If you haven’t yet determined how Low-Code development can revitalize your retail business, then now is the time to strategize and implement new technology. Low-Code combined with robotic process automation (RPA) and AI are restructuring the retail industry.
In fact, let me be so bold as to say that the future of retail is automation, and Low-Code application platforms (LCAP) make this possible for almost every company.
According to Gartner’s research, 65% of application development will be attributed to Low-Code innovations by 2024. Researchers also predict that the market will grow 23% in 2021. Here’s a glimpse into how citizen developers are restructuring their retail businesses, accelerating fulfillment, increasing customer satisfaction, and strengthening customer loyalty through Low-Code innovations.
Automating Workflows with Citizen Developers
Low-Code application platforms (LCAP) empower your company’s citizen developers without burdening your IT staff. Whether you depend on outsourcing for your tech needs or employ an in-house team, manual coding requires lots of time and money. That’s why many companies put off or refuse workflow automation and necessary upgrades, despite their employees’ cries for change. But LCAPs like Mendix allow your citizen developers to create workflow automation and data integrations with little IT involvement. After all, no one knows your workflows and processes better than those who use them every day, which is why citizen developers are so important to the future of retail.
Using robotic process automation (RPA), your existing team can rapidly build, deploy, and operate enterprise-grade applications for automated workflows. This reduces errors while saving time and money. And your company benefits from a highly customized, efficient, and cost-effective process.
Take the example of 2 Sisters Food Group the UK’s largest poultry supplier and a multi-billion-pound food product manufacturer whose brands include Holland’s and Matthew Walker. 2 Sisters Food Group had a financial transaction processing workflow that was largely manual. This Excel-driven process was slow and prone to human error. To streamline this process, 2 Sisters accelerated their financial transaction processing by implementing RPA to automate the repetitive manual tasks such as data entry, then built a low code application (in this case built in Mendix and completed in only 4 weeks) to integrate those RPA tools as well as automate the business workflow amongst a variety of applications. As a result, 2 Sisters Food Group was able to automate 98% of its financial transaction processing. This resulted in speeding transactions, increasing transaction accuracy, reducing the manual check required for transactions, and saving 2.5 hours of accounts receivable employee time each day.
This is just one example, and it barely scratches the surface of the benefits of using LCAP +RPA. In fact, LCAP+RPA will improve any workflow in your organization that requires repetitive manual tasks (such as data entry) and multiple software applications.
Increasing Fulfillment Rates with Robot Automation
Low-Code and RPA become really powerful when you add artificial intelligence (AI) into the mix.
You’ve probably heard about how innovative e-commerce giants like Amazon have adopted AI and employ fleets of robots to sustain their massive operations. Robotic automation streamlines retail warehouse operations without expanding headcount, reducing overhead expenses, which is crucial for fulfillment centers such as Amazon’s.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “If these giant companies are employing this kind of technological boost, how can mid-sized companies survive, let alone thrive?”
Take heart: even smaller enterprises can reap substantial benefits from multi-bot solutions and multi-tenant distribution centers that are made possible through Low-Code application platforms. A multi-bot solution pairs autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) with Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS), which nearly eliminates upfront capital costs. This approach allows you to monitor demand in real-time and employ as many (or as few) AMRs as necessary at any given time. Additionally, smaller companies can take advantage of multi-tenant distribution centers, allowing them to share the cost of retail warehouse automation with other vendors.
Of course, you’ll need the guidance of experienced developers to help you create the right solution from this mix of technologies. I just so happen to know a few of those.
Revamping Dated Technology
As mentioned previously, manual coding is laborious, time-consuming, and expensive. And for all those reasons, it can be inflexible. As a result, at times your company can’t respond to industry or company changes with enough speed. Outdated legacy applications, including unwieldy spreadsheets (look for my upcoming blog on the Attack of the Profit Snatchers which addresses this problem specifically), further complicate the issue.
And when it’s time for a change, the IT department is often overloaded and likely unprepared to tackle upgrades and integrations for overly complex or dated systems. Outsourcing these monumental tasks also has its obstacles, mostly time and cost.
But with Low-Code technology, your citizen developers can employ an automated process to update and then integrate your outdated systems with RPA and AI. Once accomplished, they can create any automation they want, from workflows to supply chains while easily making changes as required.
Imagine the possibilities if key employees could rebuild entire databases at ten times the speed while managing changes and deploying applications.
Capitalizing on Custom Apps
In the future of retail, consumers are always shopping, and digital shopping is growing almost five times faster than sales in brick-and-mortar stores. Not shocking. And with more shoppers researching purchases and buying through mobile apps, consumer expectations are rising. This raises a critical question, does your consumer app measure up?
To improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, friction-free shopping through high-quality mobile apps is a must. This kind of shopping lets customers skip the parking lots, checkout lines, empty shelves, and crowds. It’s about browsing and buying on their own terms.
Low-Code application development and AI through Tresbu Digital and Mendix equips your citizen developers with everything they need to efficiently generate customized apps. This means your company can build a mobile shopping experience that exceeds customer expectations and boosts revenue.
Maximizing Supply-Chain Visibility
Retailers want to ensure the right goods arrive at the right place and at the right time, but in today’s world of on-demand shopping and instant delivery, it’s a monumental challenge.
That’s because traditional supply chain systems rely upon past data. But since the past is often not the best predictor of the future, it allows more room for error. The current system is long and slow, making it the enemy of a resilient and agile supply chain.
But customized, AI-powered workflows employ Low-Code technology to break the old supply chain molds. This proactive approach to retail gives you real-time data quickly while generating intelligent predictions about the future. This means you stay ahead of your supply chain rather than reacting to changes after the fact.
The takeaway? The future of retail and its supply chains lies in the hands of AI-equipped citizen developers. They can generate Low-Code workflows based upon intelligent algorithms that optimize delivery while balancing supply and demand.
Innovative Tools and Expertise Are at Your Disposal
It’s clear that the Low-Code/RPA/AI revolution is unavoidable, and employing these technologies is a necessity rather than a luxury. They are the future of retail. And it’s not just for the largest enterprises. Massive technology is now accessible for forward-thinking retailers of all sizes.
Placing a powerful Low-Code development platform in the hands of your citizen developers is an investment that won’t drain resources and will deliver a long-term ROI. And for some retailers, it can even rescue them from extinction.
If you would like to discuss how Tresbu Digital can help you move ahead, or if you are unsure how Tresbu Digital and Mendix can transform your retail business, or if you simply want to explore the possibilities, connect with us for more details.