An organization's technology strategy is intricately crafted. Any new product no matter how useful it looks, if not mapped with the current architecture correctly can wreck the system. As a catalyst and facilitator of the organization's technical growth and stability, the retailer needs to find products that suit the need of the hour keeping in mind a lot of considerations.
First and foremost he needs to identify and understand the requirements of the organization for a product. Let's just say that a retailer needs a new POS system. So after they have identified the product need, they need to zoom in on the functionalities like what kind of POS, mobile or otherwise, what other features should it have, what kind of display, should it be Omnichannel and IP friendly? etc.
Every organization has a budget for every segment, including technology. So the Retailer needs to keep in mind how much he wants to invest in a product and the ROI. He will need to work his way around to find a product that takes care of all that's needed at the same time within the budget.
Is a suitable product available in the market that meets the retailer's requirements? If not exactly then at least a 80% fitment. If the exact fit is not available, then which is the product that can be customized to meet 100% functionalities? Finding answers to these questions will lead to a solution that matched the requirements best.
Finding a product that will fit seamlessly into the current architecture and people can use easily is a tough challenge for the retailers to meet. The considerations made on the retailers' part includes:
While looking for a suitable product the implementation part needs to be kept in mind. Products that take lesser time to implement are preferred over others as they save time and costs.
Does the vendor provide support and maintenance? Are there other vendors in the market that provide support for this product? What is the support structure offered by the vendor and at what cost? Is there a local presence of the vendor to support? What are the issues that the product currently has? What is the feedback of the product from other retailers, reading reports about the product and market enquiry will help make an informed decision. Also, availability of on-going support is also an added advantage while selecting a product.
When a new product starts working, many errors may occur during the first phase. To sort these out the buyer needs ample customer support from the provider. Some products come with support for a period. The longer the support period the more profitable it is for the organization. The provider's reputation for good customer support is also a consideration while choosing the product.
Retailers need to keep updated about the newest and most advanced versions of products they are looking into. Retailers need the understanding of the enhancements of the newest version and how it will blend into the current architecture of the business and help it grow. How does it fit into his vision of omnichannel growth? Does the new features support his digital initiatives and future plans?
Let's take the case of a fashion retailer. They need a new inventory management solution that caters to their Omnichannel needs. Now there are ample Omnichannel inventory management products for retailers available in the market. So how do they select one? The answer is by feature mapping.
It begins with partnering with a service provider who will do the feature mapping for the organization. Once they are hired they start with assessing the current business landscape of the client to get a better understanding of the business, architecture, customers, market scenario and client expectations.
First they look for architecture gaps and assess them. Maybe the retailer's existing inventory management solution only tracks the warehouse and not the online and in store inventories. Then there is the gap that needs to be addressed. They need to find a product that helps the retailer track inventories across channels.
Then they start looking for a product. Now there are numerous different types of inventory management products available in the market. Segment based filtration would help in finding the product that fits the Omnichannel requirements of the fashion retail client. Once narrowed down the product, the feature mapping starts to find the closest match for the business requirement. It can be compared with trying on jeans until you find the perfect fit.
With correctly mapped features the business will improve in the direction they were lacking. Better functionalities will ensure better customer service and in turn better revenue growth. Selecting a correct partner for feature mapping will ensure you are not misdirected and find the perfect piece that solves your business requirement puzzle.