Technology Investment Priorities for Small Retail

How much confidence do small merchants have that the technologies and business tools they are currently using can fuel future growth?

Retailers are navigating their operations in dynamic times, infused with change and significant pressure, to meet increasingly complex business challenges. Customers carry more influence than ever before, and their growing expectations are impacting how retailers manage their strategic and technological planning.

As many as 80.3% of retailers said they plan on implementing technology enhancements that will enable them to enhance and expand their sales channels, more efficiently manage the customer relationship and provide them with the flexibility to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

As consumers’ options for researching and purchasing products or services have expanded, retailers are taking notice and planning strategic improvements to the cross-channel shopping experience.

To differentiate from competitors and capitalize on growth opportunities, merchants are investing in new technologies, services and business tools that empower them with more control and greater agility to improve the customer experience. Retailers are now focusing on various improvements, particularly in the areas of mobile, online channels and inventory.

Online Technology

Today, fast-growing companies are targeting the online channel strategically as crucial to their business growth.

While online giants are offering low prices and turning a profit, brick and mortar sales still make up $0.90 of every retail dollar spent. Customers aren’t abandoning physical stores, but brick and mortar numbers are slightly declining as customers are enjoying more of the advantages of shopping online.

Investing in your online experience is a huge priority for retailers of every size. Retailers can’t afford to forfeit that revenue because they’re not investing into the online store, online customer loyalty programs, a cross-channel selling strategy and utilizing the cloud.

Online technology provides a lot of productive opportunities for retailers and they’re not limited to offering online services to customers. Retailers have the ability to easily collect and analyze feedback through online channels.

In a recent survey of retailers, CRM was given the highest priority ranking for future technology investments. 63.3% of retailers said workforce management was the most productive benefit of technology investments. 40.5% of retailers said improved inventory management was the most efficient benefit of technology investments.

Going Mobile

We’re reaching a point where we are are spending longer on our phones shopping or using social media than making calls.

This isn’t a fad. Mobile usage is continually growing. People are gravitating away from traditional computers in favor of smartphones and tablets that allow them to access information, interact and conduct business wherever they are.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 9 out of 10 Americans now own a mobile phone and 57% of them have smartphones. In 2009, only 22% of mobile users accessed the web through their mobile device. Now, 60% of mobile users access the mobile web. Also, 50% of mobile users download apps, which is up from 22% in 2009.

Cross-channel selling is a huge opportunity and a worthy investment for retailers. Improving mobile compatibility on different platforms is a crucial area of focus for retailers right now.

If you don’t offer a compelling reason for your shoppers to not fire up their Amazon or Ebay app, consumers will use you as a showroom for another retailer’s benefit and buy from the retailer with the lowest price. By providing your own effective mobile experience, you’ll reduce lost sales from your customers buying from your competitors while shopping in-store.

Retailers will need to adopt a more connected retail model to stay competitive, merging the physical shopping experience with a mobile one, such as offering customers your own retail app so they can redeem rewards, browse product info, discover other items and pay by phone while shopping in-store.

To find out how ShoppinPal’s mobile commerce app would work in your retail stores, request a demo today.

Modern POS Systems

Traditional, inflexible and old POS systems are no longer the most functional options for retailers. Modern POS systems are the wave of the future for small-to-medium sized retailers. These new POS systems are often cloud-based and compatible on either computer, laptop, tablet or anything else with a with a web browser. With their ease of use, simplicity and affordability, they remove barriers to making a sale.

These modern POS systems can easily take payments, but they can also streamline sales and inventory processes, making all around operation much simpler. Digital inventory management simplifies purchase orders, transfers and stock-takes.

Reduce human error with automated reordering based on specified stock levels to make sure you never have too much or too little stock on your shelves. Also, you can seamlessly manage stocking at multiple locations with multi-location stock control. Cashiers can check product levels at other stores from the point-of-sale. Managers can order items from other locations, which will automatically adjust inventory at both locations.

Retailers have a million things to worry about without adding their POS to the list. In modern times retailers need to run their businesses on the go and a lot of digital POS systems automatically store day-to-day business operation information in the cloud, so it can be accessed anywhere all the time. If you’re looking for a kick-ass cloud-based POS system, we recommend checkout out our friends at Vend.

Get Digital

Technology is making everyone’s lives easier. Retailers have advantages and challenges that couldn’t have been imagined decades ago. Investing in your businesses future with the right technology at the right time could make a huge difference in your business success. The technology you need is available to compete at a higher level. What are you waiting for?

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