IT distributor Avnet says that mobile, analytics and e-commerce are three key areas of growth in the retail space in 2015, and at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2015 outlined several new capacities to help retailers take advantage of these trends.
While a few retailers have pioneered the use of shopping through mobile apps, this is one area that is not yet widely adopted, according to Jim Bindon, director of vertical markets and SolutionsPath Engagement Service, at Avnet Americas. Where Avnet is developing capacity this year is in mobile security, which would ease more retailers adopting applications that Avnet is able to build for them.
“The biggest change that we’re seeing in the mobile space is mobile device management,” according Bindon. He explained that it’s something Avnet did not have a solid footing in in the last few years. With the company’s recent efforts, however, building mobile apps has become one of Avnet’s newer offerings. While he declined to talk specifics, Bindon said that it was working with “multiple software partners” to develop this business.
In the sphere of analytics, Avnet is positioning itself as the go-to company for provisioning data centre on both the hardware and software sides such as analytics, developing algorithms and dashboards, with one recent client being a bank. The company says that with the acquisition of 12 different service companies, its skills in this area have become “better and deeper.”
“Increasingly, retail capabilities are driven through the things you can do in the IT shop,” Bindon told CDN. “Can you support mobile commerce? Can you run analytics to get your logistics right to have the right products at the right places. Infrastructure matters.”
With its 2012 acquisition of Ascendant Technology LLC, which specializes in developing end-to-end IBM solutions, Avnet also added web commerce expertise to its portfolio.
“We have more platforms that we can do e-commerce on now,” Bindon said. “Last year we were generally an IBM-focused shop. Now we’ve expanded the base of retailers we can work with.”
This has included SHI, an IT provider based in Somerset, New Jersey, with whom Avnet is sharing a booth at this year’s NRF Big Show. With the help of Ascendant, Avnet has built e-commerce enabled websites for several retailers.
According to Bindon, there is tremendous potential for growth in these areas this year, as well as converged infrastructure and cloud services.
“The vertical market is growing probably at a conservative figure of 6 to 8 per cent year over year,” Bindon said. “Those are the five areas that we are driving across all of our industries.”