Edge Technology: The Heartbeat of the Store of the Future

While online retail is growing in popularity among consumers, physical retail will still account for the majority of sales. Recent research has shown that physical retailers will continue to account for 80 percent of global sales by 2025. This is a sign that consumers still value brick-and-mortar shops.

If physical retailers are to meet these expectations, however, they must be able to adapt to the changing needs of customers and consider their place in the larger marketplace.

Retailers must use innovative technologies to provide a customer experience that is memorable and drives loyalty. Vista ‘s research has shown that over two-thirds of consumers (67%) believe that retailers should use technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality. This will address some of the most frequent problems consumers face in stores: out-of-stock items, poor customer service and long wait times at checkout. However, the challenge lies in how to embrace these technologies and still make cost savings.

Many retailers have the best intentions, but their IT infrastructures can be a hindrance when creating their “store of tomorrow.” These infrastructures can prevent consumers from getting the next-generation experience in-store. They are not optimized for new technologies, and they can be difficult to integrate to provide personalization in both the online and in-store environments. This is a sign that IT needs to be changed quickly.

Stores will not be able to thrive in the future without an agile IT infrastructure that delivers the applications. New services can be built quickly, efficiently, and without causing hardware shortages. Infrastructures must be reliable, affordable, and easy to maintain. IT must be able to provide cost savings and a platform for innovation.

It is necessary to focus on the “retail edges” — making in-store technology more cost-effective, manageable, and agile. The new retail edge model allows the distributed store estates to be managed as an integrated unit. It can run all necessary applications and experiences and can be deployed, upgraded and secured from one central point. This is a far better approach than a bunch of different in-store systems that require separate support and management.

This means that you can securely run multiple applications and peripheral hardware in your store using powerful distributed and virtualized technology. This technology offers many of the same flexibility and cost advantages as traditional cloud architectures but it must be used in-store, not in-cloud. Retailers cannot rely on cloud availability or in-built latency. This is especially true for point-of-sale and related peripherals. Intelligent automation technology is the core of such an approach. It allows for the control and update of IT across all retail properties, simplifying previously difficult tasks and providing a secure and consistent IT environment.

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Modern, innovative technology is changing the role of physical retail. Edge technology is the answer; virtualized, managed and distributed in-store solutions that allow brick-and-mortar stores to be more agile and flexible.

source https://www.mytotalretail.com/article/edge-technology-the-beating-heart-of-the-store-of-the-future/