Retail Trends

Modularity: the path to true agility for retailers

3 min read

Consumer habits are evolving along with industry trends due to the emergence of new technologies and options that seek to offer better shopping experiences. In addition, retailers face totally unexpected situations that force them to adapt immediately and 2020 was clear proof of this.

Their agility, however, is often restricted by the existence of old technologies (software and hardware), which cannot offer retailers the necessary speed to keep pace with innovations and changes in the environment.

Why is modularity key?

The concept of modularity applied to the field of technological solutions consists of the ability to be adopted flexibly according to the needs of the business and at the pace required. It is, therefore, about offering a level of functional and technical flexibility to be able to adapt to different scenarios and, in addition, to react quickly to unforeseen situations.

Today, if we think about the shopping experience, this concept becomes fundamental. The increasingly frequent emergence of new channels, payment methods and delivery methods, among others, requires an ever-increasing degree of agility.

Increased competitiveness also forces retailers to seek greater differentiation, which also requires their ability to innovate more and faster, something for which modularity becomes indispensable.

When we talk about technological modularity, we can differentiate between functional modularity and pure technical modularity. Let us now look at these concepts applied, for example, to a software solution for omnichannel operations management such as Openbravo.

Functional modularity

Within this category we would include the ability of the solution to implement some of its components, completely or partially, alone or in combination with others, allowing adaptation to different scenarios. And importantly, without compromising the type of future evolution.

For example, a retailer might decide to only replace the point-of-sale solution and in some of its stores. In some of them, it could even implement the solution only at traditional POS and, in others, add the use of self-payment terminals and mobile terminals. All this integrated with existing systems such as its ERP or eCommerce platform.

In the future, the retailer can expand this scope with inventory management (global or store only) or order management. All seamlessly integrated with in-store sales management.

Technical modularity

At this level, the concept of modularity refers to the ease of extending or adapting existing functionalities quickly and in a controlled manner with defined technical rules that ensure their integrity and performance over time. This also facilitates future upgrade processes. We can think, for example, of cases such as the need to modify the standard in-store checkout process or the incorporation of changes in a connector to support changes in the tax regulations of certain countries.

At the architecture level, it is also essential to be able to support different deployment scenarios and a level of scalability that allows flexible adaptation to different scenarios. An example might be to temporarily increase computing resources (servers, databases) to support increased activity during periods such as Black Friday.

Benefits of modularity

Enables greater agility and speed of adoption

From the implementation process to subsequent maintenance, modularity allows retailers to reduce the time required to adopt and adapt the system to anticipated or unforeseen needs.

Offers greater innovativeness and ease of piloting

The ability to test more quickly increases the ability to innovate, and allows pilots of new functionality to be conducted more easily and with a controlled scope that reduces any risk.

Modularity also makes it easier to adopt new innovations released by the technology manufacturer, so you can always be up to date and ahead of the competition.

Facilitates adaptation to different scenarios

With different types of channels and omnichannel scenarios, as well as store types such as flagship, temporary stores and so on, a modular solution facilitates the coverage of different scenarios, also allowing for phased strategies that are better adapted to the needs of each moment.

Enables a reduction in maintenance costs

Modularity also makes it possible to increase the efficiency of the necessary changes, allowing the introduction of new functionalities in a much more controlled way, which reduces maintenance time and costs.
Are you looking for a new retail software solution to support your omnichannel strategy in 2022? If so, make sure it is fully modular.

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To learn more about the Openbravo platform and how its truly modular architecture enables greater agility, visit our website.

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