Skytap recently had the privilege of contributing an article to the excellent Retail Info Systems News (RIS). RIS does an outstanding job of covering how retailers are increasing innovation to increase market share during a complete transformation in the way consumers shop and what they expect from brands looking to earn their loyalty.
After looking at the ways a growing number of retailers are supporting and even encouraging the use of mobile devices in their stores in order to both collect consumer data, and reward in-person shopping, I discovered that, “Retail Mobile Apps Should Improve, Not Kill, Brick and Mortar UX.”
I point out in the article that this new effort by retailers goes a lot further than simply building a mobile app and expecting customers to be wowed, or expecting that managing inventories and cross-channel integration is going to be a walk in the park.
As the number of shopping channels grows, so do their dependencies on each other, and their need to remain seamlessly integrated. With various inventories, fluctuating pricing and sales, loyalty program statuses and geo-location data all changing every second, the ability to not just maintain real-time records, but also use this data for business driving benefits is a monumental task.
Once forward-thinking retailers have implemented mobile, big data, and software connected cross-channel shopping to recapture lost business, they must constantly improve these systems to avoid falling behind again.
In order to constantly improve your mobile apps and the systems listed above, your development and test teams must be able to quickly make changes, eliminate bugs, and introduce new features that match the constantly changing needs and expectations of your customers. And while some may assume that quickly delivering this type of innovation will require additional headcount and hardware that you simply don’t have, it doesn’t.
What it does require is giving your existing dev/test teams what they don’t have—on-demand access to the environments they need to develop and test code quickly, and in parallel. The good news is that these environments, when virtualized, can be spun up (or even shut down) with a single click, saved, shared, and cloned in a “golden state” to avoid a growing drift between what’s found in pre-prod and production.
Retail organizations are hardly alone in the struggle to meet rapidly changing and increasing consumer expectations—everyone wants everything faster these days and at the highest quality. But by first meeting the needs of your own dev/test teams, it becomes a lot easier to exceed those of your customers.
To read, “Retail Mobile Apps Should Improve, Not Kill, Brick and Mortar UX” in its entirety, head over to RIS by clicking below!