Large retail organizations expanding their operations can struggle to manage their IT infrastructure and networks. Increasing headcount to meet the growing demand for deployment, configuration and management services may not be an option. Automating with traditional script-based methods may also present a challenge as organizations may find they lack the depth and breadth of coding skills required to be effective. Enter low-code and no-code automation, two approaches that promise to make IT automation coding more accessible and just as effective.

Automation greatly expands the reach and productivity of your current IT teams and gives retail organizations increased flexibility in warehouse, inventory, and network operations.

For retailers trying to compete, innovate, and modernize, low-code automation systems are quickly becoming commonplace. With the global low-code platform market revenue expected to reach approximately 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2024, it is clear organizations worldwide recognize the immense value of low-code automation for efficiency, scalability, and reduced operating costs.

Fortunately, automating retail branch networks, logistics, and workflows doesn’t have to be a major lift. Low- and no-code automation meet your organization where it’s at, supplementing workflows seamlessly whether your retail operations have a robust engineering team or none at all. Growing companies have a wide range of automation platforms to choose from based on factors including budget, customization, time, and maintenance.

Want to stay on top of the latest modernization trends while trimming extra expenses and focusing on efficiency? Read on to learn more about low- and no-code automation for retailers.

What is Low-Code Automation?

Retailers have long managed complex logistics, scaling networks across thousands of locations and navigating labor shortages, changing demand, and supply chain disruptions over recent years. Now more than ever, retailers need flexible solutions.

Pliant’s low-code automation tool uses a visual interface along with user coding knowledge to simplify coding projects and enable IT and engineering teams to deploy workflow and network configuration upgrades significantly faster. It’s the ideal middle ground for teams aiming to increase their output without losing the ability to add their own code as needed.

Benefits of Low-Code Automation

For retailers with extensive operations, implementing a scalable automation solution is crucial for maximizing ROI. The integration of technology systems can support branch operations such as:

  • Point-of-sale systems
  • Inventory management software
  • Communication networks
  • Role-based access control

With more data and built-in workflows to capitalize on it, resources can be distributed consistently but individually among branches, meeting growing customer needs while minimizing costs.

Finally, retailers will be able to monitor the performance of each branch to identify areas for improvement in:

  • Sales
  • Profitability
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Operational metrics

Standardizing networks and infrastructure across locations presents an exciting optimization opportunity. The flexibility of a low-code solution can handle the scale of a large, integrated retail environment while retaining the ability to diversify processes for the unique needs of individual locations. Retailers are then able to focus on serving customers and enhancing their competitive advantage in the retail market.

Applications of Low-Code Tools

Visual Development: Low-code platforms provide a visual canvas where users can drag and drop components, reducing the need for complex coding. This visual approach allows technical and non-technical users to collaborate in application development.

Rapid Application Deployment: With low-code tools, applications can be developed and deployed in a fraction of the time compared to traditional coding methods. This accelerated pace enables organizations to respond quickly to changing business requirements.

Increased Collaboration: By simplifying the development process, stakeholders from various departments can actively participate in creating solutions tailored to their unique needs.

➡️ Pliant is a full-stack orchestration platform using low-code building blocks to facilitate integrations and build automations to connect expansive and complex enterprises. 

What is No-Code Automation?

No-code automation is designed to help teams with no coding knowledge still access the benefits of integrated and automated tools. It can be used to build apps and upgrade business processes, all with visual tools instead of manual coding.

Users don’t need to be able to use APIs or create personalized integrations. With pre-built elements that users can simply plug and play, retailers can expect significant time savings when using no-code automation tools to automate workflows and unburden logistics.

Benefits of No-Code Automation

No-code automation opens up access to development, offering it not only to what has traditionally been a highly technical field but to logistics, product, and network operations teams. With the right tool, retail organizations can build data pipelines and simple automations or transform their network management.

Adopters of no-code automation platforms can take advantage of these benefits:

  • Empowered non-technical employees
  • Faster expansion of services and infrastructure
  • Reduced configuration time

Which Option is Right for You?

When weighing the decision between no-code and low-code automation solutions for your retail organization, several key considerations including cost, time, security, maintenance, and customization will factor into your decision.

  1. Cost: Low-code automation typically requires some level of coding knowledge, so keep current team resources and abilities in mind when arriving at a decision. The initial investment will often pay off in increased efficiency and reduced operating costs over time. On the other hand, no-code automation tools offer a more budget-friendly option upfront, as they require minimal technical expertise and can be implemented quickly without additional development expenses. However, for efficiently managing a distributed infrastructure and extending networks to new locations, the capabilities of no-code may fall short.
  2. Time: If time is of the essence and you need to deploy automation solutions rapidly, a no-code automation platform may be the way to go. With its drag-and-drop interface and pre-built elements, you can streamline workflows and processes without waiting for custom code to be developed. Conversely, while low-code automation solutions may take slightly longer to set up initially, they offer greater flexibility and scalability in the long run, allowing for more complex automations tailored to your specific needs.
  3. Security: Both low-code and no-code automation platforms prioritize security, but it’s essential to evaluate the level of control and customization each option provides. Low-code solutions may offer more granular control over security measures, allowing you to implement custom protocols and integrations to safeguard sensitive data. No-code platforms, while generally secure, may have limitations in terms of customization and may rely more heavily on built-in security features.
  4. Maintenance: Consider the ongoing maintenance requirements of your chosen automation solution. Low-code automation platforms often require regular updates and maintenance to keep pace with evolving technologies and business needs. However, they also offer greater control, allowing you to adapt quickly to changing requirements. No-code platforms require less maintenance overall, but may need additional support as your organization grows.
  5. Customization: The level of customization needed for your automated workflows will ultimately play a large part in your decision to adopt a low-code or no-code solution. Low-code platforms provide more flexibility for customization, allowing developers to incorporate custom logic, integrations, and business rules into their workflows. No-code platforms, while offering simplicity and ease of use, may have limitations in terms of customization, particularly for more complex or industry-specific requirements.

💡Want to see Pliant’s IT automation capabilities in action?

Check out how Pliant improved this retail organization’s bottom line.

Final Thoughts

The right choice between low-code and no-code automation depends on your retail organization’s specific challenges. Standardizing network operations and distribution infrastructure with automated IT tools is how retailers will win in 2024.

As a highly scalable tool, Pliant can handle the complexities of managing a vast retail network while still delivering the efficiency and optimization benefits of automation. If you’re looking for a flexible, vendor-agnostic, low-code infrastructure automation provider, Pliant is your go-to platform to get it done.

Get in touch with us to learn more.