About 80% of retail organizations have allocated budget to spend on visibility platforms supported by technologies such as RFID, IoT, inventory management systems and related capabilities aimed at helping them improve several in-store and supply chain processes, according to new IDC Tech Brief from IDC Retail Insights.
The report, "Visibility Platforms for Experiential Retail," shows that more than 60% of retailers already have installed IoT architectures and 85% plan to deploy such a system within 18 months.
Among the top reasons for deploying visibility platforms: Many retailers see the technology as helping them improve internal business productivity, as well as helping to realize savings in areas such as inventory, energy and fuel, systems maintenance and head count, according to IDC.
Literally and figuratively interconnected, RFID and IoT technologies are becoming incredibly important to the future of brick-and-mortar retail, especially when joined with systems and processes for things like inventory management, returns and theft detection.
The retailers allocating more of their budgets toward these types of platforms are looking for ways to gain greater visibility from the store shelf through on-site and off-site inventory and also deep into the supply chain in the name of improving inventory accuracy, product return efficiency and loss prevention.
In short, these technologies help assure that a customer who comes into a store looking for a particular thing in a particular size and color will either walk away with exactly what they wanted, or with detailed information as to why not.
These technologies now represent the core elements of the visibility platforms IDC has studied.
"Visibility," by the way, is the perfect and most concise word for what’s happening with this technology evolution. It may sound general, but it also describes exactly what these technologies do and exactly why retailers need them. It’s much better then talking in acronyms that retailers, especially business-side decision makers, might have trouble embracing. (As acronyms go, everyone has heard of RFID, but hardly anyone can remember what it stands for (Radio Frequency Identification), and it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. IoT is newer and easier to grasp, but somehow can’t escape the whimsical weirdness of the phrase it abbreviates (Internet of Things.)
In any case, focusing on "visibility" and its business relevance rather than acronym soup, seems to be working in the market. IDC notes that much of the budget being allocated for visibility platform deployment is "business-led, with IT involvement."
"Retailers consider visibility a strategic ingredient toward digitally transforming the consumer experience, making sure that inventory is in the right place at the right time, and that consumer and employee processes are as productive, efficient, and seamless as possible," Leslie Hand, vice president, IDC Retail Insights, said in a statement.
Retailers face considerable risk if they wait much longer to invest in visibility improvements, she said. "At a time when the ability to execute efficiently to manage basic operational processes, and to assist consumers to find and buy products more efficiently literally makes or breaks consumer relationships, retailers cannot afford to wait any longer to deploy visibility solutions."