In the past two years, millions of people around the world have changed their shopping patterns. They’re looking harder for bargains, developing new hobbies and tastes, exploring unfamiliar retailers as old brand loyalties weaken or supply chain problems bite, purchasing more online, and adopting a practice called BOPIS – Buy Online, Pickup in Store. All these factors are adding to the so-called “retail apocalypse” that for nearly a decade has made profitability harder for the entire industry. According to McKinsey, 17 percent of consumers are shifting away from their primary store and more customers are trying BOPIS – with an estimated 28 percent year-on-year growth while approximately 56% will continue to use this channel even after the pandemic.
In response, retailers are realizing they need to improve the shopping experience if they want to lure customers back to their stores – from very basic measures such as ensuring that Point-of-Sale (POS) devices such as cash registers and self-check scanners don’t break down to Smart Retail – a concept that combines traditional shopping methods with “smart” technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cloud and more.
According to Digi 2018 study, 81 percent of the retailers deal with downtime at least once a year. Even those retailers who have 99 percent of uptime, still experience 80+ hours of unplanned downtime every year. To add, due to network outages, 72 percent of the retailers surveyed indicated that they lost sales while 61 percent were not able to process credit cards. Retail businesses heavily rely on the customer experience they deliver, and IT operations play a strategic role in this. The modern-day retailer needs to predict outages in advance and act proactively before any incident occurs.
The retail business leaders need actionable insights from the entire IT infrastructure to ensure optimum uptime and performance of the applications such as e-commerce websites, point of sale, order management systems, and more. The hardware assets can include workstations, POS devices, servers, switches, and printers that run on software that often can’t communicate with each other. End-to-end monitoring of customer-facing applications and the associated infrastructure help retailers to rapidly resolve performance problems.
Traditional infrastructure monitoring that simply monitors databases, servers, network, and other infrastructure components is just not enough. Also, hiring more resources often doesn’t mean better monitoring, due to communication gaps and human errors. A decision maker needs to understand and link different server/database/network components with respective retail outlets, deep down to their specific business functions, such as warehouse, e-commerce website, transactions, and more.
What modern retailers today need is Business Health Monitoring that links infrastructure components with critical business KPIs (warehouse, order management system, logistics) and ensure that these components are working perfectly when they’re needed the most.
How can Business Health Monitoring help Retailers?
Smart Retail businesses powered by Business Health Monitoring can ensure the best customer experience and maximize profits in the following ways:
Seamlessly functioning POS devices
Retail businesses deploy internet-enabled point-of-sale devices at various locations. It is up to the operations teams to ensure that the software these devices operate on and the network they are connected to is working as desired. Business Health Monitoring looks after geographically dispersed IoT-enabled POS devices by analyzing the data from the device hardware along with performance data from their installed software. This enables a single-pane-of-glass visibility into various customer touchpoints.
- 24×7 available e-commerce website
The ability to deliver during seasonal events such as “Black Friday” defines the brand image of a retailer. Any mishaps on these days can cause serious damage to profit as well. Business Health Monitoring helps eliminate blind spots with comprehensive visibility into the e-commerce website components and services. It helps the engineers in capacity planning and load testing utilizing machine learning algorithm to forecast IT infrastructure demand on peak days.
- Business transactions monitoring
It is frustrating for a retailer if a customer is not able to make a transaction even though willing to pay. It hurts even more when they are not able to find where or why a transaction is stuck. Business Health Monitoring learns about the flow of the transactions and then able to pinpoint where and why transaction are stuck.
- Business functions monitoring
Several back-office business functions are critical for a retailer, including purchasing, inventory control, and logistics. The IT infrastructure and the application supporting these functions must be in top-notch condition all the time. Business Health Monitoring helps retailers to prioritize business functions of utmost importance and ensure that any anomalies hampering their function is resolved autonomously using previous knowledge and experience (acquired via machine learning).
- Offer great in-store experience and high product quality
Business Health Monitoring can also keep a check on the data generated by temperature and environmental sensors. These can play a crucial role in the customers’ shopping experience, especially when stores are operating with less workforce who would manually keep a check on sensors in each corner of the store. Not to mention, the temperature can be critical for the server rooms. To add, in the case of grocers and other food retailers, temperature monitoring can watch over refrigerators and ensure food is kept within its optimal temperature range to maintain quality.
Business Health Monitoring to drive the future of Smart Retail
To help address these needs, Digitate has launched Business Health Monitoring for Retail as a part of the Dragon Release. It is a proactive business performance monitoring solution to check the health of retail
stores and e-commerce sites that automatically diagnose and resolve unhealthy components. It uses AI-driven diagnosis techniques to ensure smooth retail operations and high-quality customer experience. The solution offers multi-channel notifications (through email, collaboration, and mobile applications) and health dashboards (default and configurable) for business and operations teams.
Business Health Monitoring for Retail monitors and detects anomalies in the business transaction data flowing through multiple applications, middleware, and platforms. It helps provide root cause analysis for anomalies and offers transaction data trends and analysis.
The post-pandemic era will continue to pose new challenges and opportunities to the retailer. However, their struggle to deliver a superior customer experience will remain constant. With Smart Retail, businesses can convert many of the challenges of the post-pandemic era into opportunities. Business health monitoring can help in this approach by improving decision-making and business operations with data analysis.
To learn more, visit this page.