Of all the changes that have taken place in recent years in the world of business, the digitalization of the marketplace and consumer behaviour is the one that has had the biggest impact.
Even so, many retailers are still only just starting to use digital technologies and provide digital services. Customer communication, customer acquisition, product advertising and payment systems in particular are becoming increasingly digital, with mobile end devices acting as a key driving force behind this development. Customers decide what, when, where and how they wish to buy – in an actual shop, on the move, online or using a combination of these methods – and they prefer a hybrid model to shopping exclusively online or offline. Digitalization also gives retailers the opportunity to learn more about customers based on their buying patterns and send them tailored offers using their preferred channel (multichannel/omnichannel) so that the entire purchasing process is geared specifically to each individual customer – any time and any place.
The individual customer journey – any time and any place
Retailers need to analyse and understand their customers’ shopping habits, online behaviour and lifestyles. Customers can obtain information and compare both products and prices regardless of location. Newsletters, promotions and customer recommendations also help keep consumers informed. All this makes it vital for companies to take data, configurations and settings stored on one channel into account for other channels, too. The data from ERP systems, e-commerce platforms, IoT sensors and analytical tools is constantly being compared and synchronised for this purpose.
Another development associated with digitalization and its permanently available solutions is the change in customer expectations regarding the delivery of products. While in the past they would have waited weeks to get the goods they ordered, delivery times are now very short. Retail competitors are under increasing pressure and goods are being delivered ever faster. Commercial enterprises require state-of-the-art warehousing and logistics to meet these demands. The objectives of cutting-edge logistics are to automate and optimise material flows and the use of resources while also ensuring reliable, high-quality delivery.
Smart retail thanks to Rittal
The processing of inventory, customer and logistics data requires high-frequency data backups together with fast and secure access. Edge computing reliably achieves this by making it possible to manage and process analytical models and data in real time. Edge computing enables retailers to improve the availability of products on-site, optimise logistics and use customer preferences in a more targeted way. Individual edge data centres in branches are connected via spine data centres in regional warehouses to the core data centre at the head office. This data centre topology makes it possible to adapt to precise retail requirements, taking into account the geographical conditions of the individual branches. The reliable interplay of these technologies lays the foundation for a smooth customer journey. As a one-stop supplier, Rittal offers custom solutions and certified quality from a single source – for any specific requirement.