How e-commerce sparked a POS evolution

Sunday, 4th May 2014

"From same-day fulfillment to sites that are optimized for mobile shopping, the influence of e-commerce and m-commerce is undeniable. But what many consumers don’t see is how different point-of-sale systems in the store, on desktops and on mobile devices act on the back-end. This innovation of retail technology has changed the industry for the better – but often at the cost of displaying an inconsistent customer experience across these channels."

Interview with NRF Vice President of Retail Technology Tom Litchford where he explains how this challenge relates to the recent Digitizing the Store study, which sought to quantify the convergence of point of sale and e-commerce technology and the impact this is having in stores.

"How has e-commerce sparked an evolution of the modern POS system? Great question. Historically the term POS has been applied to the physical point-of-sale solution in stores. But this research was looking at how systems were evolving that actually transacted with customers – in other words, accepted payment for goods or services. Before the Internet and subsequent e-commerce systems, store-based POS was the primary, if not only, transacting system. With the rise of e-commerce, and now m-commerce, retailers and their customers have multiple “channels” now where they can conduct business. Unfortunately, from a technology perspective, these channels have evolved in isolation from each other. This is making it difficult for the business to present a seamless experience to the customer."

"Many retailers and industry solution providers have recognized that this “isolated evolution” is a problem. According to our survey, nearly 40 percent of retailers are considering a single consumer platform to manage interactions and transactions. This means retail IT teams are thinking about how to update existing infrastructure, architecture and applications – most notably within brick-and-mortar locations – to keep pace with the constantly changing face of the industry."

"The easy answer would be to not just automatically upgrade or replace your existing POS or e-commerce solution at the next refresh cycle. Before you do that, make sure from a technology perspective that you have a roadmap that takes into account all potential customer touchpoints and channel preferences. But the discussion isn’t as much a technology discussion as it is a business process discussion. For example, beyond compensation issues, there’s logistics for fulfillment and replenishment. So as business leaders, make sure you’re engaging all stakeholders to gain consensus on the path forward."

More info here.

Blogger E-commerce and m-commerce: The next five years

Saturday, 3rd May 2014

According to this, during the next five years, mobile commerce will become even more influential than it is today. Desktop PC use will continue to drop while PC makers try making PCs and laptops function more like touchscreen mobile devices, consumers will start to buy wearable computers (including smartwatches and smartglasses), and consumers also will begin buying new web-connected devices for the home and car that combined are known as the "Internet of Things."

"As a result, retailers will need to shift their focus from the type of device a consumer uses (mobile or stationary) to a consumer's location and context, Internet retailing experts predict. And because context will be key at a time when mobile devices come to dominate the way consumers interact with the web, knowing the best ways to serve customers on smartphones and tablets will remain a strategic priority for retailers, experts say. 55% of time spent with online retail today occurs on smartphones and tablets—imagine what that figure will be in five years."

"In five years, e-commerce on desktops and laptops will still exist, and m-commerce on smartphones and tablets will still exist, but to consumers, online shopping will mean researching and buying wherever they may be on whatever device is best suited to the moment or whatever device is simply handy, says Jeff Schueler, president of Usability Sciences Corp., an e-commerce and m-commerce research and consulting firm."

"In 2018, mobile commerce sales on smartphones and tablets will account for 27% of total web sales in the U.S., according to research firm eMarketer Inc., and 47% of total web sales worldwide, according to investment bank The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The percentage globally is higher because the percentage of consumers who primarily use smartphones to access the web is much higher in developing countries with huge populations compared with the U.S."

"It should be noted that shopping on mobile devices occurs not just on the go but in the home. Some retailers like to call this "mobile in the home," meaning a customer can shop from literally any location within their homes thanks to their untethered mobile devices and home Wi-Fi networks. 80% of tablet shoppers and 67% of smartphone shoppers use their devices to shop in the home, according to new research from Nielsen. So mobile is still mobile, but context on the very same device can change wildly."

"Mobile devices—defined as smartphones and tablets, by far the most common definition used by retailers—will continue to be mobile anywhere and everywhere, experts say. Consumers who own smartphones are virtually never without their smartphones, no matter the time or location. And 68% of consumers who own both a desktop and a tablet take their tablets with them when they leave home at least 25% of the time; 14% take their tablets 75-99% of the time, according to research from marketing firm Adroit Digital."

The Evolution of e-Commerce Logistics

Saturday, 3rd May 2014

"In developed economies, e-commerce logistics represents the latest big driver of change in logistics and physical distribution networks, which have evolved substantially over the past 40 years or so. Currently, it remains the case that as e-commerce continues to grow, most shippers, particularly multi-channel shippers, are still only just beginning to work out what this will entail for their distribution network infrastructures."

"From a distribution property perspective, this evolution has passed through various general phases and very broadly in the timeline as follows:

  • In the 1970s, most retail stores were replenished by direct deliveries from suppliers or wholesalers.
  • In the 1980s, retailers started to centralize their store deliveries through new distribution centers which they controlled.
  • In the 1990s, global sourcing (for non-food products) took off, with many retailers developing import centers to receive and process mostly containerized imports.
  • From around 2000, e-commerce began to rapidly expand with pure-play (internet only) retailers leading the way in establishing e-fulfillment distribution networks"


"In the former, where purchased items are typically distributed via a postal, parcel or freight network, e-commerce logistics models have led to a wave of new demand for four distinct types of logistics functions:

  1. Mega e-fulfillment centers where the merchandise is stocked and picked at item level. These facilities, which are either operated by the retailer or a logistics service provider, are typically 500,000 sq ft to one million sq ft in size, or even larger. They often operate 24/7.
  2. Parcel hubs/sortation centers which sort orders by zip or post code so that they can be delivered to the relevant parcel delivery center for final delivery to the customer’s home or designated collection point.
  3. Parcel delivery centers which handle the ‘last mile’ delivery to the customer
  4. Seamlessly integrated technology where shopping carts connect via API, web xml or some other connection to a transportation management system so shoppers are getting the exact price quote of shipping of larger items more suited for less than truckload modes, as these technology products for logistics, such as a TMS, must accomplish along with the shopping cart for better management:
    1. Ability to organize and track shipment no matter what mode
    2. Online order status and documentation
    3. Online dispatch documentation and invoice, such as a bill of lading and freight invoice
    4. Auto reminder for payments
    5. Seamless interface with existing SCM or ERP system
    6. Online alerts for critical information via text or mobile
    7. Information systems reports on past data analysis, delivery history, etc."

More info here.

Millennials, Mobile and Multichannel - Infographic

Saturday, 3rd May 2014


People's Bank of China to introduce new regulation against Bitcoin

Friday, 2nd May 2014

According to this, The People’s Bank of China has released a new regulation against Bitcoin transaction services, after a meeting with representatives from commercial banks and third-party payment service providers.

"The bank released a statement in March 2014 that revealed its position against providing Bitcoin transactions, namely that banks and third-party payment companies cannot provide services for Bitcoin transactions, demanding that existing accounts for such transactions be cleared by 15th of April 2014. Still, Bitcoin platforms continued to function as usual, with almost 20 organizations enabling services in digital currencies."

"Currently, providers such as Alipay embraced the new regulation and stated that it will not provide value-added services and cash withdrawal services for virtual currencies such as Bitcoin."

"After introducing the new regulation, Bitcoin trading platforms such as BTC China, OKCoin and Huobi will mainly offer two ways for adding value denominated in the CNY: one through bank transfers and the other through the sale of value-added codes on ecommerce stores."

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