huge opportunity to engage with this trend if they can reassure people about their privacy and security and they’re working hard to better integrate their online and physical stores.

Some of the most exciting opportunities for innovative customer experiences are related to interaction with smart phones and are therefore still a little controversial. Once you can identify and track a customer through device recognition as they enter a store you can do a lot of things, for example:

  • Use software to quickly analyse regular buying habits or what products a consumer has been viewing in the online store.  This information could then be relayed to a store clerk help them offer targeted advice to that visitor.
  • Track the movement of customer’s mobile devices in-store and direct store clerks to consumers who have been static for a certain period of time and are therefore more likely to need support.
  • Alternatively, a similar set of commands could be used to offer a short product information video to the customer, if no store clerks are available, or if a customer has previously expressed a preference for this non-human support.
  • Consumers will also be empowered by this technology – being able to make mobile payments that are directly registered at the till points, without having to queue.

Does the technology already exist to allow this?

Yes, it does. The real challenge for retailers though is to make the bridge from legacy technology to new cloud-connected hardware that collects data and provides a platform for using the applications developed by ISVs. Retailers are looking for easy to set up solutions like Epson’s new point-of-sale-devices that incorporate the omni-channel concept from the bottom-up, and are engineered to help provide reduced in-store queue time and an enhanced customer experience.

Are consumers ready for the upcoming changes?

In some cases – like with mobile payment – they’re increasingly demanding them.  However, to fully realise the vision of the future of retail I’ve painted above, retailers know they need consumer permission and to achieve this it is important to think about data privacy and security. To that extent there is still a dialogue underway.

The impressive thing about retailers though is that they continue to try to find solutions to technology challenges and when they finally have enough confidence they will act and implement solutions within weeks, not months.

Click here to find out more about Epson’s range of retail solutions.