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How to Unify Commerce

Unify Commerce_Blog


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



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



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


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


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


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


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.


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


I will optimize retail.



Keep your 2017 resolutions with Retail Pro









3 Tips for Using Your Retail Data to Attract More Customers

Two women shopping


For retailers, much of the work that goes into making a sale is done before your customer ever sets foot in your store. Here are 3 tips for using your retail data to attract more customers.


1. Use outbound marketing as a targeted follow-up to inbound marketing.

Fresh, high-quality content is available to sales prospects 24/7. Whether it’s on the web, in stores, or via email, information is out there, waiting to be consumed by eager customers. Savvy retailers are using their content assets to attract customers, and it’s working: Interesting, relevant material attracts leads to a business’ site, social media presence and/or store. That content must position your company as a market leader. Valuable content that informs the customer is key. The more specific your content, the more focused you can be.

2. Collect data on your customer.

To really provide such highly focused, relevant content, you must understand customers’ interests and tastes, as well as their demographic information. Only then can you tailor both your content, which attracts customers, and the message, which will be used to close the sale. Outbound marketing only succeeds when it reaches the appropriate audience. Personalized campaigns can go a long way when you are courting a customer. Let the data you gather help inform the way you engage with customers.

3. Use predictive analytics.

Look back and use past performance to gauge future sales. Predictive analytics examines a variety of data and then systematically offers the makeup of the best leads. Big data crunching can help find those sweet spots invisible to the naked eye. In addition, sales teams knowledgeable in the science of data analytics can gain insight into purchasing triggers. Paying attention to small triggers can get your retail marketing campaigns out ahead of the competition’s.




Visit Retail Pro at NRF booth #4025 Jan 15-17!



For more than a decade Retail Pro has been an NRF show-favorite. Some years were highlighted by innovation ideas, others with launches of products that are well ahead of their time.

This year, our goal is to help you settle the dust on industry hype.

Get a stop at booth 4025 on your calendar to see how with Retail Pro you can optimize your operations and profitably unify commerce.


NRF meeting







Battery Life Important for mPOS Success at Holiday Time


Personalize every shopper experience with Retail Pro Prism

Mobile POS systems are becoming increasingly important to many retailers.

With the Christmas season just about officially starting, retailers are readying the last few tools needed to make point of sale transactions as efficient as possible. One area in need of improvement is the battery life of mobile POS devices.

Often used for “linebusting,” mPOS is a great way to ensure customers have a smooth, expedited checkout experience. It’s also a terrific means of engagement with customers on the sales floor. Many retailers have transformed the customer experience by integrating mPOS into the checkout.

But the batteries used in the tablet devices are notorious for having short lives.

Retailers with extended sale hours, for example, would need to have mobile battery packs on hand to keep devices functioning, even if it they were fully charged when doors opened. Few things are more frustrating than missing out on sales because there is no way to authorize transactions.

Larger retailers and those handling greater numbers of transactions – holiday rush, anyone? — are seeking longer battery life to reduce the need to recharge. That way, store staff can transact sales continuously for an entire shift, reducing overall recharging requirements as well as the number of devices retailers need to keep on hand.

Overall, battery life in consumer electronics is constantly being upgraded. Today, for example, laptop battery life is roughly two and a half times longer than it was in 2012. So it’s logical to assume that mPOS battery life will ultimately improve as well.

To that end, manufacturers are debuting new products that have batteries that can be swapped out easily for rapid replacement, along with docking stations that can be used to simultaneously charge not only mPOS devices but also the accompanying mobile or tablet devices.

Other improvements are on the horizon as well: Often, mass market devices are not durable enough to withstand the hazards of the sales floor. Spills and drops leave many merchants with broken devices, and software or connectivity malfunctions are sources of further frustration. Many retail merchants are therefore migrating from popular commercial hardware to more purpose-built retail solutions. Ruggedized solutions (from Panasonic, for example) are becoming popular also.

Implementing tools that can reduce line time and improve the customers’ interaction with sales associates is, of course, a move in a positive direction. Retailers need to be aware of potential pitfalls brought on by poor battery life and be ready to quickly circumvent any problems that arise.

Ironically, new technology that fails can irritate customers more than the previous “old system.” So, until improved battery life is commonly available on mPOS devices, make sure your equipment is fully charged, and you have spare battery packs or devices on hand.

Analytics Tools Help Retailers Know the Customer


The majority of retailers worldwide plan to increase their use of data and analytics this year.

The majority of retailers worldwide plan to increase their use of data and analytics this year.

Analytics are important for retailers to understand who their customers are, what they are buying and when they are spending. Even with the multitude of analytics tools available, too many retailers are not using them to their full potential.

Employing analytics and analyzing the data they yield can be profitable. According to IBM, 62% of retailers report that the use of big data and analytics tools is creating a competitive advantage for their businesses.

With mobile POS, digital wallets and rapid transformation of technology used throughout retail, the amount of data created is tremendous. But data alone without analytics is worthless. The information must be gathered, analyzed and then stored so it can be compared against in the future. Today it’s easier than ever to have a system that can gather and then digest data.

All that data can help retailers provide more personalized offers and other communications. And the data can be gathered from multiple locations in real time, so reports can be produced in minutes rather than days or even weeks. Changes can be made in rapid response to problems, inventory issues or customer traffic patterns. Long gone are the days of waiting for an end-of-month report to change course.

However, there are a few important things to remember to make the most of actionable data with your vendors, according to research from Askuity:

  • When data is managed and distributed by a single power user within the company, brands are less likely to bring data insights into buyer meetings. Instead, provide self-service access to POS data for all team members, and you’ll develop a culture of sharing information.
  • 28% of companies say that they are not actively using the POS data being made available to them by their retailers. That’s a waste of time and talent. Share the information so you can sell a targeted product to prospects you know will be interested. The data you’ve collected is a tool to share with your business partners so you can both improve sales.
  • 77% of brands believe they can be doing more with the data to improve their businesses. But ever the companies that are already doing a better than average job can’t let it rest: Brands who consider themselves leaders in the space are even more confident, with 80% believing they can improve. Point of sale analytics is becoming a necessity for every brand hoping to create and sustain success at retail. It provides a means for continuous improvement that will serve the companies that employ them well.



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Give Virtual Reality in Retail a Look



Virtual reality lets you teach customers about your products without having to physically be in the store. They can “try on” clothes, for example.

Virtual reality in retail is here. The technology is more affordable than ever, and it offers retailers a unique opportunity to provide customers with immersive experiences. Two of the more popular devices, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, are available at attractive price points — $99 and $20, respectively — and seem well positioned to rapidly become a regular part of shoppers tech gear.

Using a smartphone and virtual reality apps, viewing devices allow users to step into the world of VR. For example, viewers could explore outer space or sing onstage with favorite artists once tapped into the appropriate app.

The marketing applications are exciting. Brands in markets as different as hospitality and automotive, for example, can take advantage of immersive customer experiences. For instance, customers could explore the showroom floor of an appliance store, trying out various products and exploring different models. Likewise, a car shopper could not only visit a showroom and select a model, but take a virtual test drive as well.

A couple of years ago, British fashion retailer TopShop used VR technology to stir up excitement, engage customers and market its brand. Using a 360 panoramic video stream, TopShop offered a unique front-row view of their exclusive fashion runway show during London Fashion Week. The experience was part of a contest in which the winners experienced the show virtually, in a pop-up space at TopShop’s flagship London store.

From taking a test drive to viewing the cat walk to checking out a refrigerator, virtual reality in retail is one more tool retailers can use to entertain and engage customers. Some brands, have used it not only to amuse but to educate about the product. For a great example, check out Patron tequila‘s VR video. More than entertaining, the viewer learns the story of the product — from the agave field to the topped off bottle.

Omnichannel marketing is focused on providing immersive, personalized experiences. Virtual reality offers technology that does exactly that. It significantly increases the interaction between the brand and the shopper. Further, VR engages the shopper in such a way that motivates the shopper to share the experience, either face-to-face or on social networks. As a result, new customers are exposed to the product — and you have integrated your brand into a powerful marketing experience.

3 Tips To Cash In On Halloween

With Halloween coming up next week, it’s a good time to discuss fun and engaging ways to bring customers into your store, particularly millennials. Here are three ways to provide customer experiences that do just that, using modern “tricks” of technology.

  1. Use your social media presence to host a trivia contest. Contests draw attention. You might ask questions about the origins of Halloween, or talk about Day
    Although retailers are expecting a large surge of shoppers over the next few months as the holiday season gets underway, many businesses are now taking advantage of Halloween and using the spooky theme to increase their sales.

    Although retailers are expecting a large surge of shoppers over the next few months as the holiday season gets underway, many businesses are now taking advantage of Halloween and using the spooky theme to increase their sales.

    of the Dead or even delve into something like horror movie trivia. Offer participants or winners coupons for your goods or services;  research has found that millennials, in particular, are drawn to those types of posts. And contests are a good idea not just for Halloween but for anytime.

  2. Deck the halls with Halloween decorations. For a brick-and-mortars, this is an opportunity to throw  a party for your customers. Consider making it a “private” affair for your best customers. Exclusive events boost loyalty. Many retailers find their customers like to be with other customers. This is particularly true for small niche businesses.Promoting it on social networks popular with your customers will help ensure a good turnout. Remember to focus the event and provide direction for customers: Will be a costume party? Will there be prizes and giveaways? You want attendees to be part of the retail experience and be able to shop while they are there. Expand your cashiering capabilities by increasing (or adding) mobile POS.
  3. Think completely outside of the box. How can your business tie into Halloween profitably? Not just recognizing the holiday, but offering products and services that make sense within the context of the celebration. Halloween can be tons of fun for small children, but it can also be very stressful for the adult responsible for the dressing them up. Think how your business can accommodate parents very busy schedules. Can you offer in-home services the weekend before Halloween? Even businesses that aren’t food, craft or pumpkin-based can get in on the action. For example, a dry cleaner might offer free or discounted pick-up or drop-off services on the 31st. Other parents may be concerned with the safety of trick-or-treating itself. Get together with neighboring retailers and offer store-to-store trick or treating. Restaurants, delis, and convenience stores can offer coupons for anyone coming in costume.
By creating customer experiences, your retail brand becomes increasingly “authentic” to customers. The engagement encourages your clientele to return, and, hopefully, become loyal evangelists for you. A that’s how retail “tricks” can be real treats.

Making the Most of Your Social Media Presence



Understanding how social media influences consumers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviors is more important than ever.

Referrals are the lifeblood of retail. Having a satisfied customer base that will sing your praises is worth more than an ad campaign by the most sought-after advertising firm on Madison Avenue. People are more than five times as likely to buy based on a recommendation from a social peer than they are when they’ve merely been exposed to traditional forms of marketing, according to research from consumer giant Sony.

Today, referrals are made easier due to the proliferation of social media.

Understanding how social media influences consumers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviors is more important than ever. Social platforms are uniquely able to broadcast satisfaction from New York to Nepal. Retailers who embrace social media — and use it to interact with customers as well as engage so-called “influencers” – are finding it’s a valuable marketing tool.

More than any other age group, millennials use social media to research their potential purchases. In The Monogram Group‘s August 2014 survey of 21-to-32-year-old internet users in the United States, 52% cited social sites among places where they gathered information about “new products or brands that interest you.” That ranked higher than paid advertising (41%).

Many conversations take place on various social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc., prior to any purchase is actually made. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of social media in business: It’s critical for getting their brands noticed as well as creating “buzz.”

Segments have key influencers — people that are tastemakers. What they say online sells — so find them and forge a relationship. Getting on their radar will greatly amplify your marketing message ad enhance your image with customers. Forging a relationship with an influencer, or getting mentioned in their blogs, could build your company’s reputation. To find influencers, engage with your customers: Which blogs do they read? Also, search on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for keywords relevant to your segment to learn which of those accounts have the most followers. Social-listening software can also be used to flag certain topics of interest.

Seventy-six percent of retailers are spending more on social media marketing this year than they did a year ago, according to Forrester Research Inc.’s report “The State of Retailing Online 2016: Marketing and Merchandising.” Increasingly, retailers are taking a cue from millennials and rather than selling them products, they are aiming to add value to their consumers’ lives by solving problems. And one of the most focused ways to do that is through a targeted, engaging presence on social media.

Thinking About Mobile POS? Your Competitors Are.


The mobile POS business is expected to grow from $2 billion in 2015 to $38 billion in 2024, with analysts projecting a 36 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between now and 2019.

Retailers see mobility as a way to improve customer service in store, largely by reducing customer waiting time.

The devices also usher in a closer customer/clerk relationship, because associates can easily answer customer’s questions at the touch of the screen. They can look up inventory, shipping dates and even general product information, all of which leads to improved interactions between customers and their trusted retail advisors.

Even stores that are well known for customer satisfaction such as Nordstrom’s, are constantly innovating to stay on top. The high-end department store arms sales associates with tablets that can check customers out rather than force them to wait at a cash wrap.

But the ability to save customers time on a register line is irrelevant if you can’t get them to the line in the first place. Customers get irritated in stores when they can’t get a price or availability question answered quickly and knowledgeably.

If a store employee doesn’t have the tools to provide a quick answer, customers often simply leave and buy from a competitor.

However, when they are outfitted with mobile devices tied back to the POS and inventory management system, retail associates can immediately help customers, remaining with them throughout the purchasing cycle, and providing information needed to “seal the deal.”

As retailers enter the 2016 holiday season, it becomes increasingly important to encourage salespeople into sales consultants with mobile POS. No longer is it enough to stand behind a register and wait for the customer to come to you.

Today’s retailer must be proactive and engaging. Customer service must be a differentiator.

Mobile POS can provide associates the critical information needed to help customers to make a purchase, close the sale, and even provide up-sell opportunities to drive higher revenue.








Points of Sale








Points of Sale








Points of Sale