Further, many retailers based in malls or rural areas do not even control the level of bandwidth available. (Many mall leases specify that retailers use the mall WAN network, while in rural areas the technologies may simply not be available.) This puts added pressure on network operations since there is not enough digital horse power to enable all of the business applications mentioned above. A key part of a retailer’s success is the ability of the brand to have all of their core systems working together across all channels to enable unified commerce. IHL research has shown that there are 4 specific foundational technologies for unified commerce to work properly. Successful retailers of tomorrow are building
their IT infrastructure on top of these building blocks, to achieve unified business agility and enhanced
The first building block stems from a single version of truth about customers and employees across all
channels and their touchpoints. Customers expect you to know how they have been engaging with your
brand whether it’s online or in the store. The second area is related to status of inventory, regardless
of the location. Retailers must know what they have in their direct store but also what is available in other
stores, warehouses, and distribution centers to fulfill orders. The third core element to achieving unified
commerce is an updated POS system. This means at the store level and in real time, a POS system that
can utilize the data in customer and inventory systems both as a fixed POS and as a mobile POS. And the most
critical component to enable unified commerce is a robust store network that prioritizes and manages all the
network traffic securely, ensuring that the other core blocks are functioning properly. Retailers that have that single
view of inventory, single view of customer data, updated POS and updated network are outperforming their peers with
an average sales growth that is 76% higher. But this is just the beginning. It isn’t until after these foundational technologies are set that retailers are able to reach new in-store efficiencies and the magic truly begins.
There are many different technologies that leading retailers choose to deploy on top of an optimized network. Of these technologies, the ones producing the strongest results surround 3 areas that require an optimized network to achieve the desired business results.