Friday May 13, 2022

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is looking to leverage the rapid digitalisation drive across the retail sector, as global and domestic retail chains aim for an improved physical store experience driven by technology for customers, and scale up their e-commerce and digital presence.

Over the last five years, the company has started investing in building its own intellectual property in areas where traditional solutions lack in providing experience or insights that retailers are looking for.

Shankar Narayanan, business group head (retail cluster), TCS, told FE that offering frictionless checkout with self-serve options, ability to shop from anywhere, personalised discounts, paperless receipts or easy returns are some of the key gaps in experience provided by traditional systems. “New business models like subscriptions, products as a service, sustainable shopping are also fast evolving in retail. Traditional solutions and data are not poised to support such future business models,” Narayanan said.

Traditional point of sale software are monolithic platforms which are hard to scale up. These large, complex systems were once considered state-of-the-art technology and were designed for high performance and reliability. However, with advances in technology it is possible for businesses to benefit from more granular components based on the target customer experience.

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According to TCS, Covid-induced disruptions have had a deep impact on the retail sector, which is undergoing a significant change as companies take leaps to digitise operations. There is a rapid digitalisation drive across the sector so that retailers are able to better manage their business and customer expectations, which have undergone a sea change since the pandemic hit.

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“Retailers aim to provide their customers with a seamless shopping experience across channels, allowing them to buy, fulfil, and return their purchases the way they want, as well as a variety of payment methods and a hyper-personalised experience. They also want their checkout platform to be cost-effective and future-proof. It is highly improbable that retailers will be able to accomplish all of this using a standard monolith platform,” Narayanan said.

It is to bridge this gap that TCS has used the latest digital technologies at play to launch different solutions for the retail sector. TCS OmniStore is one such solution, which is the technology major’s own IP to drive omni-channel checkout experiences through an AI-powered unified commerce platform.

TCS’s retail vertical has witnessed a 20-21% year-on-year growth in FY22 led by significant acceleration of digital transformation demand in the retail space.

“We also delivered a pipeline which was one of our best. Over $5 billion in order book in the last financial year sets us up nicely for FY23 and beyond. This pipeline is at an all-time high, so the demand for tech talent and digital talent needs in this sector is also at an all-time high at this point in time,” Narayanan said.

The company has recently worked with US-based workwear and accessories company Duluth Trading Company to drive its omni-channel checkout experiences using TCS OmniStore.

Narayanan said before Omnistore, Duluth was using a legacy point of sales solution in its stores, which was blocking their vision for a seamless move towards a complete digital experience. “Now they deliver faster check-out with improved visibility of items purchased across channels. For store associates, TCS OmniStore provides real-time access to universal carts, promotions and orders, item information and inventory with connected context between online and store. Store associates also leverage this information to upsell and cross-sell, as well as offer personalised recommendations,” he said.

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