Test your next strategy with a Retail Pro lab environment so you can launch with zero downtime, and empower your team with detailed training resources on the My Retail Pro portal – both included in your Retail Pro Software Assurance plan.
Target’s GiftNow relieves some gift-giving anxiety.
A customer selects the GiftNow button when buying an item on Target.com.
The recipient receives the present as a digital gift box and has the option to accept, modify or pick an entirely different item.
In effect, the recipient can exchange the gift before ever receiving it. Less hassle for the recipient and less costly for Target.
Target has had success attracting families and Latinos with last year’s holiday campaign, but it didn’t connect with either young adults without children or empty nesters.
Some of the exclusive brands it plans to launch, including Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, a partnership with HGTV ties, and JoyLab, an atheleisure line, are geared toward appealing to that market.
Toys R Us
Success this holiday season is a life or death proposition for Toys R Us, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The toy retailer is using augmented reality technology to transform its customer experience.
Customers – in particular, their children – use an app to view AR activities that implant computer-generated images on top of a real-world environment, a la Pokemon Go.
Shoppers are guided by flashing icons and stickers on the floor, and by pointing their mobile devices at shelf sign or floor decal, see a toy or activity come to life on the screen.
Each activity lets the player earn stars; as more stars are earned, more experiences are offered.
The idea is to offer shoppers a compelling customer experience so they visit a store, rather than shop online.
The goal is to be a shopping destination where fun informs purchasing decisions.
In addition, the retailer will open playrooms at many of its stores, where children can try out toys and demonstrations will be available.
That can go a long way in reversing a mindset of not wanting to shop with the kids who are frustrated at not being able to touch and play with toys on the shelf.
Instead, the strategy encourages bringing children and listening to their feedback.
Brick and mortars that understand their shoppers and formulate strategies specifically geared toward them will be best positioned this holiday season.
Those who continue with tired formulas that meet neither the needs nor the expectations of shoppers will lose out to online competitors, as well as to the brick and mortars that are evolving with their customers.
Here are 3 expensive flaws businesses face concerning inventory, and how to address them.
1. Bloated inventory
Who knew those lime green sweaters were going to turn out to be duds? Sometimes, it is tough to predict a trend. Have a foundation of the tried a true: Using sales history, you’ll be able to project much of what types of products will sell during any particular season as well as how many units.
For global retailers, it’s imperative for inventories to be consolidated by region or total values. That lets supply chain managers make logical and informed business decisions and keep every store running at peak (and accurate) inventory levels.
2. Poor inventory tracking
After you determine what products you need and the quantity, be sure the items are available in your store. Manual counting alone is not reliable, because humans make mistakes. Consider bar coding or using an RFID solution to maintain accurate counts, and cross-referencing with stated levels in your POS. If RFID is not in the immediate budget, implement cycle counting and count a few items in specific locations daily. Then compare the inventory record to the actual count. This is less disruptive than a full inventory count.
Further, retailers are stretching into new regions worldwide, attempting to reduce sourcing costs while exploring new business opportunities. By collecting real-time inventory data across the globe, retailers have the best chance to sell existing material stocks as well as reduce locked-in inventory costs.
3. No backup
Even if your inventory is kept electronically, unless you’re backing it up either to a cloud storage service or another offsite facility, when disaster strikes you could lose all of that information. Fire, flooding, theft or even employee vandalism puts you at risk. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen after a disaster, and for those that do, only 29% still operate after two years. And those that lost their information technology for nine days or more after a disaster often face bankruptcy within a year. Use a software solution that backs up your data nightly. And it can’t hurt to send a backup copy to your accountant monthly.
Do your business a favor: Even the largest global retailer needs to tackle its inventory woes. By understanding your inventory situation better, you’ll be able to sell as quickly as you stock — which eliminates unsightly clearance sections or, conversely, customer frustration when a store is out of stock. By dealing with inventory issues as they occur, retailers not only wind up with a tidier profit, but also with a better customer experience.
When competing for a share of shoppers’ hearts and wallets, promotions are a good way to increase traffic and sales, which in turn can help you become more profitable. Promotions draw in new customers and infrequent shoppers, and all those socially-oblivious laggards who just don’t see the need to shop with you (until now ???? ).
To help make your customer hunt a little easier, this month’s All Things Retail webcast talks about the kinds of promotions you can create with Retail Pro enterprise retail software. Retail Pro is designed to for ultimate flexibility so you can tailor your retail management software to your business operations, and the promotions capabilities in Retail Pro are no exception.
Retail Pro promotions come with 8 types of promotions out of the box:
These promotions can be used on their own or in any combination of promotions, which means you have total control over creating and testing as many diverse and complex promotions as your marketing team can throw at you.
When you choose the type of promotion you will run, you get to set the activation rules that will trigger your promotion to be automatically applied to a customer’s transaction. You can set the start and end date and determine to which products the promotion will apply. You can also choose to activate the promotion for all or distinct subsidiaries, brands, countries, or business entities within your enterprise.
Next, you set the validation rules. These rules validate whether the customer’s purchases qualify for the promotion. The promotion can be activated by your choice of any of the following criteria:
At the sale of a particular item or combination of items
When a set threshold amount is met at the sale subtotal
If the customer uses a coupon
If the customer meets a particular qualification, i.e. if the customer is part of your loyalty program, etc.
These validation rules allow you to cast the promotion for as broad or as targeted a group as you determine is profitable for your business.
Once validation rules are set, you can then set the reward rules, which determine what reward and how much of it the customer would get for meeting the reward rules.
Retail Pro POS tracks the redemption of the reward, helping you get a better report on the promotion’s performance.
Careful planning and solid promotions tactics can play a significant part in converting a shopper from someone who’s only ever walked past your store to a repeat customer who loves the way your products fit their life and will buy from you even when you’re not having a sale.
So how do you create the kind of promotions that encourage good shopping habits?
That may be a question for business psychologists and your marketing team, and definitely will depend on your business’ unique circumstances and brand value in consumers’ eyes – but it’s evident that promotions impact retail operations in critical ways.
Historical data sets tracking sales during and after promotions show that customers resume normal purchase habits once a promotion is complete. Whatever your promotions strategy, it’s best to think long term – creating customer purchase habits rather than simply meeting this quarter’s sales goals.
JC Penney abandoned their long-lived coupon strategy in favor of everyday low prices and experienced disheartening sales and earnings. At a time when everything is accessible for less on Amazon, JC Penney’s coupons played a critical role in generating the buzz that would bring shoppers to their stores.
Once that buzz fizzled away, so did discount-trained shoppers, and everyday low prices became everyday low sales.
2. Supply chain and replenishment blunders can cripple promotion performance.
Promotions put pressure on your supply chain operations and retailers are often left with an unprofitable inventory glut or lack in the post-promotion period. Sales exceeding your forecast sounds like a positive problem to face, but stock outs leave mean lost sales both during and after the promotion. Retailers must be responsive and on top of their replenishment game.
Of course, for some retailers, stock outs are part of the strategy to create buzz. Ty in the 1990s stringently controlled the supply of Beanie Babies available to the public, even discontinuing toys rising in popularity to spur frenzied sales over scarce supply.
3. Promotions affect sales for other products, and creative inventory management
Promotions influence sales for other products, and smart inventory management can help you maximize its positive effects. When preparing for the promotions period, order more complementary, non-competing products, since basket analysis often shows a lift in sales of these items due to the halo effect. For example, a promotion on jackets can cause an increase in scarf sales in cooler months.
The same promotion can cause cannibalization of sales for items in the same category, so order less of the competing item for the period of the promotion. The pull-forward effect can also impact post-promotion sales, especially for commodities like laundry detergent, which has a long shelf life. This occurs when shoppers stock up on the sale item, causing a hiccup in their regular purchase frequency and therefore lower sales in the months following the promotion.
Promotions are important elements in the retailer-customer relationship, and how you set expectations today can impact how your business performs for decades to come. In any case, you can count on Retail Pro to give you the flexibility you need to create the promotions strategy that makes most sense for your business.
Let’s face it – the world is still far from having a single world language.
Until then, retailers like you will likely use multiple languages and currencies in your stores across borders.
When investing in POS and retail management software, it’s important to consider whether your tech tools can support your company’s language and currency needs today and as you keep expanding globally.
In this episode of the All Things Retail webcast, you’ll hear how Retail Pro POS software’s language and currency capabilities provide greater flexibility and financial reporting ease for multi-geography implementations.
Have you wondered what will you gain by switching to the latest Retail Pro software?
Regardless if you have been a Retail Pro user for years or are a retailer looking to retire your other tools in favor of this world-class software to improve your operations – either way – our new webcast series was made just for you.
Every other week we will get together for a quick 5 minute chat on how your team can accomplish their daily retail operations more efficiently with powerful functionalities in the latest Retail Pro software.
Send Sale & Fulfillment
Open & Close Day Procedures
And many others….
Tune in to our Retail Pro YouTube channel, subscribe so you never miss a webcast, or just watch Episode 1 here today! First webcast is on Open Day procedure.
Providing customers in-store experiences that are unique, fun and yet still profitable is the challenge retailers with physical stores continue to face. The cornerstone to providing that vision to shoppers are employees.
Good employees keep a retailer running; great employees are its heart and soul. They believe in the product, brand or mission of the company. And they are customers themselves, so the know how to make shoppers feel special, convert browsers into buyers and cultivate loyalty.
But too many retailers underestimate the value of trained employees.
Just 35% of employers trained low-skill workers and hired them for high-skill jobs in 2015, and slightly fewer — 33% — plan to do the same this year, according to CareerBuilder. And while 68% of firms say they offer training programs, 50% say the budgets have not changed and 11% say budgets have decreased.
Here are 2 things retailers forfeit when they do no invest in training.
1. Cost Savings
Training can save retailers money. It reduces turnover, and staff retention reduces costs. It’s expensive to hire staff. It also provides the worker with the precise skills needed for his or her current position. It’s obvious that higher-end retailers, such as Nordstrom’s, think of service as a culture and use training to reinforce that ethic.
But smaller and lower-margin retailers are also embracing training for employees.
During a conference call, CEO Todd Vasos said: “To strengthen our position for the long-term, we are making significant investments, primarily in compensation and training for our store managers given the critical role this position plays in our customer experience, as well as strategic initiatives.”
Dollar General saw a nearly 1% increase in same-store sales in 2016, and the discounter plans to open 1,000 more outlets this year. “In fiscal 2017, these investments will be focused on an increased compensation structure and additional training for our store managers, as they play a critical role in our customers’ experience and the profitability of each store.”
2. Staff Loyalty
Investing in employee training is a great way to improve your in-store service and get employees “on the same page” about what is expected, desirable, etc. In addition, employees expect some sort of training – Accenture found that 80% of 2016 college graduates expect some formal training from their employers.
Unfortunately, only 14% of employees would grade their company an “A” for the availability of training resources, according to another study from Spherion.
Training can make workers feel more marketable, which is appealing to staff but is often the reason employers shy away from it. Too many are concerned about training staff who will leave for a competitor. Given the high turnover rate at some retailers, it’s a valid concern.
However, while we think of providing high-quality service as driving customer loyalty, offering relevant employee training as a central benefit of a customer-service driven, flexible and creative work culture may be just the way to increase staff loyalty as well.
This month, Retail Pro went to St. Gallen, Switzerland to hold an on-site training class for tech staff at Akris, an internationally-recognized luxury fashion house.
Founded 90 years ago, Akris remains a family-owned business with strong local ties. Its clothing creations are known as much for comfort and wearability as for high fashion.
Today, third generation brothers Albert and Peter Kriemler manage the business, which grew from its humble beginnings into a global fashion label available via their brand stores, as well as in over 300 high-end department stores throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.
Akris has been using Retail Pro POS and retail management software in its 17 brand stores since 2000, and is looking forward to growing deeper in its use of robust Retail Pro functionality.
Recently, Akris began thinking of additional ways that Retail Pro could be used to streamline company operations, so they contacted Retail Pro University, Retail Pro International’s training department, to discuss training options.
Retail Pro worked closely with the IT staff at Akris to develop a custom training solution to address the company’s current and future needs. A class was held on-site over a five day period in March at the company’s headquarters in St. Gallen. Attendees included representatives from the Akris IT department, software development team, and operations staff.
Retail Pro Training Spurs Creative Thought for Solving Business Challenges
Akris already had a strong background in Retail Pro and did not need a basic training in how to use the software. Instead, they wanted to gain an in-depth understanding of how particular features could be leveraged in their current environment, and their impact on future operations.
To accommodate their unique requirements, the training process moved fluidly between product demonstrations, discussions, and consulting on how to best use Retail Pro features within the Akris IT system.
At one point, the team, inspired by a key feature, paused training to actually test drive it. They developed new tools and reports in their test environment on the spot to ensure it could be easily implemented.
Multi-Subsidiary Deployment & ERP Integration
Akris team members also collaborated on system configuration in a multi-subsidiary deployment to determine how to achieve the best results for stores across geographies. Akris has stores in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and flexibility in Retail Pro enabled them to navigate through complex regional requirements for functions like merchandise transfers.
As a manufacturer, Akris uses an ERP system to manage product development. Through tight integration between Retail Pro and the Akris ERP, merchandise is introduced into the system through vouchers and transfers between stores and subsidiaries.
In March, Retail Pro held an on-site training class with the business applications team at Akris at their headquarters in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Left to Right: Cerine Stephen, Jelena Scheller, Charles Davidson, Lukas Knutti, and Katie Ernest.
Plans for Growth & Deeper Use of Retail Pro
Many of the features they would like to implement have long existed in Retail Pro 9, and simply had not been leveraged. During the training session, the team developed a strategy to begin phasing in the use of strong features like commissions and markdowns. Akris is looking to expand on the current Retail Pro deployment as it grows and will possibly add new stores in the future.
Want to Increase ROI in Your Retail Pro?
Retail Pro University offers training courses and videos, as well as custom and on-site training options to help your retail and IT teams become Retail Pro experts. These training options can be a cost-effective solution for retailers experiencing high turnover or rolling out new functionality.
Retail Pro International (RPI) is a global leader in retail management software that is recognized world-wide for rich functionality, multi-national capabilities, and unparalleled flexibility. For over 25 years, RPI has innovated retail software solutions to help retailers optimize business operations and have more time to focus on what really matters - cultivating customer engagement and capitalizing on retail's trends. Retail Pro is the chosen software platform for omni-channel strategy by retailers in 129+ countries.