An Industry in Transition with Legacy Technology, Complex Systems, Security Risk, and Redundancy
The brick-and-mortar retail industry, in the face of impending disruption, is undergoing a massive digital transformation. Having worked with three of the top seven largest fuel and convenience retailers in the US, over the period of a couple years, Stuzo experienced this transformation and the technical complexities merchants are facing, firsthand.
The evolving digital landscape for how merchants need to interact with their consumers, has created a number of challenges.
Merchants’ enterprise systems and digital services have been stitched together one at a time, creating a point-to-point challenge whereby merchants were using different back-end systems, different management portals, and different technology languages. [See graphic to follow: A View Into Industry Complexity]
Not only did this create a mass of technical debt in the form of redundant systems, technologies, and vendor relationships for the merchants, these challenges created a host of challenges, including: 1) silos where consumer data could not be easily shared across digital services (like payments, loyalty, and CRM) in an automated, systematic fashion, 2) a wider threat vector for security breaches, 3) increased security risk, and 4) multiple points of failure across the IT landscape.
Merchants did not intend to end up in this position. Rather, it was a result of years of continued acceleration, getting more and more aggressive with building out digital capabilities to chase down the demands from and opportunities with the consumer.
Merchants are aware of these challenges and have acknowledged the need to enable their consumers to do business with them across any connected commerce channel, such as mobile, web, car, kiosk, wearables, and beyond.
Merchants need all of their consumer data to be connected, for their digital services, such as loyalty, offers, and marketing automation, to communicate systematically and share the required data, which the merchant should own, have access to and control over, and have the ability to leverage for delivering personalized, predictive, and frictionless commerce experiences to their consumers.
Acknowledging these challenges and opportunities, Stuzo set out to build the Open Commerce Platform.