By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: IBM Australia today displayed concepts for the so-called next generation retail store, including a new gift registry platform designed to simplify in-store logistics.

“The gift registry concept is a highly beneficial one for retailers and their customers, but currently the process has been frustrating. What we are looking at is a newer generation, so that someone can be else where in Australia and go online to access the registry,” said IBM Australia solution specialist, Peter Butler.

The new system will allow consumers to check stock location and inventory of localised retailers, order and pay for products, and even arrange home delivery and specialist installation via the one simplified online process, potentially feeding into home theatre and other electrical retail markets.

“If you think about home theatre, there is a whole service industry there and [the new gift registry concept] is designed for those types of applications. They are the major style of solutions used, making it really open for customer special orders,” Butler told

Butler believes retailers who involve their businesses with the new system will stand to benefit the most.

“If you think about where retail is going, it’s all about offering consumers services. The retailers who have the better valued added service and can provide that, that’s where the people are going to go.

“It’s becoming more widespread because of the needs of installation and providing ongoing service, as well as multiple deliveries delivered directly from the supplier to the home.”

IBM Asia Pacific global solutions manager, Matt Stryker, believes that the online retail environment has influenced and will continue to influence consumers in their shopping habits.

“In the retail marketplace there’s been an increased sophistication of online retailing, and its really influencing the way consumers think about shopping. The expectation from the internet generation, about how they think about their bricks and mortar shopping experience, is really driving a lot of innovation.

“Retailers understand that the store is returning as the point of differentiation because of a lot of different factors, and so they are looking to innovate within their stores, but in many cases their infrastructure is changing and really challenging them for growth,” he said.

“The SIF (Store Integration Framework) is an open and robust infrastructure designed specifically for retail and designed specifically to support growth within the store, allowing retailers to have a much better view of their customers so they can address their needs better, and so they can then create a much more loyal following from their customers.”