Converging Retail digitally


Technology innovations have been fast transforming the world around us and are leaving a definitive impact on the way customers shop for products and services. Retailers are also evolving to these changing market dynamics by redefining customer experience in retail space with multitude of personalized touch points.

Digital consumers do not differentiate between these trends. For consumers, these trends are just an extension of their Access Your Free Passexperience with the world around them, be it interacting with a retailer, or elsewhere. It is now an accepted fact that future success of retail lies in the convergence of physical and digital channels enabled by digital transformation. This transformation will make it possible for companies to provide an integrated, meaningful and personalized experience to customers across all relevant and critical touch points – when shoppers make their choices.

Channel Integration or convergence is one of the primary challenges for all multichannel retailers in the quest for profitable retailing. When a customer makes contact with a retailer-whether it be online, via mobile application, via catalogue, or in store- it’s important that they are treated in the same way; and that the high level of service that a customer received face to- face is replicated via other channels. To provide that service, the retailer must have an integrated platform for retail, an efficient retail management solution that ensure the right product is in the right place at the right time, which is absolutely critical.

Only an enterprise class retail application can help a retailer address the expectations of a digital consumer. An in-depth understanding of consumer behavior in-store and online with their purchasing preferences has become essential. Modern retail applications represent the key to future retail business model that reflects channel convergence. Discussed below are a few recommendations that can help forward-looking retailers’ adopt this model with ease.

Improving the in-store experience

Physical stores need to offer experiences that consumers can’t have in the digital space. The existing boundaries between digital and physical need to fade by leveraging technologies like mobile. Digital passes, Becons and geotagging are new initiatives to take mobile social consumer with tide.

Access and Discovery

Retailer’s and brands need to creatively promote all channels and applications (marketing mailers, promotions etc.) to generate traffic. At the same time, location-based applications can help retailers find customers and target them with personalized promotions and offers.

Empower your workforce

Mobile POS puts real-time customer data into the hands of your store associates, which can lead to instant in-store conversion, lesser abandoned carts, increased basket size (via cross- and up selling) and improved customer experience and satisfaction in the store.

Real time analytics for actionable insights

Retail analytics is the ultimate performance-monitoring tool, which makes it possible to promote immediate, compelling offers to customers, regardless of channel. Which item is performing, which store is performing, what sells with what etc. a retailer can run and monitor promotions and schemes in real time, enabling a consumer to get a better value for their money – whether through digital or physical channels.

Invest in the last mile

The explosion of order and delivery channels has made order management and fulfillment more important and challenging than ever. A recent study found that nearly nine out of 10 retailers say they support fulfillment through more than one selling channel. In this environment, flexibility is essential. With leading retailers making headlines for their ship-from-store programs, a new bar is being set for inventory utilization in retail, but many retailers do not yet have the infrastructure in place to meet this challenge.

The siloed approach won’t work

The consumer is in the driver’s seat and a halfhearted approach to digital media would not suffice. This convergence of shopping behavior will help make 2015 the breakout year for the digital store, unlocking new experiences and value that can only be delivered in a physical location

Some companies have captured the true business benefits of a digital transformation. Most, however, are only beginning their journey to transform. Our experience in retail points towards Digital convergence as the most sought after trend in retailing for the year 2015, imparting retail businesses an operational advantage to monetary gains for retailer’s who plan to transform themselves for future

Invitation to Retail’s Biggest Party in 2014

NRF 2014 blog

CitiXsys invites you at NRF and experience how iVend Retail Management Suite can help your business turn profitable and your customers happier. Thousands of stores in over 45+ countries are running iVend Retail from CitiXsys and are more profitable and efficient.

Retail industry has matured over the years and grown exponentially but retailers have found it difficult to keep up with the pace of modernization and automation required at the systems level. Home grown solutions, legacy systems and proprietary systems within the ecosystem of the retailers have resulted in inefficient and disconnected systems.

CitiXsys enhances the whole retail management experience by combining cutting edge technologies and the best practices prevalent in the industry in its iVend Retail Management suite. The application suite not only treats the entire landscape as single holistic enterprise but also seamlessly integrates the key functions of retail through iVend Loyalty, iVend eCommerce, iVend Mobility and iVend Analytics that are integral parts of the suite.

Be sure to stop by and visit us at Booth #3539 to:

Learn how to enhance customer’s shopping experience and maximizing returns to the retailer’s investment How integrated Retail management solutions can help retailer’s improve efficiency How digital passes negate the need to have plastic gift cards, loyalty cards, gift coupons ad help them engage with customers and simultaneously Go Green. Benefits of having a flexible Mobile POS that operates with a common view of inventory, order management, payments etc. in both Online and offline mode Strategies to enable Retailers of all sizes to deliver a mobile integrated Instore Experience through Android and iOS devices

Retail’s Biggest Show begins on 13th January 2014 and CitiXsys gives you a chance to Grab your free Expo pass worth $750 here.

Free Expo Pass

iVend Retail 5.8 released

A new version of iVend 5.8 was released earlier this month with following features and enhancements-

New Features

iVend Installer

iVend 5.8 comes with an upgraded and more intuitive installer. Running this installer allows the user to install iVend Unplugged in a demo mode with demo database for a faster and quicker setup of a demo environment. The installer also allows to utilize an existing iVend Unplugged database.

Implementation Center for iVend Unplugged

Implementation center provides different options to quickly setup and start using iVend. Using implementation center, user can setup iVend using the wizard driven setup or can use the copy express to copy the setting from an already setup iVend database, which would have been used for the UAT (User Acceptance Testing).

Automatic Upgrades

Automatic Upgrades helps the site administrators to easily upgrade to the new release of iVend. Before the upgrade is initiated, information about the published upgrades can be seen by the administrator in the iVend Configuration Manager helping the administrator to decide an appropriate time to upgrade to the new release. This eliminates the need to individually upgrade each station

Customers upgrading to iVend 5.8 must update the connection setting from iVend Configuration manager.

Data Purge iVend

This feature helps the Administrator to control the size of the iVend database at each store. Data purging at stores are controlled centrally and is scheduled from iVend Enterprise at Head Office.

Database Optimization

iVend has inbuilt database checking and optimization tool. While executing End of Day process, the store manager can chose to run the iVend database optimization script. iVend database optimization includes checking the database for any inconsistent data, rebuilding the indexes and shrinking the database log files.

Detection of Retail Peripherals at the POS

Whenever iVend POS is installed for the first time, the application will suggest the OPOS peripherals for which the device drivers are pre-installed. This saves valuable time in appropriately configuring standard retail peripherals at each POS.

Mercury Payment Processor

Mercury payment processor integration for US has been incorporated in this release.

DBS Payment Processor

DBS payment processor integration for Singapore has been incorporated in this release. The integration also supports the debit card sales with the PIN entry.


Store Specific Sales Person

iVend supports defining a sales person and then attaching it to a specific store. This allows better and effective management of store executives across the retail chain. This feature also allows defining store executives which may be common across all the stores in the retail chain.

Purchase Order

Purchase orders for the stores can be created from iVend Enterprise in iVend Unplugged. This feature also gives an option to edit the purchase order at iVend Enterprise which were created from the stores.

Batch/Serial Based Promotion

Promotions can now be defined for particular item batches/serial of an item. This functionality enables the user for running the promotions based of serial/batches.

Discount Amount in Promotion

User now has an option to define the discounts either in percentage or in absolute amount terms on the promotion.

For more details on iVend Retail 5.8 Features and an exclusive demo Register Here

Mobile POS – The New Point of Service

iVend Mobile POS, is one of the latest innovations from CitiXsys and forms an important part of the iVend Retail Management Suite. Built to operate on iOS devices and Andriod tablets, iVend Mobile POS suites the retail strategy of retail leaders who adopt innovative retail technologies to make their customers happy.

As an application, iVend Mobile is as relevant to mid-sized retailers who want to expand their retail footprint much faster, as it is to large format retailers who utilize iVend Mobile as a queue buster and also as a tool to optimize expensive real estate space.

The application allows small format retail chains to expand faster and open new outlets by significantly reducing time required to setup an IT infrastructure. This is achieved by iVend Mobile’s ability to directly connect to iVend HO Server. On the other hand, iVend Mobile allows a large format retail chains where a retailer would like to increase the checkout points without compromising on expensive real estate space. In this case iVend Mobile connects to the store server.

This one feature of iVend Mobile gives all retailers an unprecedented leverage for a faster expansion without any compromises.

iVend Mobile will be made available at Apple App Store and Google Play in July 2013 and will get installed on the mobile device like any other App.

The configuration settings which include setup of the peripherals, preferred language, printers, etc. are done on the handheld device.

User can either specify a fixed time during the day when the synchronization is to be executed OR the user can specify the synchronization frequency at which the transactional data from iVend Mobile will get synchronized to the iVend Server.

The transactional data gets synchronized in real time whereas the updates from iVend HO server get synchronized at the defined frequency.

iVend Mobile not only works when the device is connected to the store or the HO server over a WiFi or 3G connection (on line mode) but is also designed to work even when there is no network connectivity (offline mode) With little to no investments in IT Infrastructure, iVend Mobile turns out to be an extremely affordable solution. The costs associated with procuring and maintaining retail peripherals for terminal POS are far more than those of running mobile POS.

The money value of time saved for the customers by busting queues is an important factor in enhanced customer satisfaction. In addition to the time saved at the checkout counter, a mobile POS gives an opportunity to the store executive to upsell items while interacting with the customers on the floor.

What to look for in an Online Storefront?

E-commerce is a valuable and often essential aspect to any business, regardless of what is sold and what services are provided. Allowing customers the ability to obtain goods over the Internet is necessary in this day and age, not only to offer the best services for clients and customers but also to stay relevant. Without these services the competition is more likely to move forward and take advantage of the lack of e-commerce business. From the overall importance of an integrated e-commerce system to the overall facets of a multi-channel system, this all is able to go to great lengths to ensure the business is running at its utmost capacity.

Having everything fully integrated into a single retail system is incredibly important, as it makes the entire system work flawlessly. All aspects of the business need to run through one main hub, otherwise it becomes difficult to know where all sales and products are coming from. The point of sales system, or POS, is the point of any transaction in which a customer actually pays for the product. Knowing where each of these sales comes from through the help of a single system makes it easier to track sales, which in turn shows what form of service is working the best, what product is selling best using online, mobile or in person sales services, not to mention it makes it easier for the client themselves to make and order. If they have an in person account it is easier for them to log into their account online, view past purchases and buy similar content without ever entering the store. These helps keep the client satisfied and you never have to look around wondering what products they bought during their last visit.

Having shopper engagement at the point of sales is very important also. They need to be directly involved, as it makes them feel appreciated and even a sense of ecommerce-blogappreciation. The customer must feel as if the store or website appreciates their business. Not only telling them this is enough, as producing effective loyalty systems during the point of sales contact helps promote your store, reward the client when they are shopping with you and even want to purchase more products from the store. The point of sales system can work through a credit card like service, or it can simply work through a clients log in information, such as an email account or phone number. This way, whenever the client logs in they receive points for their purchase, and eventually these points add up to discounts, free prizes or other gifts you wish to present with them. Having the ability to obtain new rewards and products makes it more likely for the client to return to the store and purchase even more goods and services from you. It is all about bringing the client back, whether it is through the in person store or via e-commerce. This way, they can buy from you in multiple ways, no matter the time of day.

This integrated system works throughout a multi-channel retail system, so no matter what store or department the client purchases products from, it is all connected to a single system. This way, if the client buys a product in a different store, they are still able to return to your current store, without a loss of profits or merchandise to your store. On top of this, it makes it easier to track rewards points, thanks to the e-commerce system. With the integration of this system, it is far easier for the entire company to work well together.

Mobile eCommerce steps up Footfalls in Retail Stores

There’s just no escaping the fact that in the retail environment of today, attracting and keeping customers increasingly revolves around an enterprises’ ability to interact iVend eCommercewith and attract shoppers from across an ever expanding spectrum of contact points. The growing and most dynamic of these are electronically generated.

The revolution that has swept through the world of media and information technology over the last decade has transformed the environment for retail operations to such a degree that no area of commerce has been left unaffected. Staying up to date with these advances, and finding ways to creatively incorporate them into an integrated retail marketing strategy, has become essential to gaining customer attention and sustaining commercial viability.

There’s an App for That
Internet has changed the world forever, and every successful retail operation has long since adapted to this reality by establishing a presence online as a key element of their overall marketing strategy. Yet, as recent as the emergence of the internet may seem, the ways shoppers and information seekers use it has continued to change and evolve.

Over the last few years the advances and innovations which have come to mobile internet devices has utterly transformed how people use the internet, and how they interact with shopping and commercial relationships. The percentage of people who now conduct a large portion of their online activity via some form of mobile device has skyrocketed, with no end in sight.

In today’s internet marketplace, retail operations that do not have an application (app) specifically designed for use on a handheld mobile device are, quite simply, missing out on being seen by many potential shoppers, and every day that percentage increases.

The New Word of Mouth
Every retailer knows that the most powerful form of promotion they have available is the buzz of comments they can create within the buying public. A consumer talking to other consumer what really gets shopper’s attention and traffic into your Store. So it should come as no shock that right alongside the incredible ascent in the use of mobile internet devices, there has emerged an explosion in the ways people communicate with each other.

The growth of this social media has transformed the world of word of mouth advertising from a local to a global phenomenon. Retailers who understand this and have adapted to this new landscape have seen their visibility expand, and their reach extend to areas that seemed out of range even a few short years ago.

Generating traffic to both your website, and your brick and mortar locations, has been utterly transformed for retailers who have developed a seamless interface between their web-presence and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, along with myriad other bookmarking applications.

Mobile eCommerce has arrived and is changing the shopping public’s interaction with the internet – and you – in fundamental ways that directly impact the bottom line of every retailer who is moving with this tidal wave of innovation and change.

What is emerging from this new environment is dramatically enhanced ease of use for shoppers. And there is no greater guarantee of customer loyalty to your operation than making their interaction with you as easy, and effective as possible. The continued growth and development of mobile eCommerce is the cutting edge of that continued interaction – and the key to maintaining and expanding your customer’s engagement at the point of sale – which they now hold in their hand.

Benefits of eCommerce for Small & Medium Retail

Integrated retail systems are hugely important for your small business if you want to stand the test of time in this ever expanding digital world. Having an eCommerce Go Onlinesystem for your company will open up new sales avenues and can drastically increase your exposure. Not only could an eCommerce systems increase the overall performance of your business, but they could also positively aid the efficiency and and profitability of your business by making the operational processes much easier.

Integrated promotions-

Integrated Point of Service (POS) application can be a very effective tool when dealing with eCommerce. A good application will be able to customize to your own specific requirements. When sales are generated the checkout application will automatically create your receipts, remind discounts, list available promotional offers and assist user to complete a transaction.

You could also configure the system itself so that your company logo or graphics are displayed when the automatic receipts are emailed to the buyer. This can drastically increase your overall look of professionalism and could increase customer engagement.

Integrated Loyalty solutions

Loyalty redemption is an excellent way of retaining customers and getting them back to store whether online or offline for repeat business. eCommerce systems allow you to have greater control over these programs. You could have special days and discounts; for example you could set the system to allow customers to have greater discounts during the holiday period, or on their birthday.

Integrated Loyalty point redemption with an eCommerce application is great way to engage shoppers and make sure that they do not wander and continue to stay loyally tied up with your Brand.

Taking Other Avenues

Business is always competitive. In order for your small business to stay in the game and be ahead of your competition you should always be looking to utilize new avenues when it comes to; promotion, getting new customers, and re-selling to old customers. Multi-channel retailing is a great way to achieve this.

By using eCommerce you may be able to aid sales when it comes to mCommerce, mobile marketing, telephone ordering and other forms of multi-channel retailing. This is because you will be able to collect crucial details about your clients. For example you could:

  • Collect and opt-in email address to send out newsletters and offers.
  • You could ask customers for their address and phone number.
  • You could provide telephone details for people who would rather conduct business over the phone.

By using all of the multi-channel retailing methods you may be able to drastically increase the overall success of your business.

Other Benefits of eCommerce

Small businesses that are online have unlimited possibilities. Analytics is one of the most recent innovations in the retail sector. It allows you to view valuable statistics from not only customers, but visitors to your website. This means that you will be able to pinpoint flaws in your business. For example, if a large number of people are leaving on a certain website page then analytics will show you that information; or it could show you information about where your main bulk of visitors are from. This information can be very valuable and could help you to make decisions that could drastically increase the success of your company.



Era of Modern Retail (in India) begins with FDI

The Indian Retail Industry is the 5th largest retail destination and the second most  attractive market for investment in the globe after Vietnam as reported by Global Research firm AT  Kearney‘s Era of Modern Retail begins with FDI. The  growing popularity of Indian Retail sector has resulted in growing awareness of  quality products and brands

All Indian households have traditionally enjoyed the convenience of calling up the corner grocery/ Mom & Pop or the “kirana” store, which is all too familiar with their brand preferences, offers credit with door delivery. New Mall based shopping formats are gaining popularity in most cities today, the price-sensitive Indian shopper has reached out to stores such as Big Bazaar mainly for the steep discounts and bulk prices, although most shoppers still prefer the convenience and access offered by the local store.

So how would these Western multi-brand stores such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour strategize their entry into the country and gain access to the average Indian household?

Wal-Mart has already entered the market through its partnership with Bharti, and gained opportunity for some early observations. The company’s entry into China sure must have brought some understanding on catering to a large, diverse market, and perspectives on buying behavior in Asian households. Carrefour on the other hand has launched its wholesale cash and carry operations in the country for professional businesses and retailers. The only ways we see these retail giants gain some quick wins while reaching out to the Indian consumer are-

For one, they will effectively harness their expertise with cold storage technologies to lure customers with fresh and exotic vegetables, fruits and organic produce.

Secondly, they will attract Indian consumer with a range of inspirational global foods and household brands.

Thirdly, by supporting domestic farmers will try ensuring supplies of essential raw materials to them.

Surely, these should engage shoppers’ and farmers interest–but what needs to be seen is whether they can effectively combine these benefits, with the familiarity, convenience and personalized shopping experiences that the local Mom & Pop  or “kirana” stores have always offered.

In emerging markets where FDI has been allowed, it has been observed that organized retail can’t grow beyond a point. The average share of Modern Retail in China is about 25%. Back home where it is open to large Indian corporations, only about 25 to 27% of trade is through Modern Retail. Extensive Market research indicates that an average family does three kinds of Shopping- daily, weekly and monthly. In monthly shopping, people usually buy groceries in bulk from larger stores for better deals. Weekly & daily purchases are top-up purchases and the key driver here is convenience. This is largely driven by door-to-door delivery. Modern Retail will struggle to offer such a facility.

Indian organized retail industry is one of the Sunrise sectors with huge growth potential.

Total retail market in India stood at USD 350 billion in 2007-08 and is estimated to attain USD 573 billion by 2012-13.

India is the second most attractive retail destination‘s globally from among thirty emergent markets. Foreign companies ‘attraction to India is the billion-plus population. Also, there are huge employment opportunities in retail sector in India. India‘s retail industry is the second largest sector, after agriculture, which provides employment. FDI in Retail is a blessing which would lead to massive job generation, inflow of foreign investments in villages, reduce farm wastage, provide farmers’ their due in form of higher prices for their produce and will not have any impact on a traditional Mom & Pop store or ” kirana” merchants in any way whatsoever. The strong back-end infrastructure of organized Retail would help reduce wastage from farm production and improve efficiency of a highly-fragmented food supply chain in India and give the much needed push to small & medium scale manufacturers where they can utilize multi-brand Retail chains as marketing interface to promote their brand among masses.

iVend Retail Management Suite is a complete solution from CitiXsys. The suite provides retailers a real time view of their operations with centralized control enabling effective and faster decision-making. It helps retailers succeed in their business by providing connected modules including: in-store management, eCommerce, Customer Loyalty Programs, Pricing & Promotions, Inventory Management & Planning, and Business Intelligence & Analytics

Retailing to e-tailing

Retailing has a long history, dating back to medieval traders and merchants. Since hundreds of years, retailers existed in defined geographies, with limited access to customer eCommerceneeds &  their shopping behavior with merchandise often limited to a single product category. All of that changed with the industrial revolution. With average incomes rising, markets emerged at a steady pace, and so did the consumer’s craving for consumer products.  This led to the rise of modern retailing with subsequent evolution of various channels of distribution, customer communication and transaction.

Modern retailing has rocketed with introduction of internet & mobility leading to wide acceptance of eCommerce & mCommerce platforms which in turn emerge as one of the fastest growing industries in world with likes of Amazon, eBay etc…  By 2020, online sales are projected to be USD500 billion or 20 percent of nonfood retail sales. For many types of retailers, the percent-to-total sales could even be higher, as eCommerce growth continues to significantly complement overall retail sales growth. Much of this will be fueled by the accelerating use of mobile platforms for shopping online.

Forward looking retailers have started integrating their brick-and-mortar stores with integrated Web stores to penetrate deeper into the market & boost their sales productivity. With Integrated eCommerce solution retailers no longer struggle to redefine the role of the store in a multichannel, millennial-led world.  They see Webstores as extended medium of their traditional store and want their customers to shop there with same ease & comfort.

With iVend Retail Management Suite retailers can successfully engage consumers wherever it makes sense in order to make it convenient for them to shop. Integrated eCommerce, Loyalty application and intelligent displays integrated with mobile devices can offer customers a satisfying multichannel experience that keeps them engaged. It is clear that all retailers need to aggressively embrace customer-shopping platforms of all types unless they find a way to create a differentiating value proposition that exploits the physical store advantages in a more compelling way.

For more details contact a CitiXsys representative in your region or mail us on [email protected]

Benefits of BI for Small & Medium Businesses

Business intelligence and analytics have long been pivotal tools for large corporations and financial firms, but these strategies are equally effective for small and Business Intelligencemedium-sized businesses. In the modern marketplace, business intelligence and analytics can give your retail enterprise a crucial edge up on your competitors.

iVend Analytics offers an intuitive, user-friendly interface that allows business owners to track customer trends and turn data into meaningful, actionable intelligence. With this software, you will be able to accelerate purchasing, more accurately manage pricing and promotion, and ultimately increase sales volume. Business intelligence tools provide an accurate, easy-to-read view of the costs, liabilities, and risks involved with your business. They make it easy to decipher customer purchase patterns. They simplify back-end procedures such as inventory and stocking. And, they help you decide when to kick off a promotional campaign, and with what products, based on your customer patterns.

iVend Analytics provides business intelligence in a user-friendly format. Dashboards cover various sectors of your retail enterprise, and these dashboards present vital information in an instantly readable, visual format so you don’t have to go searching for trends in haphazard data fields. An associative search function allows you to quickly and easily find the insight you need to make vital business decisions. The dashboard templates are customizable for category management, meaning you can put the data that matters most at your fingertips. Thus iVend Retail software is highly flexible, and can grow with your business.

A further benefit of the iVend analytics is that it functions seamlessly with other business tools in iVend Retail. Point of sale, customer Loyalty, eCommerce and Mobile solutions from iVend Retail all work in tandem with iVend Analytics. The business intelligence end of iVend Retail, iVend Analytics works to seamlessly integrate the other tools in iVend Retail, and indeed all aspects of your retail business enterprise, so that you can make better-informed business decisions.

The iVend retail suite covers all ends of the business, from customer relations at the register, to back-of-the-store functions, to head office procedures. The software is fast, secure, is SAP and PCI certified, can integrate with almost any ERP, and is powerful enough to handle large retailers with hundreds of stores. Whether you are a single store or a retail chain with an online component, iVend Retail can help you simplify the many complexities of running a retail business. Our software can help you optimize pricing, promotion, purchasing, and all facets of retail, in order to increase your bottom line.

As an example of the type of scenario iVend can help you with, consider a promotion designed to increase sales volume during the holiday season. How do you ensure that excess stock after the holiday season rush is not sold under the same clearance as during the holiday promotion? Business intelligence from iVend can help you plan ahead to not only decide how best to reach your market with efficient, targeted sales, but also how to manage those sales through the duration.

Business intelligence software can help you simplify and streamline all aspects of your business. The improved efficiency delivered by sound business intelligence can help your enterprise save money and increase net profit. iVend Analytics and the iVend Retail Suite are the superior choice in business intelligence, because the software boasts a harmonious blend of speed, security, and power, with a user-friendly interface. In order to be competitive in the modern marketplace, business intelligence software from iVend is an obvious choice for your business.