News Feature | February 19, 2014

Retail IT News For VARs — February 19, 2014

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By Anna Rose Welch, contributing writer

VAR Retail IT News

CRM technology investments are expected to reach $24 billion this year. Also in the news, the lack of data or data spread across too many silos is hindering CMOs omni-channel marketing efforts, and more retailers are looking to labor management software to get in-store fulfillment operations in line with distribution centers.

CRM Technology Investments On The Rise

Customer relationship management (CRM) technologies are becoming a major part of companies’ digital strategies, Gartner says in a recent report. A Fierce Mobile IT article says the report lists mobility, social media and technologies, Web analytics, and e-commerce as taking a majority of CRM investments. Overall, CRM software revenue is expected to reach roughly $24 billion in 2014. While SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or cloud-based CRM deployments represent more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, they are poised to reach 50 percent during 2015. In addition to social, mobile, Big Data, and cloud, Gartner has added an additional CRM driver this year: Internet of Things. As more sensors connect people and other objects to the Internet, new services will come to light that can change the face of customer service.

Lack Of Data And Technology Challenge CMOs

According to a report conducted by CMO Club and Visual IQ, a majority of CMOs are struggling to master omni-channel marketing. The report highlights some of the obstacles that are keeping companies away from implementing an omni-channel strategy. The largest issue for 85.6 percent of CMOs is that customer data/interaction data is either unavailable or spread across too many different data silos. Lack of necessary technologies or tools (84.6 percent) and an inability to measure cross-channel performance or ROI (82.2 percent) round out the top three. For 80.3 percent of CMOs, there is also a lack of in-house talent to implement and maintain omni-channel marketing.

Labor Management Software Key For Omni-Channel Fulfillment

Labor management software (LMS) is becoming more widely used within retail outlets as stores continue to implement in-store fulfillment programs, DC Velocity reports. Omni-channel is necessitating more efficient distribution operations, but — as a recent DC Velocity survey has found — stores are not as efficient or precise as distribution centers in terms of fulfillment. In order to get in-store fulfillment operations in line with those of distribution centers, more retailers will be looking to invest in labor management software.

Holiday Shoppers Disappointed By Omni-Channel

OpinionLab released the findings of its newest Customer Feedback Index (CFI) report. During the holidays, online and omni-channel retail disappointed shoppers, the results show. While retailers’ search functions and product information are improving, loyalty pages and programs slipped 10 percent as consumers are faced with more choices in the omni-channel retail environment. Cross-channel price matching, smart technology, informed associates, and fulfillment flexibility are some of the ways large omni-channel retailers are striving to remaining competitive.

QR Codes Still Beat NFC In Mobile Ticketing

According to ABI Research, more than 34 billion tickets will be delivered to mobile devices in the next five years. The technologies this increase should affect include QR codes, NFC, SMS, mobile wallets, Bluetooth Smart, and dedicated apps. QR codes will be the leader, making up 48 percent of all tickets delivered, followed by NFC with 30 percent. SMS will account for the remaining 22 percent. QR codes are expected to maintain their position as the most-used ticket technology despite the fact that NFC is expected to encounter the fastest growth from 2014 to 2019.

Retail IT Talking Points

Retail’s BIG Blog highlights some of the methods CEOs discussed to survive the “wild, wild west” of omni-channel from Retail’s BIG Show 2014.

Greg Buzek from IHL Group argues that the costly nature of PCI security requirements have taken away from the resources retailers could’ve used on all aspects of security. While PCI compliance started with good intentions, compliance is not security, Buzek says.

Liz Elting for MediaPost discusses some of the benefits of responsive design and argues that responsive design is a must-have for e-commerce companies.

January was a disappointing month for retailers, the Los Angeles Times reports. Last week, the Commerce Department said that retail sales slumped 0.4 percent in January from December compared to last year when sales were up by 2.6 percent. While restaurants, furniture, clothing, and sporting goods stores took a hit, grocery stores and building supply stores saw increased revenue as storm-fearing shoppers hit their aisles for supplies.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Retail IT Tech Center.

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