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.

Four essential queue busting strategies for Easter weekend


Just a few days remain until the Easter weekend – one of the biggest spikes in the retail calendar.
The Easter egg market alone is worth £365 million, while many consumers use the public holidays as a time to shop. In fact, according to Experian FootFall, European consumer activity often increases ahead of the weekend and continues into the week after, creating the potential for a two-week surge in spending.

This presents a fantastic opportunity for retail businesses to boost profits, however, it’s not without Download Free Whitepaperits pitfalls. Namely, more shoppers equal busier stores, and therefore place a greater strain on operational resources.

Queuing is a particularly big challenge for retailers, who fear that long wait times will lead to shoppers abandoning their purchases.

To help you control the crowds this Easter weekend, we’ve put together 4 tips for reducing queue lengths during busy trading periods:

1. Predict when your store is likely to reach crisis point
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Looking back over previous Easter periods, trading patterns can reveal vital details on when your store is likely to be busy, enabling you to put measures in place – such as increasing workforce – to ensure customer service standards are upheld.
A good retail business intelligence tool is essential for these insights. Although it won’t stop ebbs and flows in consumer traffic, it will prepare your business for the most intense stress moments.

2. Increase your payment points
Many retailers rely on one or two fixed points of sale, so waiting lines can quickly build up during busy moments. Mobile POS technology is a very effective tool for preventing this congestion, as retailers can quickly and easily open up an alternative point of payment when queues begin to lengthen.
Not only that, but the portable nature of mobile payment devices mean retail staff can use them at any point within the store – so shoppers don’t even have to join a queue to make their purchase.

3. Keep an eye on the queue
It’s very easy for a seemingly controlled situation to suddenly become very chaotic at peak trading times; queues can go from 2 or 3 people to 7-10 in the space of a few minutes.
Again, mobile Point of Sale systems can come in very useful here, as dedicated ‘queue buster’ staff can wander up and down the lines processing payment details to quickly get the queue back down to a manageable length.

4. Speed up transactions
Another factor compounding queue times is the length of each customer transaction. While there are a limited number of things you can do to make scanning and packing goods a speedier process, there are ways to decrease payment times.
Promoting contactless payments for low value purchases is a good example. Another is integrating loyalty schemes onto an application for consumers’ mobile phones, so they don’t have to spend minutes searching through their wallet to collect or redeem points.

How can your mobile strategy stay ahead of the retail curve?

How can your mobile strategy stay ahead of the retail curve?

Mobile, mobile, mobile. It’s dominated retail discussions over the past 12 months, yet knowledge of how consumers use this technology – and how businesses should be incorporating it into their strategies – still feels as though it’s in its infancy. If anything, shoppers are ahead of the curve, quite frequently using their own devices in the store to research products or check prices. However, all that is set to change. According to a BRP special report into mobile technology, the number of retailers using mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) will increase by 300% over the next two years. So what does this mean for the industry? Well firstly, it’s going to shape consumer expectations. As mentioned, there is already a huge appetite for shoppers using their own devices as part of the journey to purchase, and these consumers will become more accustomed to relying on in-store technology as its adoption increases. While there are a few forward-thinking retailers pushing the boundaries by using mPOS for flexible customer service and queue busting, the majority of customers still expected to make transactions via a traditional, fixed Point of Sale. Mobile POS gives retailers the capacity to redefine in-store customer service, offering shoppers added value options such as:

  • Real-time stock availability updates, by linking to inventory data
  • Advice on different colours and styles, using online catalogues
  • Recommended accessories or accompaniments, again using catalogue information
  • Ability to order or reserve from anywhere in the fulfilment network, integrating operational data across the business
  • Transactions anywhere in the store, by connecting to an online payments gateway

Secondly, the more retailers incorporate mPOS into their store strategies, the more competitive it will become as a Edge_Ahead_with_mobilityEdge_Ahead_with_mobility customer service tool. This means ‘making do’ with existing equipment will not suffice – retailers will need to be at the forefront of their game when it comes to both hardware and the supporting solution, in order to innovate experiences as shopper expectations increase. In order to stay ahead of the competition, therefore, retail businesses need to future-proof their mobile engagement strategy. This means choosing a flexible, scalable mobile POS management system that can add new functionality without slowing down day-to-day interactions. The quickest, most painless way to do this is to invest in a cloud-based solution. By moving deployment and maintenance of technology infrastructure into the cloud, retailers can upgrade or roll out applications to any device within their network remotely, minimising disruption to trading.

Not only that, but moving to the cloud lifts the boundaries applied by on-site solutions. By outsourcing their mPOS management to an expert third party, retailers remove restrictions imposed by store networks, data storage and operational resources. And should the time come when front-end hardware isn’t meeting customer needs, they can easily implement new technology that plugs straight into the cloud, drawing down existing data and capabilities as soon as the upgraded devices are connected.

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.

Retail in 2015, and Beyond

Retail in 2015, and Beyond

As always, technology would be a major contributor in reducing the gap between manufacturers and consumers. But the major trend is around the retailers’ acceptance of what has been launched previously. That, will be the face of retail technology in 2015. Whether it is contact-less payment options, chip-card standardization, or virtual stores, the consumer will be engaging with the retailer like never before.

The usage of smartphones has opened the doors to newer ways to transact through embedded technology, NFC devices (Near Field Communications) etc., which can be used in contact-less payment systems like Google Wallet and now, Apple Pay. Also, online transactions, virtual payments hDownload iVend Cloud Whitepapaerave gained edge as popularity of non-cash payments has grown as people make the shift towards cashless digital transactions.

By 2020, customers will certainly be using their smartphones and mobile devices to pay for a wide range of goods and services in this way. When the consumer has embraced the mobile (and how!), it would be retrograde for the retailer not to do the same. From contact-less payment acceptance, to beacons to the mass-acceptance of the Mobile POS, it has become imperative for the retailer to reach out to the customer via the mobile.

In an extension of the retailer using mobile technology as a bridge to reach out to the customer, beacons will play an instrumental role. Simply put, this enables the retailer to literally ‘guide’ the customer around the store, down the aisles, right up to the product, all using a Cloud based retail management system. And ping him with a discount coupon on the way, along with an upsell item of interest (which would be gleaned from his historical purchase data!).

Secondly, this year will also see retail integrations in a big way. Gone are the days when retailers picked the best individual application for merchandise hierarchy, a separate one for inventory management, and yet another one for transactions at the point of sale . The flip side was, despite doing their jobs well, these units failed to serve the company as a single integrated unit as all the processes churned out data in siloes.

The need, therefore is of an application that integrates all retail processes into one , a single all-inclusive ‘suite’ of retail management applications, which would be on virtual servers (and therefore, reducing the IT spend of the retailer). And the answer to it all is the Cloud. This technology can reduce a retailer’s IT spend to a fraction, quadruples the dependability and provides fail-safe operations like nothing else. Plus, hybrid Cloud systems provide greater control over retail operations, while keeping costs low.

2015 will also be the year when customers will want loyalty to be an integral part of the retailer. He or she should be able to check his loyalty point balance on the move from his tablet or phone, and the retailer should have provided a loyalty portal to indulge the former.

Conversely, the POS operator should also be able to access a customer’s historical purchase data, loyalty points and make a smart upsell without hassles. A customer having a loyalty account with a retailer provides a very valuable mode of communication, where he or she allows the retailers to contact the person with early-bird offers and value-additions. Either way, having a loyalty system as a component of your Integrated Business Management multichannel retail setup will make this part of customer retention more efficient and less labor-intensive.

Over the years, we have seen more and more physical retail businesses opening e-stores. This means they need well-designed e-commerce systems, new methods of merchant credit card processing, and better visual marketing. Security is also a major concern for many businesses with an electronic footprint. A Cloud-based Retail management suite can seamlessly integrate with your Retail application, managing your retail chain as well as your vendor platform over the Internet.

With such uninhibited influx of technology and data from distinct sources, what a retailer needs is an Integrated Retail Management Solution with a robust back-end enterprise which can work in tandem. This would have the capability to can ease the challenges in retail processes, along with providing clear visibility through the entire supply chain. To maintain the customer service provided in the retail market, it is an imperative to adopt retail management solution that easily runs simultaneous operations.

Essentially, what a retailer needs is a one-stop solution for his retail management needs, which is Cloud-capable and which can integrate all retail functions into a seamless whole. 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 optimum profitability.

Know more about iVend Cloud on or write to us on

When Cloud technology clears the path

Retail Insights
In this year’s first issue of CitiXsys Retail Insights 2015, we’ve taken up why the Cloud is the way to go for retailers. Especially for large-scale enterprise retailers, cloud-based applications may as well be the only solution which would enable them to be as flexible, adaptable and infrastructure-minimalist as they aspire to be.

The cover story outlines why and how cloud applications can help retailers to cut down IT infrastructure flab. Also, it Retail Insightstalks about the advantages of integration of every operation and process of an enterprise retail into a single, consolidated suite. And finally, the main value of Cloud in Retail: Mobile POS.

Taking the Mobile POS angle further, another article speaks further on how smartphones, tablets and iPads equipped Cloud-connected retail applications can empower store assistants and traditional POS to a whole new level of performance.

We also take a look at how a retail store might function when it is powered by a Cloud-based Retail Suite and Mobile POS. it would turn normal retail operations on its head, increasing efficiency and decreasing investment by several factors.

This issue takes a whole new look at how retail operations would change, when integrated with new technology, especially Cloud Applications.

The CitiXsys Team wishes our readers a fruitful and fulfilling year ahead.

Retail Moving on Cloud

Retail Moving on Cloud

In the business of Technologically Transforming Retail Landscapes, CitiXsys Technologies has been involved in bringing valuable content to Blog-image-for-Citixsys_Bottom_300X300readers for some years now. This white paper is intended for all who have experienced, observed and appreciate the value of Modern Retail Technology, Integrated Store experience and are keenly looking forward to commit to the concept of Cloud in Retail.

Modern Day Retail stores must offer shopper’s seamless Retail experiences, something that can’t be experienced online, to become preferred destinations. On the other hand retailers need to re-examine their strategy to provide a seamless experience across the entire customer-buying journey by diminishing the boundaries between online and physical world.
Download our Whitepaper on Cloud to know how cloud can transform retail operations and bring plenty of benefits to a retail organization.

Retailers have long set out on the journey to innovate realizing the absolute necessity of being truly seamless – maximizing the power and promise of technology across all channels, and across the Retail enterprise. But where should a retailer focus and how can a he quickly move from what’s now to what’s next?

Primarily retailers’ focus on efforts to build a competitive edge for the future by going interoperable and seamless across all channels.

Progression towards this path will be truly seamless set of systems, the business and IT will support continual adaptation, the digital experience will be supported by analytics and scalable IT, and the in-store experience will be integrated with digital channels.

Cloud applications for retail, scalability delivered as-a-service, makes this distant dream possible. Retailers’ can now meet time-pressed, on-the go and digitally connected consumers during their entire retail cycle of stepping into the store to the checkout. Currently, cloud applications are effective tools for retailers to build capabilities fast enough to hold the attention of consumers. Read More…

Achieving competitive advantage in Retail with Cloud

Utilizing applications on the Cloud is the latest buzz across industries and has compelled retailers to evaluate the potential of the cloud to capitalize on the benefits that it offers.

Enterprise LARGE or SMALL are moving quickly to adopt cloud based applications & services that could enhance their competitive landscape.

Retailers have recognized the cloud’s ability to increase business speed & agility, lower costs, enable new means of growth, innovation, and collaboration as the drivers for its aggressive rate of adoption.

The infographic below shares some very interesting statistics that will help retailers extend their business value and advantage, including faster time to market, lower cost of operations and ability to focus on core business.

iVend Cloud Infographic

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.