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The IT Checklist: 17 Questions to See if Your Retail Tech Stack Measures up Today

Has the last 18 months had your team feeling like your current method of overseeing your company’s retail execution is old and antiquated? If so, you are certainly not alone.

In 2020, many CG companies found they were underinvested and underprepared with their technology to manage through the fast-changing conditions in retail. Many struggled, and lost share to disruptors who were positioned to pivot quickly, and take advantage of the shifting market conditions both on and offline. From supply chain issues, to out of stocks, to furloughed or minimized field teams, the challenges facing CG companies were many. In 2021 and beyond, many Sales and Marketing Leaders will desire and even demand the ability to quickly see and adapt their field and sales teams to the still-evolving market conditions within the Retail space. A very strong, foundational, well-integrated tech stack can make or break this ability to pivot, and change courses quickly. 

In my experience, smaller disruptor brands innately start with a more modern tech stack. But if you’re an IT leader at a mid-market or enterprise CG company, your stakeholders may very well still be feeling underwhelmed by their ability to execute more nimbly, intelligently in retail. As a CIO or IT leader, the first question you could ask yourself is: When was the last time you evaluated your current retail execution software? If it wasn’t recently, then your team may not be as efficient as it could be with today’s modern technologies.

In this piece, I’ll cover a handful of important questions CIOs and IT leaders should ask themselves, their teams, and business partners to help determine whether their current method of operating and tracking their retail execution is old, antiquated, and a barrier to success.

So, here we go:

  1. Do your Sales and Marketing leaders find out how things perform two weeks or longer after they wrap?

  2. Are your field reps hesitant to use your mobile field app?

  3. Do your business teams feel paralyzed when rolling out new programs because they take 6+ months?

  4. How easily can you build and gain access to new reporting views?

  5. Does it have pre-built integrations for major ERP or CRM platforms?

  6. Is your retail execution software hosted in the cloud?

  7. Is it hosted in a tier cloud service provider?

  8. Does it include a cloud-based backup facility?

  9. Does your team run on a tier-one cloud system?

  10. Does that system include a cloud-based backup facility?

  11. How about cloud-based redundancy for failover or architecture for scalability and security?

  12. Does your vendor do custom builds for each customer?

  13. Does the system have Rest-based APIs?

  14.  Does it have any APIs at all?

  15. Does it have a modern UX and consumer-grade feel, or does it look primitive and built a decade ago?

  16. How quickly does the mobile application respond to touch?

  17. Does it run on multiple modern platforms, i.e. Windows, Mac, Lenovo, etc?

If you couldn't successfully answer any of these questions, then it may be time to talk with your team and business leaders about exploring options for a more modern, nimble solution. It’s time to explore a retail tech stack with some shelf life.

Your futureproof enterprise retail tech stack should not only be best-in-breed and modern, but they need to easily integrate with your other major data solutions and be purpose-built to give you the flex you deserve to pivot your business strategies quickly. Over the next couple of months, we’ll continue to explore this theme, with the goal of helping CPG brands and merchandising teams better break down, and understand What’s in Your Tech Stack.

Peter Billante

Peter Billante is the Chief Product Officer of Repsly, Inc. where he’s responsible for leading the continued growth of its product and marketing teams. Pete brings over 25 years of experience and has a track record of developing successful software products. Most recently, he was at Autodesk where he held leadership roles in both marketing and product management. Prior to that, he led product management at three venture-backed startups that led to strategic acquisitions. Pete was VP of Product Management at Vela Systems, which was acquired by Autodesk in 2012. Pete began his career at Procter & Gamble and SAP, and is a graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Vanderbilt University.

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