If the beginning of the year means it’s time to re-evaluate your retail systems, start here.
No matter the scale of what you want to accomplish – boosting POS functionality, getting a single view of inventory, or starting your unified commerce journey to connect POS, inventory, fulfilment, order and customer data – you need a partner with the right people, processes and technology. A partner who understands retail’s demands and can give you the system that will improve customer happiness, staff satisfaction and your bottom line.
Here are important indicators of a good technology partner plus questions to ask
Look for a partner who’s been around retail for a while, with a sound platform, business model and proposition. They’ll need to understand your fast-paced, data-intensive environment where any significant level of downtime is unacceptable.
Their people will have the capability to help you plan and implement your projects so they suit you right now and into the future. When you choose a partner with a mature platform, they can focus on delivering innovation because the core functionality you need already exists.
Make sure your partner has a recent and proven success record for planning, implementing and managing complex, large-scale deployments across multiple stores, multiple formats and multiple geographies.
Do they have stable and well-tested strategies and technology or are they just adapting existing supply chain and fulfilment models? Ask if they’ve worked with related technology, systems and service providers. And how their capability integrates with eCommerce, payments, supply chain and finance software.
Request case studies or references and ask about the consultancy, customisation, deployment, training and support services they provide.
You want a partner who’s got the people and processes to move fast, while cultivating an environment where innovation flourishes. They should use agile methodologies and have experience working with agile retailers.
Get evidence of their history of responsiveness and their ability to assess and quickly correct any unforeseen issues. Ask how they’ve managed things for a client when faced with unexpected changes, a competitor’s action or customer demands.
Choose a partner that can give you a broad and holistic portfolio, perspective and experience. One that gives you all your core requirements out-of-the-box plus the ability to customise and easily add new functionality.
For the best customer experience, you need to intrinsically link inventory, fulfilment, orders, supply chain and planning. You don’t want to be tied to a point player that can only provide portions.
Your partner should let third parties connect to their technology via APIs and cultivate a community with those parties so you can give customers more shopping, payment and fulfilment options.
You also need to know that your partner has a strategic roadmap and investment committed for new capabilities.
Look for a partner that’s an Australasian business, focused on our region’s potential to succeed. A local partner means you can have more influence on the product roadmap and enjoy direct engagement with people on the ground who are committed to your success (and not distracted by offshore business activity). And a mid-size partner is more likely to view you as an important customer of influence. It’s far better to be a big fish in a small pond (and not have to fight for attention as a small fish in a big pond would).
If you’d like a benchmark to rate your current or potential technology partner against, contact us. For more than 23 years, Infinity has been dedicated to the development, implementation and support of retail systems. We’re renowned for being both pioneering and reliable. You can count on us for consulting, platform implementation, integration, training and support that helps you get great results.