By David Dorf-Oracle on Aug 28, 2014
In general, your average shoppers just don't think about the complexities of retailing. They see, they like, they buy. But behind the scenes is a complex orchestration of retail processes, and it would surprise most just how many software applications are involved. I've seen many ways to depict the retail software landscape but decided to see if things fit in a periodic table. The result is below (click for larger image):
On the far left are the back-end processing systems where items are sourced and shipped through the supply chain. They are all about fast and accurate execution. On the far right are the selling systems that interact with shoppers. They are also focused on execution but in a way that is branded and differentiated. Those two groups of applications are common for any retailer of size. Where things get interesting is in the middle.
Its the analytics that inform the merchandising and selling systems. Those applications help understand what customers want, what they're willing to pay, and how to keep them coming back. The planning & optimization applications leverage the knowledge from the analytics to predict and plan the future. This is where differentiation is born and eventually manifests on the selling side as customer experience.
Its truly the combination of great execution and science-driven decisions that power the most successful retailers.