In today’s modern e-commerce environment, technology and software updates often leave fragments of outdated or older methods behind as legacy technology. When it comes to the retail industry, legacy costs money and causes headaches.
Siloed, older technology weighs retailers down rather than lifting them up and enabling innovation. Retail success is difficult to attain when dealing with architectural islands dotted with AI here, connected commerce there, and edge technology elsewhere.
Rather, retail achievement relies upon brands creating a seamless, integrated operating model for their technology — a model enabling customer, employee and brand experience alignment. This alignment trifecta is a reality you can attain now.
The Causes and Challenges of Legacy Tech Traps
When the pandemic went global in early 2020, most retailers adopted tech quickly to get them through tough times. Buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) became widespread at the time to keep retailers afloat. So, too, did pickup lockers, which enabled safety-minded consumers to place and pay for orders online and pick them up in an in-store locker at their own convenience.
Oftentimes, such great technology was looked upon as stopgap measures, but there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Consumers, while increasingly back in stores, love these modern conveniences. And while such measures were wise at the time, retailers are now left with myriad unconnected, cobbled-together tech silos that are costly, risky and difficult to update and integrate with their other systems.
Unsure about being stuck in a legacy trap? Consider whether your technology causes headaches that include yearly changes and updates that will likely cost a million dollars or more, inconsistent customer experience for product availability and pricing, loyalty program rollouts or updates that drag on forever, or too many vendors to manage.
Unfortunately, by default, many CIOs have become their company’s tech integrator, which means other duties fall behind. When the CIO is in the weeds, it’s tough for retailers to be agile and easily deploy solutions and updates their companies need.
Unintegrated, suboptimal legacy and new tech leave a disjointed experience in its wake, resulting in a messy situation that can erode your brand. And regrettably, supporting legacy technology consumes approximately three-quarters of an IT department’s budget.
How to Move Past Outdated Tech
Fortunately, retailers have the opportunity to reimagine the customer and employee experience by taking a fresh approach to IT modernization. While existing transformation options force retailers to choose between innovation impact and uninterrupted operations, achieving both is possible.
A new, successful operating model requires innovation built for today’s and tomorrow’s change; freedom to experiment; and unified data rather than custom code; and actionable insights extending from the in-store edge to the cloud software that powers modern business processes.
Experience-first-minded retailers wanting to break through and achieve this model will never settle for mediocre and are always searching for an advantage. They are ready to make bold, innovative moves.
Retailers like this can take a few practical paths in their journey toward modernization, which includes:
- Updating to infuse a legacy POS system with platform business services like cloud-native POS solutions, cashier productivity analysis, loyalty programs and more. This cloud-based platform-as-a-service development and deployment environment allows retailers to avoid the expense and complexity of buying software licenses and dealing with the underlying application infrastructure. It’s usually offered on a pay-as-you-go basis so cost is based on usage.
- Extending and scaling to virtualize/containerize and reuse infrastructure and apps to plug into commerce platforms. This enables retailers to mix and match microservices with a unified service layer, which simplifies commerce.
- Leaping ahead to move directly to next-gen POS systems and an open commerce platform, which is based on open-source code and enables merchants to build valuable experiences for their customers and employees. Everything from customization to extension to integration is considered.
By modernizing quickly and creating an experience-operating model, retailers can win by tackling these new challenges head-on with their tech.
For instance, retailers can drive better-informed decision-making with modern IT infrastructure built for change, which enables them to integrate their edge and cloud technologies in several ways. Think, for instance, of improved transaction data management, taxes, digital coupons and recipes, device management, software updates, catalogs, security, reports, analytics, alerts, insights and more.
Moving Ahead So ‘In It to Win It’ Is Possible
Technology in and of itself is not the answer. It must be integrated with other systems to work and help achieve success.
By following the aforementioned approach, retailers can quickly change and upgrade their technology and initiatives like loyalty programs, POS systems, and so much more.
Retailers can choose a trusted advisor with a pragmatic modernization path. Consider relying on a guided journey with deep industry expertise, while moving at your business’s own pace during the digital transformation. An open commerce platform will revitalize, extend and scale, and leap innovation ahead to help you ditch your legacy tech rather than be left behind in today’s modern-day needs. There is no reason to go it alone — you can lead the pack.
— Eric Schoch, Executive Vice President and President, Retail, NCR Commerce