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NRF Report: Mixed experiences with multi-channel investment

Despite the universal understanding that multi-channel is the retail model for the future there has been a slower rate of investment in the necessary technology to support it, according to IT firm HP. By Glynn Davis in New York


NRF Report: Mixed experiences with multi-channel investment

Speaking at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in New York this week Ray Carlin general manager and vice president at HP Retail, suggested: "The industry is moving more slowly around omni-channel retailing than anticipated. I'd expected more acceleration."

He suggests many technology companies are trying to sell a vision of the future whereas in contrast many retailers do not like change and are typically conservative. They have therefore limited their investments to pilots.

And for those early adopters of multi-channel technology Carlin says they "have not been willing to talk about their experiences because if they've a full-scale digital strategy then they have wanted to keep it secret."
The pilots have been evident around mobile solutions even though there is a growing belief that adopting such technology is vital for future success. This was certainly the view given by Howard Schultz, founder and chief executive of Starbucks, when giving a keynote speech at NRF.

He told delegates: "It has never been more challenging for bricks and mortar retailers to succeed in an endurable way. There are seismic changes taking place in human behaviour, which is linked to technology - especially mobile platforms."

Failure to invest in these technologies to get "ahead of the curve" will inevitably place retailers on a "collision course with time".   

However, Richard Goodall, sales and marketing manager at PCMS Group, expresses positivity and was finding serious levels of investment in mobile PoS. "iPhones and tablets is the biggest area of demand - for retailers that can't replace their existing PoS but want mobility.

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