BrainTrust Query: 2011 Predictions for Retail Technology
Commentary by David Dorf, Director of Technology Strategy, Oracle Retail
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current
article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.
I don’t have any bold predictions
for 2011 as I believe the new year will be marked by the maturation of several
technologies instead of brand new things we’ve not seen before.
Here are six
areas to watch in 2011:
1. Alternate Payments: We’ve seen several alternate payment schemes
emerge over the last two years and 2011 may be the year one of them takes hold.
Any competition that can drive down fees will be good for everyone. I’m betting
that Apple will add NFC chips to their next version of the iPhone, then enable
payments in stores using iTunes accounts on the backend. PayPal will continue
to make inroads, and Isis will announce a pilot.
2. Engineered Systems: The industry is moving toward purpose-built
appliances that are optimized across the entire stack. Oracle calls these “engineered
systems” and the first two examples are Exadata and Exalogic, but there
are other examples from other vendors. These are particularly important to
the retail industry because of the volume of data that must be processed. There
should be continued adoption in 2011.
3. Social Analytics: There are lots of tools that provide insight into
how a brand is perceived across popular internet sites, but as far as I know,
these tools are not industry specific. The next step needs to mine the data
and determine how it should influence retail operations. The data needs to
help retailers determine how they create promotions, which products to stock,
and how to keep consumers engaged. Social data alone does not provide the answers,
but it’s one more data point that will help retailers make better decisions.
Look for some vendor consolidation to help make this happen.
4. 2-D Barcodes: Look for more QRCodes on shelf-tags, in newspaper
circulars, and on billboards. It’s a great portal from the physical world into
the digital one that buys us time until augmented reality matures further.
Nobody wants to type “www”, backslash, and “.com” on their
5. In the words of Microsoft, “To the Cloud!”: My favorite “cloud
application” is Evernote. If you take notes on your work laptop, you will
inevitably need those notes on your home PC. And if you manage to solve that
problem, you’ll need to access them from your mobile phone. Evernote stores
your notes in the cloud and provides easy ways to access them. Being able to
access a service from anywhere and not having to worry about backups, upgrades,
etc. is great. Retailers will start to rely on cloud services, both public
and private, in the coming year.
6. F-Commerce: Move over “E” and “M” so we can introduce “F-Commerce,” which
should go mainstream in 2011. Already several retailers have created small
stores on Facebook, and it won’t be long before Facebook becomes a full-fledged
channel in the omni-channel world of retail. The battle between Facebook and
Google will heat up over retail, where both stand to make lots of money.
Discussion Questions: Which of the retail technology predictions mentioned
in the article will gain momentum in 2011? Which seem to be a few years off?
Are there others you would add?