According to new analysis in the UK from Frost & Sullivan, retail technology vendors are in a race to reposition themselves as solution partners to survive the intense competition in the retail market for point of sales (POS) systems, handheld terminals and tablet PCs. Bottom line growth is becoming increasingly dependent on retailers’ ability to leverage technology for managing complexities in customer, profitability and operational issues.

The World Quarterly Retail Systems Outlook on POS systems, handheld terminals and tablet PC markets, found that retailers are responding to the challenges by partnering with solution vendors that have leveraged newer radio frequency identification (RFID), smart card, and Wi-Fi technologies. This partnership is also helping them to prepare legacy systems for convergence.

"Retailers are undergoing accelerated business innovation in achieving profitable differentiation," says Frost & Sullivan program manager Shyam Krishnan.

"With rapidly increasing technology spending, retailers are seeking technology vendors that are willing to share rewards as well as risks and equipping themselves to match the retailers’ requirements is a challenge for the vendors."

The report claims that to cope with the intense market pressures, both new and pure play vendors have broadened their portfolio to offer end-to-end solutions. Technology vendors are focused on providing the retail value chain with multifunctional device architectures capable of forward and backward integration.

"As retail stores are becoming the focal point of technology convergence, there is a need for a ‘synchronous response retail enterprise’," explains Frost & Sullivan research analyst Kavitha Karthikeyan.

The report also found that retailers that wish to stand out from the crowd are showing great interest in handheld terminals that have evolved from its proven supply chain form factor to the real-time enabled mobile point of sale (MPOS), consumer, associate and manager productivity form factors. Meanwhile, technologies that can enable data capture and access for improved decision-making will remain growth drivers in developed and developing economies.

"POS replenishment in developed economies is driven by next generation, forward and backward integration-capable POS systems," says Krishnan.

"However, self-checkout is likely to form a part of the POS replenishment budget. In developing economies, POS systems continue to offer growth opportunities."