Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Artificial Intelligence, @CloudExpo, @ThingsExpo, @DevOpsSummit

Artificial Intelligence: Blog Post

Retail Digital Transformation with Low-Code Platforms | @CloudExpo #DX #Cloud #Analytics

See how low-code platforms play an important role in digital transformation of the retail world

Fast-paced changes in the business landscape demand enterprises to rethink their existing business models and add innovative capabilities keeping in mind the new imperatives. One among them is the focus on Digital transformation. In the retail industry, growth is measured in terms of increased sales and value addition to existing products while keeping customer expectations in mind. This is where a digital focus is important to remain competitive.

Surviving the Competition
Surviving in a highly competitive marketplace needs more than just the ability to sell; it calls for the evaluation of existing business processes for identifying bottlenecks/loopholes, the creation of more robust frameworks for improving operational efficiency, and more importantly convergence of evolved technologies, processes and enterprise solutions in the system for delivering transformational customer experience. With personalization becoming the key to enhancing customer experience, it is time for retailers to make the shift from ‘customer interaction' to ‘customer engagement'. Apps and kiosks are replacing elements of a traditional shopping experience, calling for store environments to evolve. Moreover, with an increasing number of customers moving to online platforms, retailers are trying to cater to their needs by redefining delivery models and enriching shopping experiences across all touchpoints and channels.

Digital transformation is a conscious shift from the traditional ways of operating existing business to modern solutions that deliver incremental value to a business. This in turn results in enhanced customer experience, efficiency and business innovation.

Digital innovation in Retail
Digital transformation for retailers is about looking beyond bare minimum changes in the product and service line to rethinking processes, creating a connected engagement enabled application of modern tools and technology. It is not only about customer centricity, agility, innovation, data intelligence and new value propositions, but also about streamlining processes, reducing costs and improving efficiencies across all the phases in the retail cycle.  With the rules of the game changing, retailers need to rethink every aspect of their business - from sourcing and pricing strategies to inventory planning, employee training and customer experience management, product offering and automation.

Changing the e-commerce landscape: Transitioning from bricks to clicks
Stores are more than just sales channels today. They are experience centers - extended arms of an enterprise's digital touch-points. Organizations, thus, endeavor to integrate innovative digital experiences to ensure a connected and engaging in-store experience. Digital transformation in-store happens when retailers deliver tailored experiences to the customer through a convergence of multiple technologies - for example, analyzing customer preferences through behavioral analytics, detecting customer location in-store and delivering context-aware, personalized promotions on mobile devices. Another example is Amazon and Alibaba using kiosks and interactive digital displays to help customers browse through the entire catalog and choose the items they need, especially apparels, home goods ensuring the superior experience for customers. In addition, enabling store associates through assisted selling and advisory tools where store associates are armed with customer information and insights, is the need of the day, be it to save a sale from showrooming or to enable customer retention and loyalty.

Driving the digital value in retail industry
To become a Digital Retailer, you need to understand the customer psyche to the fullest and be able to anticipate their needs and provide service better than the competition.  A good decision-making point for a retail head a decade ago was whether to build or buy a custom application or retail software. Traditional IT departments were structured typically with large development teams who were quite capable of developing large-scale applications as well as modifications to existing systems. In the present scenario the changing business demands and, agile methodologies, outsourcing and custom application development have made it imperative.

As most customers today prefer to shop online besides physically visiting the store, visual merchandising, new resources, and better online applications for retail app creation are of utmost need. A simple platform that can help retailers build applications to automate inventory management, store merchandise records and or an application that can derive meaningful dashboards based on customer buying behavior and analytics - is the need of the hour.  You should be able to act very quickly to changing customer demands and preferences.

These daily challenges related to different aspects of retail like sales, catalogs, analytics, customer behavior, Omni channel representation, and inventory management can be easily tackled by adopting new technology like RAD, Cloud, IoT and AI that deliver solutions for digital transformation coupled with efficiency, cost optimization, and engagement.

Key levers that drive digital value in retail:

  • Cost - Enhanced payment methods, and connected marketing initiatives drive great value in retail. Improved mobile apps for payments, analytics, tremendously help reduce transaction costs and improve customer convenience. Connected ads drive revenue growth by increasing traffic to apps and provide targeted communication to customers groups.
  • Productivity - This the biggest advantage of adopting new technology. It improves the performance of workforce and automates many important processes. Retail companies can become more responsive to changes and obtain agility with digital transformation.
  • Innovation - With Technology comes innovation. Gathering important data using tools and application innovative changes can be made in the existing retail in store and online models. Invest in analytics and related tools to understand spending and shopping patterns of customers, and use them give them a highly targeted sale, like giving away a discount coupon on a sweet box to a specific customer a week before his birthday.  Based on feedback, new product changes can be implemented easily with applications reading browsing patterns, customer behavior and buying habit. At the same time decision making also becomes faster than with legacy systems.
  • Customer Experience: Digital transformation enables a deep-dive into the retail customer experience. Many digital transformation initiatives arise from pain points, business innovation needs and transformation imperatives on the customer (experience) side of the business.  Becoming data-oriented through analytical tools is a must for a digital retailer by gathering details from all the touchpoints of a consumer in his/her buying journey and get to know the consumer behavior.

Take the next step in the digital world
Traditional applications of the past no longer make the grade to enable a digital retailer. Their purpose was to standardize and integrate back-end business processes. They were not designed to adapt quickly or support innovation. Today's retail digital enterprise demands a different approach: Your applications must adapt continuously and quickly, giving you the agility you need to differentiate from the competition. Every retail enterprise is different, their needs, customers, business model etc.  You need highly customized apps and utilities to service these needs.  Now is the time to adapt Custom applications and software like RAD. What is revolutionary about the application infrastructure of these new and agile Digital Business Platforms is that development, hosting and maintenance of applications can be democratized. They are simple, intuitive and easy to use and customize.

How Low-code Platforms enable Digital innovation in Retail Industry
Low-code platforms
, as the name suggests, enable you to build apps by writing little or no code. They can be leveraged to add the competitive edge to your retail business. In traditional app development, programmers write every line of code manually (hand coding). In contrast, a low-code platform requires zero to very little manual coding. Instead, developers use an intuitive, drag-and-drop editor to create visual models of an app's business logic, integrations and user interface. If that low-code platform is full-featured, generating, compiling and deploying the necessary code is automatic.

In the retail industry, custom mobile and web applications built using a low-code platform provide real-time visibility over inventory, both in-store and on e-commerce sites. They help take better care of customers with CRM integration and tools that provide quality service, products, and stores.

Benefits of using Low code platforms:

  1. Greater Engagement
    Low code platforms help build an app in days and not in months, Developers are able to update stakeholders about project progress rapidly. Delays are cut down and changes can be quickly implemented. Maintaining short and dynamic iteration cycles makes team more engaging.
  2. Lower Risk and Higher ROI
    With a low-code platform, all the security, cross-platform support and data integration capabilities have already been built. In addition, they can be customized easily. As a result, developers and others can focus on solving business problems rather than mundane, error-prone technical requirements.
  3. Elimination of the IT Skills Gap
    The intuitive, visual editors in low-code platforms do a lot to "level the playing field." Knowledge of specific languages is not required, nor do they have to have years of experience to use them. Therefore, more developers can contribute to a project. In some cases, even non-technical stakeholders can learn to build their own prototypes. Waiting for IT support becomes a thing of the past.
  4. Scalable Governance of Multiple Apps
    By shortening lead times and using common infrastructure, low-code platforms can enhance transparency, security, and compliance.
  5. Ease of Deployment
    The best low-code platforms are game-changers for those accustomed to traditional methods. This is because one can build apps for multiple platforms simultaneously. Not only that, it can be done in a fraction of the time needed to hand-code an app for just one.
  6. Innovation
    Writing code is time-consuming, Low code platforms eliminate the effort of writing complex codes. Developers can simply drag, drop, and customize features as per the need. This makes innovation an ongoing process and involves both developers and business people in building applications as a team

How retailers benefit from low-code application development platforms:

  • Retain, attract and engage, providing personalized, differentiated Retail experiences
  • Drive new revenue streams with customized campaigns across customer segments
  • Bring efficiency to store operations with Real-Time Mobile App aided store inspections
  • Serve real-time store data to Area Managers over mobile and web applications
  • Crunch project execution with rapid project-specific app creation
  • Build KPI dashboards that can be customized to store-specific targets, maximizing profits
  • Ready-to-go loyalty app with a comprehensive analytics backend
  • Tailored Location based rewards offering for shoppers every time they walk in
  • Tiered recognition for customer purchases where customers receive rewards when they reach a predefined spending threshold
  • Easy tracking of their rewards progress either at the point-of-sale, online or on their mobile devices
  • Analytics back end for useful insights on customer spending patterns

Conclusion
Despite the challenges that come with taking a step forward towards digital disruption, retailers must embark on this journey of transformation. Going digital and becoming agile is the key way to success in today's age. Technology and innovation can fuel the process and drive value. Digital Transformation in the retail industry has to be a strategic move that encompasses people, process, and technology, only then can the retail industry gain a competitive edge.

More Stories By Karthick Viswanathan

Karthick heads the Products, Marketing and Evangelism efforts for WaveMaker. As one of the original product managers at WaveMaker, he led the technology and design for WaveMakerOnline, WaveMaker's PaaS offering. He also established the Customer Success practice for WaveMakerOnline. Prior to WaveMaker, Karthick occupied various roles in engineering and product management at PegaSystems, IBM and Oracle. He can discuss in-depth, code-level details and just as easily shift focus to business and go-to-market strategies. He was one of the seeders for the product management teams for PegaSystems in India and also a key technology contributor behind Oracle Warehouse Builder features. He writes and blogs about modern app development methodologies, including Rapid Application Development, digital transformation, and the API economy.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...