The convergence of the traditional customer with the online customer is now the preferred goal of retailers and e-tailers alike, according to the Australian Retailers' Association IT operations manager, Chad Gates.
His report to ARA members, Technology Trends, outlines where retailers are headed in the online arena. Retailers will increasingly target the multi-channel customer, particularly as the ability to integrate online systems with existing operations becomes easier and more affordable. However, he warns that for small- and medium-sized businesses to make informed decisions about their operations, the industry needs to see changes to prevent SME information overload.
"Internet connectivity is still too expensive for small business," the report says. "For SMEs to really want to use this technology, they must be given an open page on which to write their future plans."
Retailers also need to get away from the idea of measuring success by the number of stores, the report said.