Back to the Store – New Opportunities for Retail ISVs

With the change in consumer palettes for healthier food options, smaller convenience stores and retail outlets are seeing a surge in demand for healthy, organic, hot and cold food, and grocery choices. During the 1990’s, multinational grocers took over the retail market and most believed that the small family-owned, mom & pop shops would die out. The presumption was that in spite of cultural differences, full line supermarkets and hypermarkets would flourish.

Fast forward to 2019, and globally, traditional trade has been resilient. One of the reasons for this lies in the purchasing behavior of customers: hypermarkets store groceries and daily requirements. But finding them, buying them and transporting them is a hassle in comparison to picking up stuff from a local grocery store.

According to Nielsen’s 2018 National Grocery Shoppers Survey conducted in partnership with the National Grocers Association (NGA), about 21% of grocery dollars go to independent grocery stores. While that may be a small percentage of the overall grocery market, among people who classify themselves as independent shoppers, Nielsen found that loyal, independent grocery shoppers spend more than 40% more on groceries than the average shopper.

The New York Times in its article `The Freshest Ideas are in small grocery stores’ says, `Most North Americans still buy their food at the classic supermarket, with its wide aisles and seemingly limitless choices. But stores like Kroger, the nation’s largest chain with more than $105 billion in sales in 2017, are being cannibalized by a host of discount competitors like Dollar General and Aldi on one side, and by the growing dominance of Amazon and online delivery on the other’.

While the hypermarkets are not perceived as an ideal choice for dailies, there is also a growing demand for all things natural, healthy, and fresh. Food-shopping habits are mostly localized, and people prefer to prepare their meals and cook more.

Small retailers can use this change in buyer behavior to their advantage. To differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers, they need to think differently. Think differently not in terms of food or products but more in terms of understanding the way customers have changed and matching their expectations in terms of product options, turnaround time, and pricing. This would require retailers to revisit their existing applications and modernize them to match requirements. For example, how would a small supermarket promote his products during the holiday season? Could he use a mobile app for advertising to a target audience?

Similarly, there are several technology options available for retailers to maximize the growing surge in requirements:

Supply chain management – the supply chain is often seen in terms of large manufacturing chains. However, for retailers, a customized supply chain application will ensure that customers always get what they want, when they want and how they want it.

The supply chain also helps with maximizing the available space by stocking fast moving products and reducing stocks of slow moving products. Freed up space translates into new business opportunities for retailers.

Similar to the example of supply chain software, smart and highly customizable technology that captures SKUs and pricing at the POS is essential to success for retailers.

According to Deloitte, small retailers are holding back from digital adoption. However, the benefits of adoption are significant:

  • Earned two times as much revenue per employee
  • Experienced revenue growth over the previous year that was nearly four times as high
  • Were almost three times as likely to be creating jobs from a year earlier
  • Had an average employment growth rate that was more than six times as high

For ISVS, this is an opportunity as the reason for holding back is not as much about budget as about relevance. How will technology benefit us? How will it be useful for us? How about privacy and security?

Software Unification

Most retailers already have an application in place. Adding new features or integrating new functionalities is an area that needs to be explored. “Connecting software to work with other software is hard,” said Roy Mann, CEO, and co-founder for Monday.com. “There is going to be a breakthrough with integration platforms that will allow any software to connect well with any other software.”

Cyber-security

Many small businesses believe that they are immune to cyber attacks. However, research indicates that over 60 percent of attacks occur at small businesses. Viewing security from an enterprise perspective is essential for retailers going forward.

Personalized marketing

Along with shopping, customers look for personalized services which only smaller supermarkets can give. By using technology, for marketing, customized services can be taken to the next level. Chatbots, for example, will be able to guide buyers on their online purchases.

Artificial Intelligence and SMBs

“While artificial intelligence may sound like something that only enterprise companies use, in 2019 we’ll see it make big inroads into small businesses,” said Meredith Schmidt, executive vice president, and general manager of small business and essentials at Salesforce. “AI will help small businesses offer more personalized experiences to their customers by maximizing their time and automating manual tasks.”

To summarize, for ISVs, size should not matter, and the challenges they face in their businesses are similar. However, while larger retailers display a technology dependency, for small companies, it is still early days. The point to be noted is, the opportunities are there!

Digital Business Transformation: Where Are You on the Journey?

Digital leaders are companies that manage to harness the power of digital information and technologies to improve business performance. Having said this, the fact is digital business transformation (DBT) is happening on a scale and at a speed that managers find both threatening and promising. However, it is important for managers to be aware of digital technologies that have the power to enable and transform their businesses.

More people connect to the internet today through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets than via fixed devices like PCs. As a consequence, many companies are pursuing a mobile-first strategy, whereby application development is targeted first at mobile devices and then later modified for computers and other fixed devices.

Many  traditional  systems  and  processes  are proprietary, meaning that the underlying data and insights cannot easily be shared. Digital platforms are non-proprietary systems that can facilitate the sharing of data, applications and insights across different parts of an organization. For example, programmer improvements to the Linux operating system code and applications are freely available in digital libraries on the internet.

Social media applications like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allow for a two-way flow of information and communication between an organization and its key internal and external stakeholders. They can also be used as learning tools to monitor industry trends, customer sentiment and competitor moves.

Four-Step  Digital Transformation Journey

The first challenge  is  for  business  leaders to create a sharing culture in which people are encouraged to express and use their  internal and external knowledge for the company’s benefit.

The second challenge is to develop and promote a mindset of curiosity, fostering people’s appetite to better understand what they know and, more importantly, what they don’t know, and link this knowledge to decision-making and business benefits.

The third challenge is to cascade an information-oriented culture throughout the company, and beyond, to customers and partners, to co-create value and innovation through smarter use of digital tools and real-time  information.

The fourth challenge is to selectively prioritize emerging business areas that leverage digital tools and technologies, while still seeking to optimize areas that are challenged by these changes.

Where are you on the journey?

Many managers in companies with strong non- digital capabilities struggle  with the  challenges of “going digital.”

Trigent Software Inc, Boston MA – one of the trusted pioneers in the market over 23 years has helped numerous companies in the United States of America transform their assets transition to new digital areas. Are you ready to get transformed, too?

Technology Trends Shaping the Mortgage Industry in 2017

The mortgage industry threw its doors open to the latest technological and digital innovations a few years ago. This has resulted in a sea-change in the way in which the business as a whole has responded.

Technology is ubiquitous.With every passing year, we are witnessing many impressive innovations in mortgage services technology. Each one of these transformations serves to make the choices of customers that much easier.

The mortgage industry today is commanded by lead aggregators who are active online. Their job is to gather bits of borrower information, before passing individual borrowers to select lenders.

A few major trends that are shaping the technological shifts in the industry this year are:

Mortgage sans Paperwork

The moment one thinks of the word “Mortgage” the image that instantly springs to mind is that of paperwork! Yes, be it disclosures or closing, endless rounds of information and signatures have to be entered on reams of paper. But with the latest technological strides, banks are better positioned to understand the advantages of going paperless.

While tons of paper will be available for other uses, customer relationship management teams can build strong bonds with their clientele. Customers can examine their closing and disclosure package in the online format; and subsequently imprint their e-signature. In all of this, establishing robust cooperation online between internal and external stakeholders in the mortgage loan process will be the next big challenge to overcome.

Related: What you need to know about the trends driving in the tech industry

Thrust is on Mobility

Enterprises that do not design their operations for mobility cannot survive in today’s competitive environment. Mobiles and other handheld devices are in many ways the zenith of our current technological achievements. The reason is simple: globally, more and more people use mobiles to gather information about products and services, in comparison to traditional desktops.

This is precisely why one can find dozens of mortgage mobile apps now. The function of each of these apps is varied. While some assist users in tracking the latest mortgage rates, other apps take customers through the entire mortgage origination process. These are indeed welcome additions and scores of customers have derived the benefits by utilizing such apps.

With all the evidence on the ground, clearly, mobile is the way forward for the mortgage industry. It will streamline processes and enable customers to gain a comprehensive view of their requirements.

The onus is on lenders to stay focused in adopting the myriad technologies that have come to the fore today. Customers will be more than happy to manage their finance and accounting needs effectively with the aid of technology. There is no escaping the ultimate digitalization of the mortgage process.

Trigent Software has been a revolutionary in helping a lot of Mortgage companies in the US, digitizing their assets to a greater ROI.