The globalization of retail provides expansive opportunities for international business — with the right IT support, that is. Government regulations, technological limitations and cultural differences all create problems that must be handled before a business can successfully expand retail operations in uncharted territories.
Here are some of the top challenges and solutions to retail IT deployments in new international markets.
The Differences in Mobile Deployment
Your retail IT deployment in first world countries should be unapologetically mobile first (and possibly mobile only). However, this may not be the case if you are looking to deploy in Brazil, India, Indonesia or any of the burgeoning markets that offer plenty of growth opportunity, albeit under a different strategy.
Take Brazil, for instance. If you’re in the app economy, Latin America has yet to grow itself into a substantial portion of the world app market share. It currently stands at around 6-8 percent, depending on whom you ask.
You must also understand the nuances of the Internet Law and the E-payments Law, a law passed by Brazil detailing the regulations you will need to consider before employing certain techniques to secure your data or operate your payment structure. You may find the fees and workarounds too expensive to move into that market unless you find a certain type of retail IT specialist/team with cultural ties and insights there.
A New Type of Competition
In a changing international political landscape, retail IT specialists may find themselves focusing efforts on collaboration instead of competition. Companies that are looking to expand into international waters will need to learn how to navigate these changing conditions and deploy strategies that focuses on strategic brand partnerships.
What does this mean for retail IT deployments? Although the onus of these strategies begins in the marketing department, it’s up to the tech experts to translate those initiatives into layered security hierarchies that provide access across international borders, for instance.
IT specialists brought up on the American diet of bank vaulting the digital backdoors may not be able to provide you the correct amount of flexibility. You need a team always on the lookout for that special specialist who can match a deployment with a more collaborative type of philosophy.
Going Omnichannel Across Borders
Data will continue to be king in the years reaching forward beyond this one. You need specialists who understand the importance of quarantining, moving and prioritizing data through an omnichannel structure for partners and prospective buyers.
Retail IT specialists must understand that the customer comes first in the modern retail space. The best solution is not always the prettiest, and managing the right amount of technical debt is sometimes necessary to keep up with the developing regulations of the developing world.
All of this must be done while maintaining on demand fulfillment and online showrooming features, just to name a few luxury techniques of the past that are becoming commonplace. Omnichannel advocate marketing will take its place at the forefront of retail, and your business needs quality technology on hand in order to keep up.
Personalized service may never take a backseat in any of this, and you need a team of specialists who are patient enough to give you a system that responds to needs that a traditional IT specialist may deem less important than maintaining pure functionality.
Connecting With IoT Hardware
Your company may be ready to expand into the Internet of Things and use connected devices to sell directly into the homes of your consumers. Soon, the smartphone will be only one of many devices that provide an opportunity to connect directly to an individual. Your retail IT deployment must be ready to connect with refrigerators, freezers, microwaves and home security devices.
The world of IoT is less developed in new markets, but once it hits, it will move fast. Companies at the forefront of this retail opportunity will reap substantial rewards. It pays to have a partner who can find the international IT specialists with the know-how to future-proof your strategies today.
Getting International IT Help in a Hurry
Global retail IT deployments have added complications, including language and cultural barriers, VAT issues and equipment procurement. Make sure you have a retail IT partner that offers 24/7/365 global dispatch services to respond to IT problems that can arise without warning. Because when you’re expanding to new markets, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.