I started working with Retail Pro 8 in 2004 doing integrations and plugins. I soon joined Retail Dimensions, Inc. full time and expanded my skills to work with Retail Pro 9 by attending some classes in Folsom, CA where Retail Pro is published. I became a key developer at RDi on these applications and worked with many retailers over the years with quite a variety of business needs.
It didn't take long to learn that a retail business is just like any other businesses--totally unique. There are different ways of dealing with shipping and fulfillment, a plethora of back-end CRMs, different levels of expertise, and always something new to learn. As customer retention programs have taken hold of the industry over the last decade, another level of differentiation has arisen--and with it increased complexity. Gift cards, membership programs, loyalty points, and other such incentives to keep customers coming back have been the big thing. But here is where very careful analysis of every aspect of the solution is critical. Customers tend to watch those points very carefully to make sure they get every reward coming to them. And of course retailers want to make sure they're not giving too much away.
As technology evolves, I've also seen new payment methods enter the scene. Online payment integration is becoming very popular among customers and retailers are scrambling to offer what the customers are increasingly expecting. Additionally, more and more information is being stored in the cloud. From inventory to customers to payments, a business no longer needs to have a set of computers in the back room and an IT staff to manage databases and routers and wires. As long as there's internet, everything else is in the cloud.
Following this, online stores are now an expected part of every physical store. Thus, keeping the products and sales synchronized between the two systems is critical for proper reporting and to prevent oversell. eCommerce integration is an important segment of this business.
Keeping up with all of this is a challenge. But it's what I do. It's my passion.