Schuster names the increasing prevalence of mobile solutions as one of the most significant trends of the past year. Mobility and retail come together in many forms and applications. For example, sales associates can be armed with mobile POS devices on the store floor. Or customers can take part in mobile commerce with their own phones. Either way, it’s safe to assume that mobility isn’t a passing fad, as solutions get more refined with each iteration. The bottom line is that mobility improves the shopper’s experience. If you didn’t talk to your customers about mobile solutions in 2018, Schuster says you should definitely do so in 2019.
Targeted digital marketing plans are a great way to improve the customer shopping experience, says Schuster. “Today’s retailers can gain access to a lot of data on their customers, including past purchases, cart history and more,” he says. To gather this data, study it, and then use it in email and social media campaigns to drive customers to a website or store, it’s crucial for retailers to have a centralized database of transactions and customer engagements—in other words, omnichannel. While your customers might not be ready for a wholesale upgrade, you can begin the migration in 2019, keeping one eye on the prize of centralized actionable data.
While you might think the phrase “machine learning” is overused and overpromised, the fact is that IoT sensors and other data collecting devices are being used to track product movement, monitor expiration dates and facilitate product recalls. Because the applications have such a high ROI, the solutions will grow in demand. “This technology will also be used to provide insights and more detailed analytics of shopping behavior,” adds Schuster.
Schuster points out that rather than requiring sizeable upfront cash outlays, many of your customers are now seeking smaller monthly payments that are easier to manage and budget. As this model gains traction, vendors and other third parties are getting on board to expand the available solutions. “What began as software as a service now includes hardware and infrastructure,” Schuster explains. The good news for you is that having many customers on this model can help you build a stable business with predictable revenue—while increasing your business valuation significantly.
The great news regarding all these trends is that they can all coexist in your 2019 business plan. Contact Schuster or your Ingram Micro sales rep for assistance in making 2019 a profitable and successful year.