The big question on everyone’s mind? There are two. Some will immediately be wondering whether they have to switch. The answer: at this point, no. Retail Link 1.0 will still be available for the foreseeable future. If you’re a power user and you want to stick with what you know, you can.
Other suppliers want to know whether this means we can finally use modern browsers and devices. We speculated that Retail Link 2.0 would offer cross-platform compatibility, so this question was top of mind for us. The answer to this question is a resounding yes.
The collective huge sigh of relief completed, lets look more closely at what we now know about Retail Link 2.0.
- “Retail Link 2.0 will transform our way of working,” said Rollin Ford at the October 2013 Analyst Meeting . The vision is better collaboration between supplier and merchant, not just data sharing.
- “We can now combine our internal data, our POS data, our inventory data with external sources of information, as well as with our supplier partners, our retail supplier partners,”said Karenann Terrell, also in October. The prediction was that Retail Link 2.0 would be able to include unstructured data, including information from social listening.
- Retail Link 2.0 will adhere to W3C web standards. W3C, the Worldwide Web Consortium, is the international consortium that creates standards for the internet. Using W3C standards-compliant code ensures that Retail Link will work in more environments.
- The new software will be written using HTML5, the current version of HyperText Markup Language, which is the language used to create modern web pages. This will extend the functionality of Retail Link and provide many more options for programmers.
- Word from the Retail Link Users Group is that the data is currently a day behind but is heading toward near-real-time data — the current prediction is that data will be available within an hour.
- An attendee of the RLUG who saw a demonstration was impressed by the interface, which offers total company, department, category, item, or customized item groupings with some exciting data visualization capability.
Current prediction is that Retail Link will reach suppliers by the end of 2015.