Technology and business go hand-in-hand. The reliance on the internet and networks is ever increasing. Some people thought that simple brick-and-mortars businesses, like retailers, were impervious to change. There was increased competition, but the majority of people still go out to the store when they need something right away. Only now, tech is making its way into retail stores in bigger and better ways than ever before. If you’re not adopting some of these methods, then those that are will soon eclipse you.
First, let’s look at the most common way that we’re seeing retailers incorporate tech over the past few years. It’s all about the point-of-sale. Self-service kiosks have become a common sight and one that has very few drawbacks. For one, they free up your employees, meaning they can spend their time on other duties. It can also mean you might not need as many of them at all. They also improve the speed and efficiency of checkouts. Meaning customers spend less time waiting to get served. Of course, it’s a good idea to have some physical presence for those customers who aren’t quite tech savvy enough to use them, as well. And for answering other questions related to the business.
One of the benefits of the digital age is how easy it is to amass data that can help you with your business decisions. For example, it can help you understand the behavior and habits of specific individual consumers. One of the easiest ways to start collecting that data is to get consumers to start giving it freely. That’s just one of the benefits of introducing a digital loyalty card for your business. When you can identify who is buying what, you can better understand the people who come into your business. Meaning you can change the layout, promotions and marketing to direct them where they’re likely to spend more money. You might even offer them the use of their loyalty points to reduce the price on the things they’re most likely to buy.
It’s not all about helping the customer buy things, either. It’s also about offering them a smoother process all around. Retailers need to have as helpful a customer support system as anyone. Are you operating a retailer with different locations or different services on offer? Then you need to give consumers direct access. It’s no help having them stuck talking to someone who can’t help them. That’s why retailers need to consider upgrading to a proper phone system that can promptly redirect callers to where they need to go. You need to take a similar approach online. You need to make sure your support is designed to filter consumers towards the specific people that they need to be talking to.
The above approaches are some that are commonly adopted and will be some of the easiest to incorporate. There’s a rising trend that is still ripe for taking advantage of, however. The connectivity of all kinds of items to networks. This is called the Internet of Things. In retail, it can be used, for example, to offer customers the ability to scan and get detailed information on any item. Or to help you sense when the inventory on shelves is low. Setting up an Internet of Things framework can help you and customers stay connected throughout the whole experience. Meaning you can collect even more data on the operation of the store, making even better decisions that before.
Inventory is going to be one of the chief concerns of any retailer. Not just on the shelves, but in storage as well. Keeping track of your inventory isn’t just important for ensuring that your supply chain is working as it should be. It helps you track products, finding which ones are the best sellers and which aren’t doing so well. Then you can take those poor sellers and mark them down to get rid of the stock. It’s also a vital way of fighting the risk of loss. Theft is an unfortunate reality for a lot of retailers. However, an electronic inventory system helps you find a lot more accountability for those who have access to that inventory. You need a system that manages your inventory on an item-to-item basis. This is an important part of seeing the overall profitability of your business.
The proper use of tech in a retailer is good for everyone. It helps the customer and gives them a smoother experience. It takes the workload off your staff. It even helps you keep things organized and in the right place. Make sure you’re thinking about some of the above solutions for you store or risk falling way behind your competitors.
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