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Service Oriented Architecture For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Fern Halper, Marcia Kaufman, Robin Bloor, Judith Hurwitz

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Chapter 27

Retail

In This Chapter

Spotlight Pty Ltd.

The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC

Virgin Entertainment Group

There was a time, not all that long ago, when a retailer could expect consumers to walk into a store and make a purchase based on the visible choices. If the consumers didn’t like what they saw, they might check out the store across town or perhaps look through a few catalogs, but there weren’t many other options.

That’s all changed. Today, retailers need to be able to anticipate how a consumer will want to interact with them at any moment, and they need to be ready to service that consumer through many different channels. For example, if a consumer wants to buy a complicated piece of technical equipment, she may choose to research prices and brands online and then make the purchase in a store. Or the consumer might decide to walk in to a large store to ask a real person for advice and then go home to make a purchase from an online retailer that offers a better price. Retailers recognize that the increase in retail options has led to a consumer base with very high expectations about quality, price, and selection. In addition, customer loyalty is hard for any retailer to maintain when just a little online research can help a consumer to locate new brands, find the right color or size, or a better price.

These trends in consumer behavior have helped to make an already competitive retail environment even more challenging. Although smaller stores still exist, the trend ...

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