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Retail Ready

How will sci-fi technology streamline your store sales?

This story appears in the November 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

From smart scanning devices that tally purchases as customersshop to payment systems that work from a watch pad or mobile phone,some retail technology sounds more like science fiction thanreality. But new developments are becoming more affordable forentrepreneurs.

  • Systems integration andcustomization: Entry-level software applications, likethose by Celerant Technology Corp. (,Kliger-Weiss Infosystems Inc. (, and off-the-shelfpackages like Retail ICE ( or Retail Pro (,make it possible-and affordable-to link transactions withback-office functions like inventory and marketing, says BobAmster, principal at retail systems consulting firm RetailTechnology Group in Stamford, Connecticut.

Scott Langdoc, research director at Boston-based AMR ResearchInc., a technology research firm, agrees: "What used to be astand-alone cash register can now be the window to information[about] the entire customer purchasing experience and can extend tomarketing and merchandising programs for the entire store." Hesays capturing information about a customer's buying habitslets you customize offerings and loyalty incentives while choosingthe products, assortments and store layouts that work best.

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