An Evolving Dimension to Your Store Architecture

From the Principal’s Office

We have been garnering some ‘mobility’ expertise in the way of ‘tablet-like’ devices which we wanted to briefly share with you. Robert Lawson has managed two projects involving the tablet concept in the retail store and he wrote about it. Enjoy the article! We’ll see you at the NRF Annual Conference.

Bob Amster – Principal, RTG


From the time retail automation started, store technology hardware, software and infrastructure have been the domain of the retailer. With the advent of new selling channels this has been changing. E-Commerce brought point of purchase (POP) directly to the consumer’s personal computer. M-Commerce brought the POP to the consumer’s smart phone. POP is just one of the first consumer-facing applications changing the way that we provide services to the retail consumer. Just when we thought that multi/cross-channel application architectures are the next generation of solutions strategic to retailing, new form factors are changing the way we can improve service for consumers shopping in our stores.

Beauty meets the Beast

Apple’s iPad (Beauty) is starting a trend of fashionable, consumer facing, retail store technology. The device is far from being a technology for commercial use at the moment and not one that one would normally consider for a retail store solution (the Beast); however, one has to step back and look at it from a new perspective. The device represents one of the most desirable and fastest growing form factors (slate computers) for computer devices next to the smart phone. If one is in the market for a consumer-facing automation device in your stores, why not use the device that consumers desire to use.

In 2010, I have managed two projects using slate computers for consumer-facing in-store applications. The first project used slate computers as a strategic consumer-facing application for concept Wedding store. All portable computer form factors were evaluated and the slate form factor was overwhelming chosen. Apple’s iPad was released just as we started the slate evaluation. It was immediately chosen as the slate of choice; however, an extensive assessment of the device led to its dismissal due to functional constraints in the area of device security and browser capabilities. The next project used the Apple iPad in an innovative consumer-facing application providing automated workflow for customer-generated work orders. A complete solution architecture and custom application were designed creating an entertaining means for consumers to shop and customize their purchases.

In the process of managing these two projects from concept to implementation, it became apparent that completely new architectures are evolving. You can throw retail hardening, standards and best practices out the door when Beauty walks into the new store configuration. Despite Beauty’s lack of retail attributes, it provides the consumer with a highly desired form factor and experience for consumer-facing applications. Yes there are issues; however, the pain of making it all work together has been worth it. I believe we are going to see much more in the way of consumer facing applications. As we put together the next generation of multi/cross-channel solutions, new technology form factors and consumer-facing applications are going to add another dimension to the evolution of the retailer’s solution architecture supporting tomorrow’s consumer. Both of these projects reflect the growing demand for direct-to-consumer automation vs. the traditional retail associate automation. This represents a paradigm shift in the way that we will design retail automation solutions in the future. The “Enterprise Architecture” is expanding to become the “Enterprise/Consumer Architecture.”

Whats New With Us

We have been engaged again by this franchisor of the hottest new jewelry to manage the implementation of KWI Systems as the standard platform form all franchisee operations.

Things Remembered
We successfully completed the initial phase of a pilot implementation of an emerging technology applied in-store.  More to come.

Charming Charlie
We continue to work with this hot retailer of custom jewelry, accessories and apparel, to manage the project to implement a number of modules of the Kronos software.  Pilots will launch in January of 2011.

Ashley Stewart
We have been engaged by the New Jersey-based retailer of plus-sized ladies apparel to conduct an assessment of its information systems and technology function.  The company was recently acquired out of bankruptcy by GB Merchant Parnters.

You May Have a Need – and would like to discuss it with us.  Please contact us at the number below.  We’ll tell you realistically, the extent to which we can help you.