Event-driven architecture becomes essential in real-time retail

Since confinement, the rebound in online shopping habits and physical store traffic have imposed omnichannel excellence in retail.

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Since the lockdown, the rebound in online shopping habits and physical store traffic has given rise to a new customer landscape in retail. The lines between digital and physical shopping experiences are now blurred for good, and the retailers best prepared for this eventuality are those who offer their customers real-time products and services, regardless of the channel of their choice. An event-driven architecture is important for moving the customer experience from reactive to proactive – and delivering true omnichannel excellence.

Merchants sell goods and services to consumers. Either they have the right goods and services to sell and provide, or they don’t.

There is no doubt that the global challenges of the past two years have forced the retail sector to mobilize and digitize extremely quickly in order to stay in business; but already before the pandemic, the retail customer journey was shifting from physical to digital. In recent months, we have seen the retail market split between brick-and-mortar stores and online services. But it’s not a landslide victory for online sales. In 2021, brick-and-mortar store sales grew faster than e-commerce as there was a big comeback in in-person shopping.

Result: a pressing need for retailers to ensure that they are able to deliver a unified, consistent and real-time experience to their customers, regardless of where they buy and what channel they prefer, to achieve truly omnichannel excellence and put their customers at the center of every transaction.

Market pressures have peaked

The repercussions of the pandemic have been felt across the retail sector, affecting more traditional or specialty retailers who typically rely on brick-and-mortar stores and service delivery.

This enduring evolution of retail is built around three key pressure points.

First, the pandemic has shown many customers that it is no longer necessary to physically go to stores to do their weekly shopping for groceries and other consumables. Second, global supply chain and logistics challenges continue to cause inventory issues for retailers, often without warning. Third, many retailers are seeing the impact of the Great Resignation and are having to manage labor shortages at all levels, from the head office to the store, and from warehousing to distribution.

Retailers’ response

Retailers are responding with innovations and improvements to their omnichannel service. According to a 2021 Global Retail Digital Transformation Study by Fujitsu, retailers are already investing to better understand and serve their customers. Priority investments include combining their online and physical presence; monitoring the flow of customer traffic and anticipating movements; improving the customer experience; and recommending and marketing products and services.

Lack of Data Visibility Obstructs Obstacles

In another study, it was found that 44% of retailers are most concerned about how the lack of real-time data may lead to decisions based on inconsistent or outdated information. Additionally, 65% recognized the benefits of real-time data for their business operations. To be successful, retailers must unify data from all channels that may be scattered across point-of-sale, e-commerce, systems ERP and other systems.

For many retailers, it’s legacy systems, poor ad hoc application integration, and late or inaccurate notification of important data events that have occurred that prevent them from delivering an exceptional customer experience and truly delivering service. omnichannel. Without integrating all the disparate data and making it available to other applications in real time, it’s nearly impossible to deliver a fully connected omnichannel customer experience.

But what if there was a way for retailers to respond to each and process these events across their entire organization, suppliers and end customers?

Event Driven Architecture is essential for real-time trading

A seamless retail experience should apply to the entire business: employees, suppliers and customers. Keep in mind that they all do something different with data and therefore require a different software architecture approach to data movement. This is where EDA (Event Driven Architecture) comes in.

Each retail transaction creates data, such as type of product purchased, price, and customer name. Software developers call this transaction an event. Other events include: customer purchases on a mobile application; online returns; facial recognition of a VIP customer entering the store; staff disruptions; the detection of a vehicle arriving to make a withdrawal from the store; or the last item in stock that has just been sold.

the streaming Real-time tracking of these events across an organization is a fundamental tenet of omnichannel success because it ensures the continuous processing of real-time data, directly as it is produced. Real-time event streaming must connect event brokers. It is essentially the hardware, software or SaaS technology used to pass information between the applications that create the events (producers) and those that receive them (consumers). Most of the time, brokers use a publish-subscribe model for this.

In retail terms, this could apply to stores, IoT applications, e-commerce platforms, warehouses, head office – whatever system, cloud or protocols are involved. The result is an enterprise-wide network of event brokers (or event mesh) that is dynamic, open, simple, and available anywhere.

Real-time omnichannel success provides a 360° view

Adopting an event-driven architecture approach provides quantifiable benefits for retailers, including unifying their physical and digital operations, and gaining a real-time 360° view of customers, inventory and the entire supply/value chain.

Les Mousquetaires is a major player that takes advantage of the EDA. It is one of Europe’s leading retail groups operating distinct brands for different retail segments. Les Mousquetaires have established a new digital foundation that streamlines their supply chain and improves their customers’ shopping experience across all traditional stores and e-commerce channels.

In just two years, Les Mousquetaires has deployed over 450 new real-time event streams in production, successfully implementing EDA across multiple use cases. Let us mention among others the use ofartificial intelligence to dramatically improve order accuracy and the automatic delivery of real-time product updates, allowing them to change product prices when and where needed.

Supporting the meta-driven future of retail

Longer term, EDA and real-time event streaming will have a huge role to play in the meta-driven future of retail, where the digital and physical worlds increasingly combine in new ways. and promising.

Imagine that a retailer is able to decentralize stock data, especially for stores in the most remote and disconnected locations, where connectivity interruptions lead to problems reconciling stock levels to fulfill orders. client. Suppose these stock-related events can be stacked at the edge of the networks to give regular updates to stores and customers and suggest them an alternative solution to get the desired product.

For perishable goods, consider IoT-enabled heat lamps for hot food counters. By linking expiration dates to an analytics engine, event streaming will be able to notify stores when food should be removed from the shelf. One can also consider fully connected price stickers. These digital price tags could take into account events generated throughout a product’s supply chain to modify in-store prices in real time.

Let’s also mention the power of push notifications. As the physical and digital worlds blend and become part of customer habits, real-time event streaming offers retailers the ability to target customers who may have researched a product online, but the left abandoned in their basket. By linking location data to customer behavior, stores could send real-time push notifications to the customer using their retail apps who, at any given time, walks past a store that has the item in stock. which he previously left out.

It is evident from this and other common retail use cases that EDA serves as the necessary digital backbone to enhance omnichannel experiences, enabling retailers to realize significant cost savings, optimize supply chain efficiencies and build customer loyalty, ultimately resulting in increased revenue and profitability.

A true omnichannel experience will set retail leaders apart from laggards

Retailers who react instantly to the rapid pace of events as they happen will develop a competitive advantage over those who sit idle.

Event streaming and management, underpinned by an IT infrastructure based on the event-driven architecture paradigm, are the emerging technologies that are powering real-time event-driven enterprises and enabling them to implement omnichannel excellence. retail, and to differentiate between those who have it and those who don’t.

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Event-driven architecture becomes essential in real-time retail

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