Nordstrom is adopting a new cloud-based point-of-sale system from cloud application specialist Infor, in an effort to improve inventory awareness, accuracy and consistency across multiple store locations.
Infor Rhythm for Commerce, part of the Infor CloudSuite Retail platform, can help store associates gain access to product and inventory information that they can use to help to locate and order the right products across the supply network quickly and easily, on any device, as they strive to improve customer engagement and experience.
Infor Rhythm connects commerce platforms with back office systems, and analyzes data that companies gather to create and strengthen customer relationships.
Infor has some history with retailers already, having worked with Whole Foods back in 2015 on a similar-sounding cloud-based inventory and supply chain management project. In fact, it sounds a lot like that relationship with Whole Foods was essentially a lab in which Infor may have further developed and refined its own technology into the retail suite we see today.
What Whole Foods saw budding value in back then more retailers may be ready to see real value in today. As Nordstrom CIO Dan Little said in a statement, "It's crucial that we have the right technology in place today and in the future to improve our customer experience. We're excited to move forward with Infor's cloud-based platform as it aligns well with our current needs and is an adaptable platform that can continue to evolve to better serve customers."
Inventory accuracy is a big problem in retail, with many sources saying that industry-wide retailers average only around 60% accuracy, with the percentage at many individual retailers running below that figure. That negatively affects everything from store efficiency to customer engagement. One of the most annoying things for customers is having to ask a store associate for help finding something. Perhaps equally frustrating for the customer, is when a store associate is unsure of whether an item is out of stock and unable to tell customers whether it is available at another store location without them having to drive to that location to find out.
Putting inventory data and other store data into the cloud is really the sort of application that cloud computing was invented for — storage of data in a shared software layer than can be accessed from anywhere. Infor isn't the only company out there that can deliver this kind of technology. Terra Technology, acquired by E2open last year, is another, and there are several others. If Nordstrom shows fast improvement from putting Infor's cloud POS to work, it's a good bet that Infor and others in the space will be getting buys with more retailers as 2017 plays out.