Magazine Article | May 1, 2001

What's Your Problem?

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Everyone has IT problems that need to be solved. Tell us what confuses you about retail technology, so we can help.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, May 2001

After years of contributing nothing more than my hard-earned cash to the retail market, my position as a writer at Integrated Solutions For Ret@ilers put me on the other side of the point of sale. My experiences as a consumer combined with research and trade show demonstrations has helped me understand the ultimate IT goal of retailers - implement technology to improve business.

Now when I shop in department stores I check out what brand of POS (point of sale) hardware they use. My eye lingers on my store receipts to note if they are printed on thermal paper or if colored ink is used to catch my attention. In conversations with my shopping savvy friends, I entertain them with the not so futuristic idea of radio frequency technology inundating grocery stores. At one time, I had only a consumer perspective, but now I understand that retail technology touches suppliers, customers, and everyone in between.

Speak Out And We Will Answer
My insider perspective of the retail market has come from countless hours of research, hundreds of interviews with vendors and retailers, and informative demonstrations at trade shows. Vendor demonstrations of technologies such as handheld scanners, kiosks, and payment processing devices at the NRF Show and Conference this past January in New York provided a deeper look into retail possibilities.

On a weekly basis, retailers walk me through the problems that led to technology installations so readers faced with a similar situation can see how another company approached it. It's that level of detailed explanation, complete with solutions and benefits, that we pass along to the readers of this magazine.

Integrated Solutions For Ret@ilers has been providing our readers with technology options and IT installations for more than 18 months. Our circulation has reached more than 18,000 (May 2001, publisher's data) and our editorial continues to expand.

We have heard plenty of success stories, but we also want to know about your IT challenges before you try to solve them. What areas stump you the most when searching for a technology solution? What latest technology haven't we addressed yet this year that you wonder about? We are interested in what decisions are on your plate, and want to be part of your decision-making process.

Throwing Down A Challenge
One place we encourage reader input is in our most recent addition to our editorial, the E-Tailing Forum. Each month this Q&A format story focuses on a specific e-tail area such as electronic payment processing or how data mining can provide a better view of online customers.

Each month we interview a technology provider and an industry analyst about a pressing issue surrounding e-tailing. For example, you can turn to page 12 of this issue to learn about how a CRM (customer relationship management) system can influence online sales. Usually, our editorial content is based on our editorial calendar, which is planned a year in advance. But the topics for the E-Tailing Forum are generated based on the most recent trends or our readers' technology concerns.

Are you wondering about the benefits of outsourcing your POS software to an ASP (application service provider)? Do you need to know what features are important in an e-merchandise management system? Do you have concerns about expanding into the global e-tailing market? Integrated Solutions For Ret@ilers magazine can provide answers to your questions from experts in the industry. Your IT problems aren't going to solve themselves, and we don't expect you to figure them out alone.

Questions about this article? E-mail the author at