To progress towards a frictionless future and stay ahead of the changing retail landscape, retailers need to create sustainable business growth while realizing value each step of the way. With prohibitive legacy systems, a crowded market, and competing business needs, deploying innovative solutions and experiences can feel almost impossible. Using a microservices architecture can help. Microservices are a cloud native architectural approach in which a single application is composed of many loosely coupled and independently deployable smaller components, or services. These loosely coupled services, like loyalty and promotions or returns management, are easier to maintain, develop, change, and test because they are deployed independently. This enables fast and reliable application delivery and helps an organization evolve its technology stack gradually – without putting the rest of the infrastructure at risk.
Here, we will look at how a microservices platform provides solutions to three common challenges retailers are working to solve:
1. Maintaining agility
To deliver the shopping experiences that customers want, retailers and the tools they use, need to move quickly. The needs of the business will change rapidly in this competitive landscape and retailers need to be able to keep up without affecting day-to-day operations or at the expense of a more frictionless store in the future. Proprietary legacy hardware and software systems, often fraught with constraints, can make it hard for retailers to incorporate the independent functions that the business requires. A microservices platform provides dynamic scaling, so you can add one component at a time while benefiting from native integration with your existing infrastructure, respond quickly, then get back to addressing long-term projects and goals.
2. Winning customers’ attention
As customers’ expectations shift, retailers need to be able to craft different customer experiences and support a variety of shopping methods, including scan & go, buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and curbside delivery. With a microservices commerce platform, you use data to create new, more personal customer journeys to keep shoppers engaged and make them more interested in shopping with you in the future.
3. Building a solid foundation for a frictionless future
If you want to adopt technologies like artificial intelligence, edge computing, computer vision, sensors, and mesh networks, or capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT) to reduce friction for shoppers, your architecture needs to be able to support these innovations. Microservices can help you build services that create value for shoppers by reducing the parts of the shopping experience during which they experience the most friction, like checkout. And by enabling IoT and touchpoints to attach to the platform through a rich API layer, you get real-time data, connected across all platforms, and systems, and can use it to provide better customer service and improve operations.
Toshiba’s ELERA™ Commerce Platform can help you keep up with customers’ expectations and create a robust, flexible foundation that enables you to accelerate growth and evolve as slowly or as quickly as your business needs. Designed for the future of retail, ELERA uses three pillars: core microservices, IoT and touchpoints, and data solutions to support retailers as they accelerate towards the future.
“Toshiba’s new commerce platform, ELERA, is an excellent microservices based solution for providing frictionless modern retail experiences,” Kirill Gavrylyuk, Partner Director, Azure Data, Azure Cosmos DB said. “We are delighted to have ELERA leverage Azure Cosmos DB and our joint partnership allows our teams to work closely to offer maximum flexibility, scalability and performance to the customers with record deployment times.”
For more on Toshiba’s ELERA Commerce Platform, how it pairs with Toshiba’s TCx™ Sky operating system and how an evolutionary microservices approach can give you the tools you need to prepare your business for the future, read the whitepaper “Accelerating the Future of Retail With a Microservices Commerce Platform”.