Many retailers are finding it a challenge to match their instore experience to the virtual world that is internet shopping. There is a lot for bricks and mortar stores on the High Street or in the Mall to compete with. At the same time, nothing beats being able to see and touch an item of clothing or shoes for real. Although fulfilment options are becoming more advanced every day, with some retailers even offering 1 hour delivery, nothing can beat the immediate gratification of walking out of the store with your new goods in hand. And with the wealth of new technology available, it has never been easier for retailers to make the most of opportunities in store. By using the right retail technology to provide shoppers with the information and service that they need, retailers that get it right should see their sales soar.
Here are our top five things to look for when you are considering new retail technology for your stores and business.
Fashion, footwear and lifestyle are sectors where one size certainly does not fit all. The ability to setup and report by product and associated colours and sizes is crucial for managing stock. Holding detailed information about how each range (as opposed to an individual colour or size) is performing means that you have the right information to merchandise accordingly, and give your customers what they want.
Connected view of Stock
Providing central visibility of all stock, regardless of channel (i.e. store, concession, online, warehouse, etc.) enables you to manage stock accurately, ensuring that you always have the right stock in the right place at the right time. In order to meet the needs of demanding consumers, retailers need pinpoint accurate stock information. So even if the size or colour isn’t on the rails, the retailer is able to locate the stock, not losing a potential sale. In store consumer apps or digital kiosks may be used to provide this information on demand. Alternatively, staff should definitely be able to check stock across the estate either from an EPOS terminal or mobile device.
Detailed drill down reporting
Powerful reporting that generates high level company-wide information helps you to make fast business decisions, based on accurate up to date information. But managers need to be able to drill down into the detail by department, location, time/week/month/year, product line, etc. to see the granular detail. As well as enabling mangers to take decisions about moving stock, even while out on the go, merchandisers and buyers can see at a glance what lines are doing well, perhaps due to the weather or events, and respond to meet demand accordingly.
Scalability and international capabilities
If you are looking to expand your operations you need a system that will grow with you. The right features are also important if you are looking at overseas markets. You will need a solution that can handle differing tax rates and rules, possibly fiscalisation and for the best customer experience, translation. You may also need to handle different prices for different channels. Even if you remain in the UK only, but are looking to attract international clientele, you will need to be able to offer tax free shopping, where the VAT is refunded automatically to their account once they return home.
Simple to use
An engaged workforce makes a huge difference to the atmosphere in store. Using systems that are straightforward and intuitive saves time, and minimizes staff training requirements. Empowering staff and consumers with quality information and content can only serve to make the path to purchase smoother.
Some great reasons to take another look at your in-store retail technology.
By Deborah Loh, Marketing Manager at Eurostop