How can cloud commerce accelerate international expansion?

How can cloud commerce accelerate international expansion?

It’s almost impossible to pick up an industry magazine or access a website today without seeing news of another retailer growing their business into new territories.

The saturation of mature regions and new opportunities in emerging areas is pushing the boundaries of retail wider than ever before – but not without complications.Banner-expansion1012x1012

From differing languages and currencies, to local legislation and cultural variations, international expansion is far from a case of ‘lifting and shifting’ existing models into new markets.

The same can be said for store technologies. For example, a recent report by Boston Retail Partners predicts the number of retailers using mobile POS systems will grow by 300% over the next two years, as the move towards consumer-centric encounters continues apace.

However, managing such solutions across store estates that span broad geographies can be a challenge; the greater number of mobile POS devices being used, the more complex back-end functionality becomes.

One way to innovate around these challenges is to invest in a cloud commerce solution. By moving IT infrastructure away from the premises and controlling deployment and management of back office systems remotely, retailers instantly grant themselves greater flexibility and capacity for innovation.

More than that, the ability to make upgrades or implement new functionality direct from the cloud enables companies to improve their customer offering instantly, without someone on-site, disrupting the order of business.

This level of agility is important in existing markets, but plays an even greater role when considering the expansion of retail businesses. Centrally controlling IT through a cloud commerce solution enables back-end information to be connected as soon as a mobile device is up and running – much quicker than building on-site support for every new store opening.

Storing data in the cloud also means that retailers can integrate back office information with a number of different devices, tailoring customer-facing solutions for the individual needs of each market. This is important if shoppers in different countries may not be familiar with the same devices; retailers can introduce hardware that is well known in each market, without compromising consistency of information and functionality across the company.

It’s not just shoppers who respond to different technologies, either. Running mobile POS connected to the cloud puts front line personnel – store managers – in touch with immediate information about their customers. In a new environment especially, being able to analyse consumer trends enables store associates to make decisions about what is and isn’t working, to drive profit and increase the chance of success in an unknown territory.

While cloud commerce can’t solve every hurdle that must be crossed when expanding internationally, it does give retailers a flexible, straightforward platform for building tailored customer experiences. So not only can they begin trading quickly and simply, but they can customise encounters for individual market preferences.

Six ways clienteling can win customers’ hearts (and wallets)

Six ways clienteling can win customers’ hearts

Retailers today are often faced with a dilemma: let shoppers use their own internet-connected devices in-store, and risk losing control of the journey to purchase. Give them self-service kiosks, however, and hardware can end up broken or misused.

One effective solution for bringing technology into the store is implementing clienteling solutions. Clienteling is sometimes considered a term to describe retailers using mobile POS to make orders on behalf of a customer, but its capabilities extend far beyond that.

In fact, clienteling has the potential to transform shopper/store associate relationships. How? By using mobile technology to create more impressive – and ultimately profitable – customer experiences.

Here are 6 ways in which clienteling can raise in-store expectations, to deliver more satisfying consumer encounters:

  • Extend availability beyond the shelf edge6 ways to Succeed in Retail
    One of shoppers’ greatest frustrations is knowing what they want, but not being able to see it at the shelf edge.
    Integrating inventory systems via mobile POS enables store personnel to outline not only what’s available on the shop floor, but in the stock room and even in neighbouring stores. If the item isn’t available immediately, then delivery to the store or the customer’s home can be quickly and easily arranged.
  • Answer even the trickiest questions
    With 81% of consumers researching online before entering a store, today’s bricks-and-mortar shoppers are incredibly clued-up when they arrive at the aisles. However, often they have specific questions upon seeing the product – and expect store associates to address those queries.
    Rather than relying on personally acquired knowledge, mobile POS empowers staff by linking to detailed product information, to answer even the trickiest enquiries.
  • Take service to the customer
    If there are two things consumers hate, it’s queuing and inconvenience – which tend to stem from fixed point of sale systems. The flexibility of mobile POS enables retailers to build service around the customer, both in terms of giving them what they want, and holding encounters wherever they are in the store.
  • Personalise encounters and offers
    Unlike online, where retailers have a detailed history of consumer activity, shoppers are effectively anonymous when they walk through the store entrance. Entering their details into a mobile POS system will bring up that history, allowing personnel to tailor offers based on their previous purchases or value to the business.
    It has the added benefit of enabling retailers to track activity in the store as well, to build up a complete omni-channel picture of customer activity.
  • Make customer wishes come true
    It’s not just the current sale that clienteling can enhance. Engaging with customers through mobile technology enables retail personnel to help shoppers build up wish lists for future visits. This can be particularly useful in sectors such as fashion and beauty, where consumers try several products at once but may only have the budget to purchase one there and then.
    Clienteling also gives retailers the capability to gift list these items, for others to purchase even when the original customer is absent. Wedding gift lists are a great example – the happy couple can compile their preferences, which the retailer can manage independently when guests redeem goods in-store or online.
  • Increase basket size in a targeted manner
    Upselling can be an effective and welcome customer service tool, provided it’s relevant to what customers are buying. With a mobile POS system integrated into the operational network, retailers can recommend products from the wider catalogue based on the items shoppers are browsing in store.
    By tailoring services to individual tastes, store associates are not just more likely to increase customer basket sizes during that encounter; they are creating a seamless encounter that will encourage that shopper to return again and again.

Mobilize the store on Cloud

Now that the retail industry is safely past the 2015 predictions and hype, let’s see what enterprise retailers and SMBs are investing to better sales and customer service. Enabling more payment options and integrating EMV before the deadline is the top priority among retailers. The Cloud has never been so sought-after, and the number of retailers migrating to it is only going to rise.

Then, integrated loyalty is one aspect that retailers are seriously investing in. Mobile POS, integrated retailing and better loyalty benefits are points that a retailer can benefit the customer with, and mine valuable customer data alongside.
The thrust is also on to bring technology to the floor for empowerment of Shop-Floor Employee. Along with back-office improvements and Cloud integration, the Mobile POS enabled employee is expected to work as queue-busters, better upsells and an overall enhanced retail experience. In short, 2015 will see the employee becoming the real face of the retail chain.

Mobilize the store on Cloud_Infographics

The multichannel movement’s arriving fast: is your business ready?


If this month’s Apple Watch launch underlined anything about today’s consumers it’s that they love technology.

Wherever you look, people are blending their online and offline experiences using connected devices – and this is changing the game for the retail sector.

The multichannel movement has created new challenges and opportunities for retailers wanting to capture customer value at every touch point, particularly online.

Over the past 12 months, the enormous increase in mobile retail has led to eCommerce’s importance soaring. Already Multichannelwe’re seeing promotional events such as Black Friday become a global retail phenomenon. In fact, according to a recent report by Dunnhumby, 20% of total growth in established markets will come from online shopping in the next 5 years.

However, it’s important to remember that online shopping is only half the story. There are very few consumers who shop exclusively through the internet. Whether the final sale is attributed to eCommerce or the store, it is likely that the buyer has interacted with the retailer across both channels, using multiple devices, on their journey to purchase.

What does this multichannel movement mean for retailers?

Most importantly, the rise of multichannel has created a compulsion to offer consumers a seamless journey however they shop. Desktop, mobile and store shopping can no longer be treated as separate entities; they are part of the same customer journey, and therefore a common brand identity and product availability must exist throughout.

For retailer eCommerce platforms in particular, this means optimising websites for use on all devices. The importance of responsive content will increase further next month when Google updates its search engine criteria to prioritise mobile optimised websites – highlighting that consumers must be able to find and view content easily, and purchase quickly, even on small screen.

It also means that the digital journey must be firmly integrated with offline activities. One of the greatest challenges for today’s retailers is integrating bricks and mortar into the multichannel experience.

More often than not, shoppers enter a store with some level of knowledge from online research. This last point in the journey involves seeing and trying the item at the shelf edge, and asking final, detailed questions that perhaps can’t be addressed online.

Equipping customer service personnel with Mobile POS technology linked to back-end systems provides access to this depth of knowledge. It also enables staff to pull up recent orders or abandoned purchases, to continue shoppers’ online journeys in the store.

How can retailers best serve multichannel shoppers?

There’s no doubting that multichannel shopping is a complicated world, with many technology solutions available to address these complexities. The key for retailers is to implement systems that enable them to flexibly serve and customise experiences for shoppers in all channels.

Good news is on the horizon for those that achieve this agility – as the Dunnhumby report notes, multichannel customers are worth 30-67% more on average than those who shop in a single channel. It seems the multichannel movement is packed with shoppers who are hard to negotiate to the checkout, but who reward great experiences richly once they get there.

Integrated Retail – The Multichannel Way

Integrated Retail-The Multichannel way

Acquire. Retain. Engage. These are the three words that any retailer knows as the Holy Grail. A seamless, multichannel approach that acts upon these three tenets is what any retailer needs to consolidate his customer base. And that calls for a cloud-based retail system that works as a suite of integrated applications, rather than a patchwork quilt of disparate solutions.

A retailer in today’s world is beset with technologies aiding the customer in making smarter buying decisions, and advancements in retailing in reaching out to the customer. Engaging these diverse elements to bring value to the customer, creating a value-based image in his mind and keeping it all profitable… that is the perfect median that a retailer should be aiming to achieve.

What a new-age retailer needs is an end-to-end, multi-channel retail management suite of solutions that incorporates all processes from POS to Store Back Office to Head Office operations. The need for agility asks for the new-age retail management software suites where on-premise systems co-exist with the virtual world of Cloud, which can either be Private or Public Cloud systems. Retailers also prefer versatility in the fact that their retail operations be a ‘hybrid’ of on-premise and Cloud technology.

Integrated retail management applications contribute a lot in increasing process efficiencies. Integrated applications help6 ways to Succeed in Retail business owners to get a good idea of what’s going on by offering a bird’s eye view of daily and long-term operations. And it is because of these integrated applications that retailers today are able to effectively manage their different channels of sales. The applications today are sophisticated and advanced to seamlessly integrate eCommerce, brick & mortar and other sales channels into one holistic application set, which in the context of retail, is called Multi Channel Retail.

A true multichannel ready Cloud solution would address all retail touch-points such as front-end POS operations, inventory, merchandise hierarchy, customer loyalty, data and analytics, eCommerce/ mCommerce, and reports, in one suite of applications. This is essential in ensuring the smooth, daily function of any retailer, whether it is Enterprise-Class or an SME.

With Enterprise Mobility becoming a buzz-word, a retailer can use a Cloud-based retail solution on tablets and phones to bring the POS to the customer, flipping the traditional model. With wireless connection to the Cloud Enterprise Server, a store employee can assist a customer from selection to the billing process. What’s more, a loyalty integration will also enable the employee to either credit the transaction to the customer’s loyalty account, or redeem the ‘points’ in favor of the current transaction.

Using an integrated retail system, which converges data of all multichannel retail touch points and is able to do so in multiple languages with multi-currency facets, is vastly important for the success of any retailer.

With a Cloud-based Retail Suite, centrally-controlled automatic over-the-air updates become the word in retail operations. One click from the head-office should be all that it takes every store to update its software to the latest version. The result: No manning required for running software updates!

Facilitating smooth operations of a Retail chain is an important concern of a multichannel retail company, which is ensured by an integrated retail management solution. Each branch (if spread over nations and boundaries) must consist of its own locally-based currency and language system, in order to best service the department, and customers. Reports can then be sent back to the head office, detailing information regarding sales and other allied functions. Therefore, a retail solution today must also have multi-lingual, multi-currency functionalities that empower a retail taskforce to instantly set up a retail store at any location, and not worry about IT hassles.

Available on terminal and mobile devices, iVend Cloud-based retail management suite’s multi-store, multi-user, e-commerce, loyalty-ready abilities empower retailers to engage with consumers on an entirely new level. With iVend Retail on Cloud, enterprise retailers can look beyond disparate software solutions and achieve profitability.

For a retailer, it is easy as anything to run promotions with a multi-channel ready cloud-based retail management suite. The management team can just run it from the Head Office server, and it will automatically ‘stream’ down to each store and POS, as well as the online version, too. Engaging customers was never so seamless.

With reduced dependency on infrastructure and more stress on performance and functionality, iVend Retail on Cloud empowers the Enterprise Retailer like never imagined. Thousands of stores in over 45 countries are running iVend Retail from CitiXsys Technologies, realizing their true efficiency and profitability.

These are but a few of the changes that a retailer will experience on first-hand basis with CitiXsys’ live demos of iVend Retail on Cloud. Meet our Team at RBTE-2015 at Stand-534 to see How iVend powers retail businesses.

CitiXsys Partner ICS Sharpens iVend Product Skills with Training


CitiXsys conducted a five-day, intensive training session on improving CitiXsys iVend Retail product knowledge for approximately 13 staff members of Integrated Computer Systems, Inc. (ICS). ICS is one of the Philippines’ leading IT solutions providers, with over 35 years of experience in providing technological expertise including nationwide sales and services.

ICS was founded in 1978 as the country distributor of Radio Shack. Over the last 35 years, the company has experienced significant growth, added several verticals to its product offering and garnered numerous awards attesting to its success and dedication to its clients. For example, ICS received the Dell Most Valuable Enterprise Partner Award in 2013, and was the Cisco Select Partner of the Year (also 2013).

The objective of the advanced classroom training program was to help the candidates gain in-depth knowledge about Training iVend Retail solutions, including Terminal POS, Mobile POS, Loyalty and Passes. The training was conducted at the ICS Philippines headquarters by David Webb, who is the Director of Partner Enablement and Client Connect at CitiXsys Technologies.

During the training program, the candidates learnt module implementation, configuration and overall use of the software. The ‘students’ also learnt valuable product enablement processes and methodologies including best practice techniques. Through these intensive classroom sessions, the ICS team has increased their skills, which all acknowledge will ultimately lead to realisation of greater benefit to the end-customers, helping them streamline their businesses for greater productivity and profitability.

It is of particular note that all of the participating candidates achieved certification in Implementation of CitiXsys iVend Retail solutions at the conclusion of the 5 day training program.

Talking about the product learning session, David Webb expressed, “It was a real pleasure running the training in our solutions for the team at ICS. It was great to experience their enthusiastic interest in every topic and see such dedication in participation to all aspects of the training activities. The high level of professionalism shown by the ICS staff is something they can be proud of, and worthy of recognition.”

This classroom session with ICS is one of several that CitiXsys is planning for the Middle East, USA, South East Asia and Australia in this coming year. It has been uplifting to see that several valued partners of CitiXsys have already signed up for these training sessions.

In the end, (as the ICS candidates experienced!) what emerges is a smarter, sharper CitiXsys product expert.

Mobile POS Coming to Forefront

Mobile POS Coming to Forefront

Globally retail stores are beefing up their sales capabilities ditching the old-fashioned point of sale machines and having salespeople — and even shoppers themselves — ring up sales on smartphones and tablet computers.

Barneys New York, a luxury retailer, this year plans to use iPads or iPod Touch devices for credit and debit card purchases in seven of its nearly two dozen regular-price stores.

Mobile point-of-sale devices are no longer just a tool for specialty retailers or smaller merchants to accept card payments. Increasingly, large U.S. retailers are equipping associates with smartphones and tablets that let them accept customer payments from the sales floor.

Technology has consistently been a major driver in retail but mobile POS devices are transforming the retail industry in aNRF-Blog-images-copy-2 way that few technologies have done before. “Retailers which have eschewed cumbersome cash wraps in favor of a mobilized checkout are already reaping increased savings, sales and customer satisfaction,” said the report, written by Yankee Group analyst Jordan McKee.

Industry experts are of the opinion that year 2014 marked the transformation of Point of sale terminals as they became increasingly mobile and the trend would take Big Box retailers by storm in the coming year

The need of the hour is to look for ways to better understand customers and deliver the right products to the right channel at the right time at the right price. Customer’s reach to more product information along with a myriad of product choices has shifted power to the consumer while resulting in higher customer expectations.

Mobile POS technology helps retailers enhance their customer’s shopping experience, while reducing the costs of providing that enhanced experience. While operational efficiency remains important, retailers are leveraging mobile POS technology to close sales instantly, optimize demand side processes, attract and retain more customers and drive future growth.

To create marketplace advantages in the future, retailers already know their customers intimately, including their needs, wants, preferences, and values and are restructuring their business processes and in-store technologies to ensure customer expectations are fully satisfied.

Mobile POS has a positive impact on revenue as it doesn’t add complexity to the existing retail environment and considerably empowers the store associates.

The new POS technology that extends to mobile devices as applications, employee hand-held, new payment devices, numerous displays and customer facing systems can help fuel loyalty and sales technological com, making the job of a Store Associate more effective without adding technological complexity.

We always hear the old say that “People buy from people” and this is essentially true in context to the retail sector. If your forward workforce is happy and motivated and as a result the interaction with customers is a positive one. For any retail business, this positive experience really does go a long way to reinforcing a positive brand reputation.

Invitation to Retail’s Biggest Party in 2014

NRF 2014 blog

CitiXsys invites you at NRF and experience how iVend Retail Management Suite can help your business turn profitable and your customers happier. Thousands of stores in over 45+ countries are running iVend Retail from CitiXsys and are more profitable and efficient.

Retail industry has matured over the years and grown exponentially but retailers have found it difficult to keep up with the pace of modernization and automation required at the systems level. Home grown solutions, legacy systems and proprietary systems within the ecosystem of the retailers have resulted in inefficient and disconnected systems.

CitiXsys enhances the whole retail management experience by combining cutting edge technologies and the best practices prevalent in the industry in its iVend Retail Management suite. The application suite not only treats the entire landscape as single holistic enterprise but also seamlessly integrates the key functions of retail through iVend Loyalty, iVend eCommerce, iVend Mobility and iVend Analytics that are integral parts of the suite.

Be sure to stop by and visit us at Booth #3539 to:

Learn how to enhance customer’s shopping experience and maximizing returns to the retailer’s investment How integrated Retail management solutions can help retailer’s improve efficiency How digital passes negate the need to have plastic gift cards, loyalty cards, gift coupons ad help them engage with customers and simultaneously Go Green. Benefits of having a flexible Mobile POS that operates with a common view of inventory, order management, payments etc. in both Online and offline mode Strategies to enable Retailers of all sizes to deliver a mobile integrated Instore Experience through Android and iOS devices

Retail’s Biggest Show begins on 13th January 2014 and CitiXsys gives you a chance to Grab your free Expo pass worth $750 here.

Free Expo Pass

Specialty Retailers turn Customer Centric and Profitable with Mobility

Specialty Retail

The hype-to-reality transition of mobility in retail has been the fastest in the recent times. Ever since Apple started using mobile devices in their stores, which was not too long ago, retailers started taking notice. Today retailers expect the same level of customer experience that one would experience in an Apple store.iVend Mobile POS

Retail Applications like iVend Retail along with retail hardware providers have come a long way in providing complete solutions on mobile devices of different sizes and operating systems.

One of the Forbes reports pegs mobile in retail today to be US $5.7 Billion business and it is the single fastest growing trend.

Mobile POS has a pertinent significance in the context of Specialty Retailers having niche retail businesses like footwear, bookstores, wine & liquor stores, electronic stores, etc.

Retail Real-Estate Optimization, Customer Experience and Faster Business Expansion are some of the critical business drivers for Specialty Retailers. Mobile POS extends to these retailers unprecedented flexibility to effectively address these critical business needs.

Take for example the need for a retailer to open another retail store in an upmarket mall. With mobile POS directly connected to the head office servers, the retailer does not require to setup expensive IT infrastructure in his new retail store. All that is required is a mobile POS, which can also double up as a communication device.

Similarly, flexibility to increase checkout points on the fly is another feature that merits deployment of mobile POS by Specialty Retailers. Customer Experience, Special Attention and Preferential Treatment are some of the cornerstones of a Specialty Retailer And one of the ways a retailer can extend these to the customer is by eliminating the check out time. Mobile POS, given its ‘mobility’ ensures that there is never a queue at the check out point; infact there need not be any check out point – why should a customer walk to a designated area for checking out?

Any retailer would like to pamper his customer and what better way to do so by letting him know through notifications about his gift card status, coupon status and loyalty status by sending out a sophisticated, non-interfering, personal digital pass. All this when the customer is in the vicinity of the retail store.Digital Passes

Seamless integration of iVend Mobile POS with iVend Loyalty and iVend Passes, allows the retailer to extend the most sophisticated end customer experience to his customers.

As a result, specialty retailers are deploying about 45% of all tablets shipped to retail for POS. They are most popular in small independent retailers of all types and large mall-based specialty chains.

To know more about iVend Retail Management Suite and especially iVend Mobile POS, please visit our Knowledge Portal. You may also like to get in touch with our Channel Sales Manager to get more information about iVend Retail.

Mobility enhancing Retail Customer centricity

Mobile device multiplication among store associates, floor managers, back office and supply chain workers — and, perhaps most importantly, customers — has accelerated rapidly. For forward looking retailers who are focused on customer centricity, mobile tech integration has become the propelling force. Extension of enterprise applications to mobile devices is helping retailers achieve timely data access, break down channel-specific silos of information, facilitate tailor made sales and service, and enable true one-to-one CRM (customer relationship management) with consumers on their path to customer centricity.

The tidal wave of enterprise and consumer-mobility  is here and this new age technology really puts the customer at the center of the business.

 Customer-Centricity Trends and Tech Enablers

Mobility is about more than devices and wireless networks — it’s about data. Data is being gathered, processed, and pushed to applications faster than it ever has, allowing retailers to make better, faster decisions — from the storefront to the supply chain — and align those decisions with near real-time consumer preferences.

Retail Analytics enables customer centricity by giving retailers insight into data, which improves productivity and increases the depth of customer engagement. Forward looking retailers rely heavily on measurements and key performance indicators via dashboards and scorecards and relying on predictive modeling to make big decisions.

Omnichannel Retailing

“Cross-channel” retailing was the topic of discussion last year or the year before but the mobile Internet that 50% of shoppers are taking with them on their smartphones everywhere they go has blurred any distinguishable lines between retail channels. Consumer mobility has crossed a considerable number throughout the world and looking at the way it is embraced globally, it has become the primary retail touch point.

Most retailers have some serious “channel integration catch-up” to do before they can respectfully call themselves “cross-channel” enterprises. Much less omnichannel retailers are deploying an integrated retail solution which is agile, innovative and scalable. Such a solution is their primary concern

Mobile technology is forcing change from a channel mentality to a brand mentality, and as it relates to the brand, there’s nothing so important as the consumiVend Mobileer. Generating a user experience that is channel agnostic is the perspective so that the consumers are associated with brand, not a specific channel.

 Store-Level Device Mobility

Mobile technology beholds in the context of enhanced in-store shopping experience. Implementation of this technology in store increases business opportunities for retailers and engages their customers. More and more retailers today are turning to mobile technology at checkout to enhance customer engagement and repeat buyers.

Inside the store, mobile technology has removed physical location as an obstacle to customer centricity. Consider the store-level associate who, using an ipad, can check inventory on a shoe style and size, at her store or any other in the chain, without leaving the customer’s side. That same associate can use that same device to access the customer’s purchase history, their loyalty status, and, in truly omnichannel environments, their site-browsing history and Web shopping cart. In this way, the associate can assist the customer with the completion of a transaction that started in a different channel. With mobile POS, the customer centric guest experience culminates at an entirely higher level.

Beyond enabling personalized service and transactions, mobility fuels customer centricity by creating on-the floor access to back office and managerial applications such as availability, scheduling, and inventory lookup . Because so many of a store manager’s tasks can be executed with the aid of a tablet or smartphone — as opposed to yesterday’s fixed PC — both the customer and the retailer realize the benefit of new found sales floor access to the retailer’s best salesperson and brand advocate.

Mobile enables customer centricity, whether it’s leveraged in stores for communication (email, voice, planning), productivity (access to managerial reports and task management applications), or customer service (access to customer, product, and inventory data).