Use Mobile In-Store To Combat Online Competition

 

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Do you have mobile technology that your associates can use to help find products in different store locations, or to order an out-of-stock selection? Great, but if that’s the only reason for the technology, you’re stuck in 2014.

To keep up with the times and the online competitors who give your shoppers ultimate control – and attract Millennial shoppers – share that technology to beef up their customer experience.

Here are 2 ways to do it.

 

1. Self-serve mobile

First off, it’s an ideal way for the shopper who’s a “loner” – the one who wants nothing to do with associates and shops online for a reason!

A retail touchscreen lets these clients self-serve entirely. Think of it as an update to kiosk technology. This is more user-friendly, mobile and definitely full featured: Customers can search for items and complete the buying process independently.

And, with permissions levels easily set by your retail IT group, you can rest secure knowing shoppers won’t accidentally wonder off into your confidential retail records.

 

2. Mobile clienteling & endless aisle

Second, mobile technology can not only be used to locate products by the salesperson, it can also be used by the customer and associate together, for some human suggestive selling.

The salesperson can use a touchscreen as a tool to share items that are in the “endless aisle,” – products available but not physically in the store. In addition, the touchscreen can be a useful aid in retail clienteling.

Although Millennials are known to be rather aloof with salespeople and prefer a do-it-yourself approach to shopping, they do share purchase decisions and seek input from friends and perceived experts when shopping.

So, an associate might find something within the “endless aisle” and share it with the customer by physically handing him or her the screen. Customers could then add the suggestion to a cart or wish list, or begin a consultative conversation with the salesperson if the product didn’t quite hit the mark. At best, it’s a sale; at worst, it’s a solid conversation starter.

 

Supporting in-house mobile technology allows retailers to adapt readily to shopping preferences of consumers accustomed to taking control over their experience with online shopping.

Many shoppers complain of overbearing associates – when those salespeople have actually been trained to do many of the behaviors the customer finds annoying. By providing a mobile option, retailers are offering an alternative that will facilitate customer engagement in-store,  yet has more of the independence many of today’s shoppers want.

 

Want to learn about mobile POS options from Retail Pro?

Learn more about Retail Pro Prism

 

 

 

Understanding Key Performance Indicators

As a retailer in a competitive marketplace, a major focus should be monitoring the health of your business. For most retailers this means getting a handle on your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.

Defining KPIs

A KPI is a metric that is designed to give you a quick snapshot of some aspect of your business. A KPI might be a measure of sales, customer activity, or financial strength.

More than simply a bottom line number, a KPI is usually expressed as a comparison with some other factor. For example, looking at the average sale per customer gives you an understanding of the potential value of each customer.

Which KPIs should I track?

There are hundreds of KPIs that a retail business owner could be using at any one time. If an activity can be tracked and measured in your store, a KPI can be developed to provide you with business intelligence. One of the challenges is to decide on a handful of KPIs that provide you with the most valuable information based on the goals and objectives of your operation.

Every retailer will have a different set of KPIs. For example, a business that uses commissioned sales associates to sell to customers may place a heavy emphasis on KPIs that track the effectiveness of an individual sales associate while these KPIs may be irrelevant for another retail business.

You may want to track KPIs related to your customers. Simply knowing the number of customers who enter the store each day may not be enough for you. You may want to gain a deeper understanding about your customer’s shopping patterns and what converts them from a casual shopper into a dedicated, returning customer. To do this, you need to carefully consider what data you should collect and analyze.

Choosing the right data

Data, by itself, is not a KPI until it’s arranged in a meaningful way. A list of sales transactions throughout the day is good data to have but it’s not the whole picture. The next step might be to calculate the total dollar amount of sales for the day. You can arrange the data in any number of ways:  sales by department, sales by item, or sales by cashier. At this point, you still only have data to analyze.

The strength of KPIs is knowing how to use data to gain a competitive advantage. It all comes down to the goals and objectives you set for your business.

For each goal you establish, you must also create the metric that will determine if you are successful in reaching that goal. Your KPIs become the method by which you track your progress.  If your key performance indicators do not reflect progress toward your goal, you must change the tactics you are using in your business.

Using raw data to optimize your retail operations

Retailers assess KPI performance indicators to determine how to optimize their business.

Let’s look at one simple example of how your goals and KPIs come together to give you a competitive advantage.

Marlene runs a small clothing store in a mid-size urban market. Lately things have been going good but the business has leveled off. She would like to increase her business over the next year.  She creates a goal to increase her sales by 10%.

Marlene realizes that an obvious KPI is her total sales. She can also break down her sales on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis to compare with the previous year. This gives her the maximum degree of flexibility especially since her sales tend to fluctuate according to well-defined fashion seasons.

Marlene decides that a good strategy would be to do more advertising on radio and television during the coming year. To find out if the advertising is bring customers into the store, she decides to track footfall, the number of people coming into the store. Fortunately, she tracked her traffic last year but if she didn’t, she could use the new data by correlating store traffic with the dates and times that advertising is running to see if the ads have an immediate effect.

If she notices that store traffic increases for a few days after a television ad appears, she may make more strategic choices about when to run television ads. Or she may be sure to have a special sale during the weekend following a big flood of advertising.

By tracking average customer spend, Marlene can determine how much the average customer spends during each purchase transaction. In order to increase sales, she decides to place some displays with accessories – scarves and jewelry – close to the cash registers. The strategy works and she notices that her average customer spend amount increases due to impulse purchases while customers are waiting in line.

Although her total sales KPI indicates some overall growth, Marlene is not satisfied with the progress she is making. She begins to track her conversion rate, the number of transactions throughout the day divided by the number of people who enter the store. This seems to indicate that a lot of people are coming into the store but not many are making purchases.

Retail conversion rate

To combat this, she could implement a number of new strategies. Perhaps she should take a look at rotating her inventory more frequently so the styles are kept fresh. She might decide that she needs to add new merchandise. Eventually, Marlene decides to hire additional staff to take more time with the customers and help them pick out merchandise.

To maximize the effectiveness of her new employees, she tracks shopper to staff ratio.  This KPI lets Marlene determine if she has the appropriate number of employees on the sales floor to handle the volume of shoppers. Monitoring her wage costs, which is wages paid divided by the total sales will also help her monitor her costs.

As her business grows, Marlene may decide to implement different strategies or develop completely new goals for her business. These goals and strategies may necessitate new KPIs to help her determine if they are effective. As her needs change, so will her data collection requirements and so will the way she analyses that data.

Tracking KPIs in Retail Pro

Retailers using Retail Pro have several built-in tools to help them track important KPIs easily and automatically including 160+ pre-designed reports that can be accessed using the Retail Report Viewer tool.

Filters allow you to easily report on different aspects of your operation and break down your data into different segments to allow you to take a bird’s-eye view or get down into the weeds.

Retail Pro reports can also be completely customized using an ODBC-compliant report writer like Crystal Reports. This allows you to save time and money by adapting an existing report to show exactly the information you need without a lot of work and effort.

From inside Retail Pro, you can use customer or inventory statistics to gain more perspective.

X-Out and graphical reports allows you to look at sales activity throughout the day and get instant analysis.

Happy tracking!

Want to learn more?

See how Retail Pro can help you improve visibility into your data using KPIs.

Contact us today

New year, new retail! 5 ways to use mobile in your stores

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Each new year comes with new excitement, new potential, new initiatives – like mobile in your stores!

Start 2017 off right – see how one fashion retailer uses mobile in their stores. Then, book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you go mobile!

Book my NRF meeting now

 

How to Build Your Tech Strategy

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Technology empowers efficiency in your retail operations, so building a solid tech strategy is critical to effective execution.

See how Earthbound Trading Co is increasing operational efficiency by building their tech strategy with Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize your retail tech strategy.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

 

How to Unify Commerce

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Last week we invited you to meet with us at NRF to discover optimized retail with Retail Pro.

Let’s count down the final weeks before NRF with tips on HOW to optimize your retail operations, in step with market trends and proven strategies of retailers using Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize and unify your commerce profitably.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

7 Retail Resolutions for 2017

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As 2017 quickly approaches, here are 7 New Year’s resolutions for retailers to consider.

 

1

I will think of and connect all our digital and physical channels as one whole so we can unify commerce.

2

I will use our retail data to plan inventory better so customers always get what they want and I always sell down to zero.

3

I will reach higher to grow my business, whether that’s expanding my merchandise, my team, my tech, or my operations – globally.

4

I will use my retail management tech to its full capacity to automate more and operate more efficiently.

5

I will leverage mobile POS to liberate my sales staff from bondage to the cash register, and empower them to better engage our customers and sell more with hyper-relevant data insights.

6

I will attend to my most important customers better and create a smooth and consistent experience however they choose to shop with our brand.

7

I will optimize retail.

 

 

Keep your 2017 resolutions with Retail Pro

 

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POS App Gets It Right

 

Customers want easy ways to shop for routine items – those products they use daily, that are staples of their homes or workplaces.

For these types of purchases, ease of doing business is extremely important. No one wants to stand in line for a bottle of shampoo after a long day of work and an evening of household chores ahead.

Being respectful of customers’ time is a big part of creating great shopping experiences for customers.

While an exciting store design and atmosphere can lure customers, execution excellence – clerks who are quick to respond, cashiers who are fast and accurate, associates who will efficiently check stock —  provides the foundation for any responsive business.

A familiar neighborhood  retail recently launched a point-of-sale mobile solution aimed at creating a more convenient customer experience.

CVS Health’s core competency is in personal staples: everything from toothpaste to stationary to prescription meds. But its new app illustrates how selling any product, whether it’s luxury or commodity, can put customer needs front and center.

CVS Health

CVS Pay is a new, end-to-end mobile payment solution that integrates payment, prescription pickup, and its ExtraCare loyalty program, and is part of the CVS Pharmacy mobile app.

Here’s how it works:

  • CVS customers can combine multiple steps into one scan.
  • Customers can refill, manage multiple prescriptions and get alerts when prescriptions are ready, all within the app.
  • They then pick up and pay using a single barcode.
  • Their ExtraCare card can be linked as well, so at checkout all ExtraCare deals will be processed.

“We’ve been excited by the level of customer adoption of these digital solutions, and we will continue our quick pace of innovation and deployment to make our customers’ health care experience even easier,” said Brian Tilzer, SVP and chief digital officer, CVS Health in a press release.

When an app eases a shopping pain point, it will be a success.

Too often, retail apps feel like an “add on” — something more for the consumer to do, without an evident value proposition for the consumer. CVS Pay is integrated into the customers’ shopping experience, which makes it a natural fit rather than an appendage.

 

 

 

Retail Pro Prism Applications Expert (RPPAE) Course Now Available

 

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RPPAE Retail Pro International is pleased the announce the availability of the new Retail Pro Prism® Applications Expert core product knowledge course!

Learn everything you need to know about Retail Pro Prism (v1.4.0.172) features and functionality – from handling sales transactions and returns to setting up promotions and touch menus!

 

What You’ll Learn

 

System Overview

 

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How to access Retail Pro Prism and get it ready for use. You will learn how to:

  • Access Retail Pro Prism
  • Setup default store, price and tax
  • Switch between different Retail Pro Prism Themes, Layouts and Views
  • Customize the various data grids and search screens found throughout Retail Pro Prism

 

Employee Management

 

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How to use employee and security-related features in Retail Pro Prism to:

  • Establish Retail Pro Prism-specific security permissions
  • Override another user’s security restriction
  • Automatically logout a user completing a transaction
  • Force users to select associates involved in a sales transaction
  • Check-in/Check-out

 

Point-of-Sale

 

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Point of Sale Basics

How to use basic features and functions of the Retail Pro Prism Point-of-Sale module to:

  • Lookup/list items on a transaction
  • Handle a sales transaction
  • Check stock levels
  • Manage customer accounts
  • Give discounts at Point-of-Sale
  • Determine what tender types are available for use at Point-of-Sale
  • Hold a transaction
  • Handle pending transactions due to an unexpected disruption
  • Discreetly capture information at Point-of-Sale using POS Flags
  • Charge a fee for the sale of services
  • Track shipping and handling charges
  • Capture miscellaneous information that cannot be overwritten by future inventory changes
  • Track employee commissions
  • Track Salesperson Incentive Fees (SPIFs)
  • Capture Serial Numbers
  • Capture Lot Numbers
  • Sell and Break Kit items
  • Sell Package items
  • Sell Non-Inventory items
  • Plan the future sale of merchandise
  • Process the sale of an item at one store and fulfill the transaction at another store
  • Handle merchandise returns and exchanges
  • Track certain non-sales-related activities that impact funds in the register

 

Advanced Point of Sale Features

How to use more advanced features and functions of the Prism Point-of-Sale module to:

  • Establish different sets of prices for different stores and customers
  • Track taxes using the different tax methods (plus Detax and Tax Rebates)
  • Use a Centrals Server to centrally lookup customers, handle merchandise returns and manage gift card/store credit payments
  • Browse inventory to check stock levels, prices and price tags
  • List items on a transaction by selecting or “touching” a button
  • Setup promotions
  • Email a receipt to the customer

 

X/Z-Out Reports

 

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How to use X-Out and Z-Out reports to:

  • Check on sales activity throughout the day
  • Reconcile the register

 

Purchasing & Receiving

 

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How to use Purchasing- and Receiving-related features in Retail Pro Prism to:

  • Order merchandise for the store
  • Handle the ordering of cases (case-packs)
  • Handle trade discounts when ordering merchandise
  • Receive merchandise into the store
  • Determine how cost is assigned to inventory
  • Incorporate additional costs and discounts into the costs of goods received (and sold)

 

Physical Inventory & Transfers

 

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How to go through the Physical Inventory process and use transfer-related features in Retail Pro Prism. You will learn how to:

  • Conduct with a physical inventory or cycle count
  • Transfer merchandise out of the store

 

 

Considering Retail Pro Prism or using it now?

Find out how you can leverage the features and functions in your Retail Pro Prism that are critical for modern retail – with training from Retail Pro University!

 

Get more from RP-25

 

 

 

 

 

How To Simplify Omnichannel with Inventory Management in Retail Pro®

 

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The omnichannel expectation set by Tier 1 retailers has quickly trickled down to specialty retail and retailers everywhere are feeling the pressure to deliver. Retail Pro helps retailers simplify the inventory management across channels for omnichannel retail.

 

What’s wrong with omnichannel inventory management

 

The modern retail experience is composed (often) of several entirely different, disconnected software, so you are forced to keep disparate inventories for your e-commerce orders and your in-store sales – with all the duplication that entails.

In the very big picture, it doesn’t matter all that much if your systems are disconnected and duplicated. They still get the job done.

But if you examine the process more closely, you’ll see the pockets of chaos you keep tolerating when you segregate your channels, the collective negative impact of which compounds when extended year over year.

Inefficiencies in replenishment

Extraneous steps in the workflow

Underutilized resources

Gross inventory and labor duplication

 

And it hinders you from making more intelligent use of your inventory across the enterprise – especially later in the season, when you might be faced with stock outs (lost sales) and overstocks (unprofitable markdowns).

 

Stop retail chaos

 

Omnichannel in its most practical sense is intended to stop retail chaos like this through the simplification and streamlining of retail processes and technologies.

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Connecting your back office inventory, e-commerce, POS (and etc.!) systems in the Retail Pro Prism platform gives you unified visibility into your operations and performance, and simplifies data sharing – so you can make data-driven optimizations and achieve benefits like these:

  • Shopper autonomy Empower shoppers to look up, order, or purchase available store inventory online or at another location
  • Reduced shipping costs Allow customers to pick up or return online purchases in-store or at satellite locations
  • Increased inventory turn Rebalance inventory across the enterprise and fulfill online orders from the nearest store instead of from the warehouse

With all your technologies connected in Retail Pro Prism, you can then deliver the inventory visibility your customers expect from omnichannel.

 

Deliver on the omnichannel expectation

 

Your customers have learned to expect little conveniences like being able to go on your website to look up whether a particular item is in stock at the store nearby and reserve or purchase it.

Little customer-facing conveniences like that can actually require a major operational upheaval, depending on the state of your inventory and whether you can tie your e-commerce to your inventory management software.

With Retail Pro Prism, you can do that. e-Commerce and POS at every location can be seamlessly integrated to the Retail Pro platform (whether you use the native applications or opt for other software of your choice), so they can share transactional data in real time (or whatever interval is optimal for your operations) with the inventory management tools in Retail Pro.

This ensures that your inventory data is up to date when a shopper is looking for a particular product at your store. You won’t have to ask your customers to wait while you go get a different device to look up the inventory information. You can easily look up whether you have that item in stock from any device you use for your everyday operations, including iPod, iPad, Windows, Android, laptop, and desktop – because all of the same features are accessible on every device, even from the POS.

You can also see whether your other store locations have the particular item your shopper is searching for. With Send Sale transaction is Retail Pro Prism, you can record a sale at one store and fulfill the transaction at a different store that has available inventory, so you save every sale and your customer leaves satisfied.

 

Send Sale

With Send Sale transaction is Retail Pro Prism, you can record a sale at one store and fulfill the transaction at a different store that has available inventory, so you save every sale and your customer leaves satisfied.

 

Reconcile digital and physical inventory counts

 

To offer customers this kind of visibility into what you have in stock, it’s critical for you to be on top of your physical inventory. Retail Pro Prism helps you keep accurate counts of your physical inventory and determine whether any loss has occurred.

  • Confirm your inventory on a store-wide or warehouse-wide scale, or on a bin or shelf
  • Record physical counts data by scanning barcodes, RFID tags, or manually typing item identifiers
  • Use current On Hand inventory values as start quantities in your physical inventory file
  • Identify and review discrepancies easily with a separate Discrepancies list

 

Physical Inventory in Retail Pro Prism®

Retail Pro Prism helps you keep accurate counts of your physical inventory and determine whether any loss has occurred.

 

With your inventory levels confirmed in Retail Pro Prism, you can increase in-store fulfillment accuracy for online orders being picked from your store shelves, and improve replenishment rates.

Sporting goods and apparel retailer Massey’s Outfitters uses Retail Pro to keep lower inventory. They rebalance their goods between stores and send directly from the vendor via integrated dropship rather than pulling from the warehouse. Warehouse-based replenishment for web sales accounts for only 25 – 50%, resulting in significant efficiency gains.

Inventory accuracy is foundational to every omnichannel strategy. Take control of your inventory today with complete visibility in Retail Pro Prism.

 

 

Discover omnichannel simplicity

Want to see how you can simplify omnichannel inventory management with Retail Pro Prism? Learn more in this brochure or request your free consultation today!

 

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