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Changes in Retail

EPOS systems are seeing longer life cycles due to advances in technology, design and manufacturing. Thanks in part to the recession, many retailers have been forced to make their EPOS system last an additional number of years. Since 2008, many retailers have battened down the hatches and concentrated on making it through one of the worst recessions on record. In our 25 years in business, we noticed a considerable drop in capital refreshes of Retail Solutions which include EPOS, financials, or ERP from 2008 – 2016.

But things are changing. Those who have weathered the storm are now looking to transition to a more modern EPOS system. At the Big Show in New York last January and again at RBTE in London in March year, we are seeing the green shoots of reinvestment from some of the bigger retailers, but caution was the underlying message. Many of the retailers who attended these shows were at the beginning of their research and looking to find out exactly where we are at in terms of technological advancement.

Technology Changes

So what has changed during and since the recession? Looking to the consumer technology space, it’s clear that technology is moving at a blistering pace, with security, connectivity and integrated apps a growing concern. It might feel like there are apps for everything in the consumer space, but in Retail technology, what is the new, shiny app? Yes, RFID has the potential to revolutionise the supply chain and data points, but it is not mainstream yet. So what can mainstream retailers look forward to?

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Surviving the storm

As in all storms, there were many casualties both ships and ship builders. There are fewer ‘shipbuilders’ or EPOS names for retailers to call upon, with top names such as Torex and Micros being consumed by Oracle and tens of active retail solutions being sunsetted. Microsoft entered the lower end of the market with their RMS product and aggressively pursued the higher end of the market with the introduction of AX for Retail. SAP introduced CAR and HANA in the Tier One space and SAP Business One become a real contender for retail, with many retail focused features and integrations now available.

Not all suppliers were acquired and unfortunately, there were plenty of smaller suppliers who did not make it. When the recession hit, retailers were forced to squeeze their suppliers and most likely, the lack of fresh installs sounded the death knell for many smaller retail software houses who served the market for years.

There were also new additions to the retail technology supplier space in that time. Some Freemium apps made it into smaller retailers who had uncomplicated needs, such as small coffee shops. Some non retail IT companies wandered into the space, hoping to make a fast buck. In both instances, most of the experiences were painful and costly for both the customer and the supplier. On the back of some failed attempts into the retail space, we have noticed suppliers returning to their core competency marketing and leaving the extremely complex retail sector to the few specialists that are left.

TRC Solutions have been specialising in retail since 1991. Since then, we’ve weathered two recessions, Y2K (remember that the world was going to end?) and the introduction of the Euro in some of the Eurozone countries. In the States, we’ve seen two Bushes, Two Obamas and now a Trump. During this time, we have provided hundreds of retail enterprises with the right set of tools from the best in breed global organisations including SAP, Microsoft, Micros and Torex.

We and most of our customers have weathered the storm and moved with the times, learning from the experience and being one of the few enterprises with a 25-year long track record as a retail specialist.

If you want a serious intelligent conversation about your Retail Solutions and want to discover “what’s changed?”, we’d love to have a conversation.

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