IT vendors — from RFID tech providers to supply chain management software companies — have descended upon the National Retail Federation’s 95th annual convention and expo in New York City to show off their latest applications and technologies.
In the CRM space, vendors such as SAS Institute and Epicor are highlighting the latest deployments in business-intelligence and point-of-sale dashboards. Others — software integrator Agilysys, for one — are giving attendees a look at what they can build with the latest technologies.
Know Your Customer
While many new features address specific — and sometimes quite different — pain points for retailers, the overarching theme is repeated from vendor to vendor in one iteration or another: Know your customer.
“We need to be wearing the shoes of the consumer more than we probably have as an industry,” Cyndy Renfrow, a senior director in SAS Institute’s global retail practice, told CRM Buyer.
SAS Intelligence’s latest applications in this area — Customer Intelligence, Merchandise Intelligence and Operations Intelligence retail applications, all of which are on display at the show — provide a common platform for businesses to analyze data and then make the decisions likely to have the most favorable impact on customers, she said.
One customer success story that SAS is touting at the show is how Newport News Catalog’s implementation of its platform allowed the company’s marketers to more effectively track the results of its many catalog and Internet campaigns.
“SAS solutions provide invaluable insight into our customers, including who they are, why they are buying from us, what products they do and don’t like, their preferred contact channel and preferred frequency of contact,” said Van Rhodes, manager of marketing business intelligence solutions for Newport News.
Epicor’s RetailStore 3.0, which is already shipping to customers, also focuses on bringing other stores, retail channels and general operations onto a tighter platform in order to better serve the customer, the company said.
One new feature is a point-of-sale dashboard that provides more information to the sales associate. Another is the Multi Channel Retailing support module, which manages orders between stores and other sales channels in real-time so that sales associates can locate merchandise, fulfill the customer’s order and “save the sale.”
POS: Straight to the Heart
“A store’s point-of-sale information is at the heart of a retailer’s enterprise,” said Kathy Frommer, senior vice president and general manager of Epicor CRS. “By integrating that information in real-time with headquarter’s systems, other stores and sales channels, the right information can be available to sales associates and other employees to provide a richer customer experience.”
Then there are Agilysys’ multiple displays, which demonstrate for retailers various simulations of new technology in everyday situations. One example is its display of handheld devices and their use in grocery stores.
Last year’s show also included demonstrations of this technology — mainly in Europe, however. According to Agilysys, Camp Hill Giant Super Food Stores and Food Lion’s Bloom stores have recently implemented these systems.
These handheld devices integrate with a grocery store’s full- andself-service checkout systems, automatically recording transactions as a shopper moves through the store.