The four most significant challenges of creating retail technology solutions


Creating and implementing retail technology solutions is very hard both for tech vendors and for retailers’ ICT teams.

The four most significant challenges are:

  • Challenge #1: no two retailers are alike

Retailers are apparently quite similar from the outside, but actually – when you dig in their processes, organizations and technologies – they haven’t so much in common, hence nobody can create “one-size-fits-all” solutions in retail – Warning: customizations/personalizations are time-consuming, expensive and very complex to implement and to manage – please do not underestimate them…

  • Challenge #2: budgets & ROIs

Today many retail markets are shrinking, accordingly many retailers’ budgets are shrinking too, so limiting the upfront technology investment is a must – Caution: the ROI (Return on Investment) of technology is better be significant and quick.

Suggestion: considering that any successful retail solution basically drives and captures value by either improving sales or reducing operative costs, you can be sure that retailers are far more sensitive to “more money coming in” than “less money coming out”…

  • Challenge #3: reliable vendors, reliable technologies, reliable solutions


– want to be sure that their tech vendors will still be in business in ten/twenty years, delivering on their promises – Warning: no startups please…

– are not early adopters of technologies; on the contrary, they are very conservative, that’s why they always select technologies that have longevity

– need “high available” solutions since in-store everything is mission-critical, so Quality and Support are very important; Quality means that any solution is always 100% operative and performing, Support means that somebody will take care of any problem (should something bad happens) possibly within 5 minutes, anywhere in the world – Warning: again, no startups please…

  • Challenge #4: integration

Any new tech solution needs to adapt to the existing IT infrastructure, and CTOs in retail have already invested – according to them – in too many technologies, that’s why they prefer to steer clear of a new one since they’d rather not:

 – buy and manage additional licenses

–  re-train their people

– add complexity to their IT systems and infrastructure

Suggestion: it is crucial for retail technology solutions to support as many customers’ existing technologies as possible

Andy Cavallini




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