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Gartner: Retail’s role in sustainability improvements

woman shopping in store

Increasingly, retailers are learning that sustainability matters to their customers, and the COVID season did not stop sustainability efforts.

Recycling, energy conservation and reduction of waste are all everyday topics of conversation.

That desire to help conserve Earth’s resources has helped unite customers who may otherwise be very different from one another.

To meet the increasing requests from customers for carbon-neutral packaging and products, retailers are offering more environmentally friendly options. Gartner has recommended three ways retailers could improve sustainability within their supply chains: source responsibly; use recyclable or minimal packaging; incorporate “recycled goods” into product offerings.

Source Responsibly

Image:  Tom Fisk 

Retailers can choose vendor and distribution partners who practice sustainability.

When reviewing vendors, retailers can weigh sustainability as quality.

Sustainability includes processes that mitigate the harmful impacts of pollution and waste on the ecosystem, including reducing freshwater contamination and greenhouse gases.

Retailers benefit too, because sustainable practices such as decreasing energy usage, cutting back on waste generated and eliminating equipment for pollution control lower operating costs.

Packaging

Image: Karolina Grabowska

Many suppliers are coming up with innovative packaging to reduce waste.

For example, dental floss can now be purchased in reusable glass vials, rather than hard plastic packages.

Not only has the product cut back dramatically on waste, but because of its very nature, it creates its own pool of customers who return to buy the floss replacement on a regular basis.

On the recycling side, L’Oreal cosmetics will market its first cosmetics in recyclable paper bottles to consumers this year.

“Re-commerce” Goods

Image: Nataliya Vaitkevich 

Thrifting — or shopping secondhand—is in vogue, and not solely because items are bargains or bespoke.

Because these goods are living a second life, they aren’t taking up room at the local landfill.

In addition, significant amounts of resources are saved by not creating a new product. For example, making a pair of jeans uses approximately 1,800 gallons of water.

The production process also generated greenhouse gases equal to driving more than 80 miles.

A number of retailers are focused on the “re-commerce” market, such as ThredUp and Poshmark, but some clothing brands including REI and Patagonia are selling their own gently used clothing, similar to the way in which luxury automobiles have sold “certified pre-owned vehicles” for many years.

Retailers wanting to strengthen or embark on a sustainability program should ensure their suppliers are committed to the same long-term vision.

Increasingly, customers are looking to buy from retailers and brands that share their values, and that includes companies that recycle, reduce waste and promote sustainable business practices.







In-store shoppers, in-store fulfillment: Planning for inventory challenges

safe retail shopping during COVID

Handling a supply chain is always part art, part skill — but during 2020, it sometimes seemed like it was also part magic act.

Getting products on shelves was a testament to the relationships retailers had built over the years with their suppliers, and only the strongest survived.

COVID inventory crisis

man staring at wall with papers pinned to it

A little more than one year ago, COVID-19 lockdowns began — ushered in by a period of consumer buying never before experienced.

Within days, paper goods and disinfectants were out of stock, available only on the black market for outrageous prices.

A year later, quarantines are gradually being lifted, in some areas more quickly than in others, and most — if not all — of the items once in short supply are reliably back on retailers’ shelves.

A year ago, however, many retailers were forced to close very quickly, with little notice and stockrooms full of inventory.

Those retailers not considered “essential” were left with a surplus of stock that during the ensuing weeks and months became outdated and unwanted; many people weren’t leaving their homes, so foot traffic hit all-time lows.

Adapting stock strategies

Online retailers and brick-and-mortar shops alike depend on good inventory management to run an efficient business.

Now that stores are open on a more regular schedule, their managers are recognizing that inventory strategies must change.

By offering a more curated selection than pre-COVID, retailers can more adeptly handle the ongoing uncertainty in customer traffic and buying behavior.

A number of retailers, including Gap and Nordstrom’s, reportedly reopened with a limited stock strategy, to hedge against a less-than-robust shopping season.

BOPIS challenge

In some respects, offering customers the option of buying online, picking up in-store (BOPIS) saved the day.

Many retailers further simplified the process for customers by offering curbside pickup; customers never had to leave their cars to retrieve their purchases.

By allowing customers the flexibility of purchasing online and retrieving products safely without leaving their cars, retailers eliminated a point of customer friction: Customers had the convenience of ordering online plus, in many cases, same-day pickup.

However, retailers faced the challenge of maintaining the right amount of inventory in stores to keep brick-and-mortar shoppers happy while still profiting from opportunities to move inventory through digital channels.

Stores that came up with the perfect balance will likely continue to offer the service post-COVID because of its popularity with customers.

Visibility into inventory movement

Retailers can only be successful at both in-store selling and e-commerce with accurate insight from trading partners into what is coming in and when.

With integrated inventory visibility from suppliers, retailers won’t be risking the safety stock they’ve built for in-store consumers.

For example, sending shipment information within two hours of shipment departure, and including scannable barcode labels on all packages can help retailers manage appropriate safety stock thresholds for in-store and BOPIS experiences.

Inventory management tools like Retail Pro also make the process more efficient for retailers.

When ordering merchandise on a multi-store Purchase Order in Retail Pro, a retailer can generate an advance ship notice for each store so each store knows what merchandise to expect.

When the merchandise arrives at the store, managers can generate a voucher from the advance ship notice to receive the items ordered on the PO into inventory.

Recovery ahead

Inventory management pre-COVID required effort and attention to detail.

During COVID, the supply chain was thrust into chaos, as manufacturers slowed production due to workers’ illness at their facilities, and orders fluctuated from exceeding capacity to trickling in.

Post-COVID, in the weeks and months ahead, the economy will begin to recover, and inventory management will face challenges as demand increases and stock levels race to meet it. When vendors are transparent and help retailers plan based on accurate delivery forecasts, retailers will be able to pursue sales opportunities in digital channels, resulting in improved top-line revenue and contributing to a global economic recovery.







Why the ‘Last Mile’ should be retailers’ first thought

person signing for delivery on ipad over a box that a delivery person wearing a denim shirt is holding

The anticipation of receiving that perfect order can be easily derailed by a poor product delivery experience.

The “ultimate” shopping experience depends on excellence from beginning—the order—to end, the delivery.

How quickly goods get from a warehouse to a customer depends on what’s called the “last mile” of the supply chain.

The efficiency of that final leg ultimately determines the customer’s satisfaction with the buying journey.

The Last-Mile challenge

person in fuzzy brown sweater holding two smaller boxes

Retailers face the challenge of managing their supply chains to keep delivery times short while keeping costs low.

Customers overwhelmingly opt for fast, free delivery when placing orders, which has led to a growing need for a broad distribution network, including warehouses.

Logically, such distribution centers should be in close proximity to the customers they serve.

CBRE Research analyzed the 15 largest U.S. metro areas and found that distances range from six miles in the San Francisco Bay Area to nine miles in the “Inland Empire,” a region east of Los Angeles County.

Not surprisingly, highly urbanized and dense population centers tend to be closer to last-mile facilities, while more suburban locations were farther away.

Proximity is important because customers expect fast delivery.

As Amazon continues to push the limits of logistics by offering same-day delivery, other retailers are expected to provide two-day delivery — at the latest. That final step in the delivery process is the most expensive and complex.

Gather and analyze logistics data

person in front of brick wall in denim shirt holding medium cardboard box

Companies collect so much data that it’s easy to suffer from information overload.

Gathering data is only the first step in understanding what is happening.

The real valuable information only comes to light after the analysis.

Put all of the “last leg” data in one centralized visual analytics tool, crunch the numbers to better understand the ins and outs of the last mile delivery process, and make regular adjustments as needed.

Offer Real-Time Delivery Tracking

Static tracking numbers are so last decade.

Invest in building or sourcing an app for your customers that tracks driver locations live and provides accurate ETAs, like the Uber of last-mile deliveries.

In addition, text messaging customers with updates on the delivery process creates a transparent process that supports a frictionless buying experience.

Many challenges associated with last mile delivery are outside of the retailer’s control, for example:

  • The number of orders picked and packed daily
  • The frequency that orders are picked up by the carrier
  • The proximity of the warehouse to the customers
  • The number of deliveries made daily

Many retail businesses partner with external fleets and use multiple carriers.

But there are ways to improve the “last mile,” and retailers can take more control of their business’s last mile logistics to identify inefficiencies quickly and improve their customers’ experience in a delivery-first world.







Retailers benefit from unified commerce insights

For retailers, a unified commerce strategy is built on the foundation of integrated retail technology for an efficient, frictionless customer experience across channels.

Unified commerce gives retailers a smooth, efficient means of transacting business, because inventory, sales, e-commerce, and fulfillment system data is integrated to regularly and automatically keep inventory availability and customer details synced and up to date.

From Point of Sale to e-commerce, from CRM to inventory management, all these technologies need to be connected so retailers have a clear picture of who their customers are and how to provide what they want.

Interaction with customers

Woman examines various items of dishes. Beautiful woman shopping tableware in supermarket. Manager helps a costumer.

Each time a customer enters the retail store, they leave behind a wealth of data for any retailer who can measure their interactions within the store:

  • What was bought?
  • What was picked up but not purchased in the end?
  • What was the dwell time near products that were not purchased?
  • How long was the customer in-store?
  • Was this an online pickup?
  • Did they purchase other items along with their online pickup?

Those answers, when documented with technology, inform a retailer’s back-end systems, so inventory can keep pace with demand, and so marketing teams can keep pace with customer needs.

To collate and analyze that information, retail processes and tools must be intelligently integrated in a retail management platform like Retail Pro to enable sharing of relevant data across both customer-facing systems and those that integrate with backend vendor systems.

Applications from the point-of-sale report on purchases, inventory, and customer data. Sharing this data with an integrated warehouse management system allows warehouse staff to have insight into stock levels currently on the shelves, and to place orders with suppliers as supplies diminish.

Sharing the data with a loyalty and personalized marketing platform like AppCard for Retail Pro allows marketing teams to create targeted campaigns around a customer’s purchase history.

Consistent data across channels

That principle also applies to in-store sales staff—they should have the same product information available as retailers’ online channels.

Integrating your ecommerce software with your POS can give store staff the visibility they need to serve customers who call in to verify stock availability before coming in.

Customers who started their retail journey at home but then switch “channels” to come into the brick-and-mortar store must be certain that inventory is in sync: Surprises such as realizing that products aren’t in stock when the web site said they were there are unacceptable.

If your website indicates there is a pair of shoes in certain size on the shelf, your in-store staff should be able to verify that through an inventory management application.

Retailers that use disparate, unintegrated systems risk delays in communication because data is manually updated at the end of the day, causing inventory counts to become out of sync and unreliable.



Customer-facing systems for engagement

There are a number of technologies that retailers can put in place to provide a seamless customer-facing experience.

Shelf labels and cameras can map consumers’ movements within the store. That helps in product layout for future products, and in product forecasting. They can also indicate where is the heaviest foot traffic within the store.

Beacons can communicate with an app on the customer’s phone to notify them of product sales when customers are in the store’s vicinity, enticing them to stop in.

When integrated with the POS as well, interactions in the app which originated from a beacon trigger and resulted in the ultimate purchase can be properly attributed to track the efficacy of the tools and campaigns put in place.

The connected data then provides insight also on unvoiced customer needs which are nevertheless discernable through their interactions with a retailer’s various channels.

Integrating data in retail technologies provides the foundation for retailers to more effectively determine and act on customer needs for a better customer experience.







Retailer innovations during COVID aim to keep customers happy

Excellent customer service has always been the hallmark of well-established, highly respected retailers.

Nordstrom’s, Zappos and Trader Joe’s are a few of the best examples of retailers that make concerted efforts to make and keep customers happy.

Before 2020, many retailers were happy to let those top-rated companies be the standard bearers for superior customer experience.

Meanwhile, many retailers continued servicing customers with no real CX roadmap.

It appeared to the uninformed that the return on investing in the customer service wasn’t worth the time and money spent.

And, the truth was, mediocre customer service was tolerated – until COVID came and retailers were forced to answer a deluge of customer questions and provide new services without much preparation.

In 2020, customer service became the only thing that mattered to customers.

COVID led to an expanded definition of customer service

Image: Anna Shvets

Shopping last year meant dealing with lockdowns caused by COVID-19.

The global pandemic made getting to stores difficult, so, at first, many if not most customers were ordering online.

And while those retailers may have believed they dodged the CX bullet, they were in for a surprise.

Retailers learned the customer service is not simply to answer questions about shipping and billing, but it is also to offer information and help for those struggling with the Coronavirus.

Customers may be desperately searching for products or information on payment options because can’t pay a bill, or are otherwise frustrated by the pandemic hindrances to getting products they need are reaching out via texts, online chat and phone calls.

This year, Forrester predicts customers will continue to look toward retailers for sympathetic customer support.

Forrester Principal Analyst Ian Jacobs recently wrote, “With U.S. unemployment peaking in April, millions of individuals found themselves struggling to pay for food, bills, and other necessities. Organizations must react to provide high-quality, emotionally sensitive customer support in the flexible ways that consumers need.”

In Forrester’s retail predictions for 2021, Jacobs said digital customer service interactions will increase by 40%. That gives retailers many more chances than ever before to prove their mettle.

Self-service options improve customer experience

One way to improve CX, ironically, is to offer more self-service opportunity.

Customers have reported liking to use self-service options, if the process is quick and easy.

In a word, it must be frictionless. For example, a capable site search tool can be invaluable for customers.

Likewise, chat bots are particularly helpful for providing succinct answers quickly; in addition, bots with the power of artificial intelligence bots can reflect whatever personality a brand wants to project.

Adding relevant services based on discerned customer needs

Image: Laura James

Another way to differentiate customer service is to launch a virtual service based on fulfilling a defined need.

Online pet supply provider Chewy, for example, has seen a huge surge in business during the coronavirus pandemic.

But its newest offering, a telehealth service for pets, was launched in response to customers telling service agents about their pet’s problems – while they are ordering food, treats, toys, etc.

The virtual service was on the roadmap for years down the road, but the company saw the need was for now, and launched in October.

Which services will carry on beyond COVID?

Image: Anna Shvets

This year, consumers will let retailers know which innovations will “stick,” and become part of their future shopping expectations.

Top of mind are questions such as: Will the evolution of click and collect to curbside delivery remain a shopping option? Will jewelers continue to offer virtual consultations? How will retailers be able to support the expansion of the sales channel without spreading their staffs too thin?

Those and many others will be answered by 2021 shopping patterns. And perhaps some new “kings of customer service” will be crowned.







Contactless payment and Augmented Reality: CX aids during COVID

Image: Karolina Grabowska

During the past year, brick and mortar retailers have struggled with encouraging people to visit their stores while keeping them as safe from COVID-19 as possible.

In addition to limiting the number of shoppers inside and enforcing mask-wearing mandates, contactless payments and augmented reality have suddenly seen significant growth as aids to shoppers’ experience in stores.

Contactless payments

Image: Cottonbro

According to the “Visa Back to Business Study – 2021 Outlook,” 56% of consumers have used contactless payments whenever possible in the past three months, making it the biggest shift in terms of shopping habits during the pandemic.

This past June, only 20% of SMBs had offered contactless payments; a few short months later, 39% have started to accept new digital forms of payments.

And a vast majority — 74% — expect consumers to prefer contactless payments once a vaccine is widely available.

In fact, the study found that 65% of consumers said that post-vaccine they are likely to continue to use contactless payments at least as much as they are currently.

Those numbers skew by generation: Millennials are the most likely to embrace contactless payments.

However, all age demographics seem to have a level of interest in contactless payments, perhaps due to the sanitary nature of the system.

Because of its wide acceptance—61% of Boomers have expressed a preference for contactless, according to Visa—it is likely here to stay.

Augmented Reality

Image: Fauxels

With consumers preferring to avoid contact even briefly during the payment process, it’s no surprise that dressing rooms are standing empty or even locked.

However, shoppers who try on clothing are much more likely to buy, so some retailers have replaced their shuttered fitting rooms with virtual ones.

In-store, shoppers can stand in front of a camera and see themselves on a large screen. They then select different products for their virtual self to model, allowing themselves to see exactly how they’d look in the selected outfit without having to try on a single piece.

Those mirrors could one day be linked to social media, which will provide an enriched interactive experience.

For retailers with an online presence, adding a dressing room widget to their websites allows customers to upload a single photo to instantly see themselves in selected clothing.

Using augmented reality to facilitate virtual try-ons also helps retailers reduce return rates.

As they head into 2021, retailers will be further developing those types of technology solutions, which helped get them through the pandemic.

Strategies that include contactless payments and AR will find expanded uses as the economy reopens in the second half of the year.







Unify commerce & streamline operations with Retail Pro

Ecommerce helped retailers get through a rough 2020. But sudden growth in digital operations also exacerbated the resource costs and inefficiencies of working with unintegrated inventory and customer data.

Retailers will need to evaluate their needs and gaps to determine the best way to unify data & operations across their organization.

Named top POS for mid-market retail by IHL Group, Retail Pro is the proven, globally localized platform to build omnichannel operations for today’s tough retail market.

Didn’t get to meet with us at #NRF2021? Request your consultation now >

POS and retail management platform

Connect all data in Retail Pro Prism for omnichannel visibility & total control over inventory, customers, orders, pricing, promotions, back office, & store operations.

  • Cut resource cost of manual data exchange with seamless integration
  • Connect all points of purchase for efficient order management & fulfillment
  • Spot trends & opportunities with the whole data picture: 1 unified view
  • Simplify path to purchase across channels for better CX

Deep reporting

Maximize your data’s value with operational reports, dimensional analytics, & KPI dashboards.

Powerful RFID

Increase stock accuracy to 98%+ & finish physical inventory in minutes with affordable RFID.

Business intelligence and visual analytics

Unify social media, sales, merchandise, & other data sources into 1 holistic view for intelligent insight.

AI-driven loyalty and personalized marketing

Leverage AI in marketing campaigns to understand & trigger your customers’ buying behavior.

Ready to unify commerce? Let’s start the conversation.






How connected data personalizes shoppers’ experience

Image: Gustavo Fring

Providing a personalized experience that’s “just right” — not overly intrusive but offering information relevant to each shopper — is the Holy Grail of retail.

Deep visibility into data unified across channels and technologies through the Retail Pro Prism platform can give retailers the level of information needed to offer the right products to the right customers at the right time, through a preferred channel or combination of channels.

A single view of inventory, orders and customer data provided by a unified system of technologies offers retailers insights about their entire business in real time.

But unified commerce has a customer benefit also, allowing customers to take advantage of up-to-date product inventories and the flexibility to browse, buy, and fulfill orders any way they choose.

Read now: What does it take to unify commerce?

Creating interaction points to learn what your customer wants

Image: Andrea Piacquadio

Customers want efficient trips and will seek retailers that streamline the purchasing process, and which may include an online-to-offline experience.

Enhancing purchasing channels so they complement and build on each other helps retailers optimize their investments, focus efforts, and support their customers’ journeys.

Omnichannel offers customers multiple touch points, each a part of a seamless experience, and unified data helps retailers deliver instant, informed personalization.

One way to do that is to review past purchase data, converged between transactions in-store with Retail Pro, on ecommerce, mobile, social sales, and any other channels a retailer may use.

But for new visitors, providing interactive content not only engages the shopper but also benefits the retailer by sharing customer likes—and dislikes—with the retailer.

That data helps build a unique profile for future interactions whether online or in-store.

Every personalized shopping experience is created based on customer interactions.

As the retailer determines customer intent, an online strategy must be in place to quickly feature certain products in a relevant manner, with pertinent information and offers readily available and presented to the customer with immediacy.

Matching products to the right customer with personalized recommendations

While customers appreciate personalized shopping, unified commerce also provides retailers the data for targeted inventory.

By converging a customer’s interactions with your brand at various touchpoints into one cohesive customer profile and analyzing that holistic data, retailers can learn what products are popular for which types of customers.

The information can inform text and email messaging through AppCard for Retail Pro, providing personalized content which entices shoppers to visit (or return to) brick and mortars.

Stores can reduce or optimize in-store inventory by matching certain high-inventory products to potentially interested customers.

Based on analyzing shoppers’ data, a store can determine what products will appeal to which customers and present those options proactively.

Communications that are in the know with the customer

Image: Torsten Dettlaff

Customer segments may require different handling; some use email, others text messaging.

Retailers who can reach the customer during the decision-making process will remain top-of-mind as a trusted provider of quality goods and services.

Engagement might be driven through personalized email reminders that highlight where they can pick up their purchased product in-store, as well as recommending complimentary products to the items they just purchased.

Mobile push notifications or text messages can highlight related items to opted-in shoppers via the retailer’s app or loyalty program.

Most important is the unified experience from the customer’s point of view: When he or she returns to the retailer’s site, they should also see updated recommendations and search results based on in-store — or previous online —purchases.

Unified commerce provides the foundation for customers to easily shop whenever and wherever they want, including starting on one channel and finishing through another.

And that is an important step toward frictionless retail.







2021 Retail trends: 3 ways to generate repeat business with offerings that build on each other

Digital acceleration will be one of the most popular topics in the retail world in 2021.

Coming out of a pandemic-centric 2020, retailers expanded e-commerce capabilities, cultivated (and relied upon) core customers and became creative with customer fulfillment.

How they continue to improve and iterate on those solutions will determine how customers view them in the year ahead.

Layering these offerings so that they build on previous interactions and offerings will also help deepen the bond with your brand as shoppers build their lifestyle on the conveniences you afford them.

Here are 3 trends that can help you generate more repeat business by building on your customers’ needs .

Expanded service capabilities

Image: Karolina Grabowska

A one-time purchase can be converted into regular repeat purchases with the offer of subscription services. Subscription services provide customers products delivered to their doorstep with minimal effort.

Some subscriptions are predetermined; a subscription to a shaving club may mean automatic delivery of razor blades and shaving cream on a monthly basis.

Others might provide something unexpected, an assortment of athletic wear or a collection of spring shoes for different occasions, for example, curated especially for the customer.

During shelter-in-place orders implemented to stem the spread of COVID-19, such services became particularly popular with consumers who appreciated this type of expanded e-commerce capability.

According to Zuora’s Subscription Impact Report, a measure of the economic impact of COVID-19 on subscription businesses, subscription-based revenue continued to grow between March 1 and May 31, 2020, increasing at a 9.5% annual rate.

S&P 500 sales in Q1 2020 contracted at a -1.9% annual rate in the same quarter.

The key for companies will be to not only continue growing its subscriber numbers, but to also increase the average revenue per subscriber.

And that will require a focus on building customer relationships.

One way to do that is to offer incentives for brand loyalty.

Perks that build retail relationships

Image: Andrea Piacquadio

Some retailers have taken the past year to reevaluate their rewards programs.

As more customers were locked down, retailers saw foot traffic dwindle.

Statista found 52.7% of U.S. Internet users avoided stores due to COVID-19 in February 2020, and a virtually identical number, 52%, who reported shopping more online in May 2020.

Now more than ever, loyal customers need to know retailers are thankful for them and appreciate their business.

Smart retailers are examining the data collected from their loyalty programs and discovering more about the members, so they can tailor rewards that are extraordinary.

The result will be stronger bonds with customers, resulting in more sales and referrals in the future.

Customers who have been cooped up due to COVID-19 restrictions are also hungry for interaction.

Retailers are looking at video to help bridge the physical distance between customer and retailer.

Livestreaming with product and personality

Image: Lisa Fotios

With more than 24 million e-commerce sites vying for attention, using video via livestreaming is a way for retailers to differentiate their brands, even if it does seem a bit nostalgic of Home Shopping Network.

“Live commerce” brings together digital and physical shopping experiences.

While it’s a trend that became more popular as retailer’s faced slower foot traffic as a result of a global pandemic, it’s one that will continue in the years to come.

With livestreaming, or live commerce, customers watch a presentation on a product or service, coupled with a social element such as a video call or comments.

Content can be viewed within a retailer’s app, on a website, social media, etc.

The strategy, especially when coupled with a high-profile celebrity, can yield outstanding results.

For example, in November 2019, Kim Kardashian joined top Chinese influencer Viya Huang on her livestream channel and sold 15,000 bottles of her KKW fragrance in under an hour.

Not all retailers have such firepower available, but livestream events simply centered around “real users” could add the bit of differentiation some may need to jumpstart sales.

The “new normal” for retailers revolves around augmenting the familiar areas of customer experience.

By providing more convenience, working toward improving loyalty, differentiating their brands and working to transform themselves from old sales models, retailers can position themselves for success in 2021.







Using Retail Pro Prism POS on mobile for your 2020 curbside & COVID-careful holiday shopping setup

Mobile POS systems can give sales-floor associates and customers flexibility, boost productivity and improve customer satisfaction.

Mobility with Retail Pro Prism supports creative ways to sell and promotes faster queuing. Both are likely to appeal to the ways today’s customers prefer to shop.

Mobility for curbside shopping

Remember back before the pandemic lockdown, when sidewalk sales were typically an annual summer event?

Now, with occupancy restrictions limiting the numbers of shoppers allowed in a store at a time, sidewalk sales are commonplace, bordering on routine occurrences.

Retailers with mPOS can be ready at any time to take credit or debit card payment for items, and the shopper can stay outside.

mPOS systems can also be used for curbside pickup, a solution crafted out of necessity but now — without a doubt– certain to stay. The ease of convenience of curbside pickup is not lost on anyone who has ever done errands with a toddler.

With the web-based Retail Pro Prism software, retailers get full POS functionality on the mobile device of their choice and integrated EFT to complete the transaction where it began – whether on the salesfloor or sidewalk.

An entire afternoon spent outdoors no longer necessarily involves hiking trails when the neighborhood’s finest restaurants are serving gourmet food under tents, and boutiques have set up popup stores next to Farmers’ markets.

On the salesfloor: The clienteling & endless aisle experience

Woman holding retail pos tablet
Image: Andrea Piacquadio

The best sales associates act as a customer consultant: they are close at hand if help is desired, never overbearing and always pleasantly knowledgeable.

Retail Pro Prism mPOS lets associates walk around the floor, free to interact with and assist customers rather than be tied to the cash wrap, as they were in years gone by.

That ability to be in the customer’s orbit from the moment they arrive until they pay for their items helps enhance the customer experience because it builds rapport between shoppers and employees.

In some cases, returning shoppers ask to be helped by specific associates. Those retailers rightfully consider their excellent service “an offering.”

A retailer can also pull up user manuals for higher-consideration items and marketing materials that explain product features to answer customer questions.

In addition, mobile devices can help make Endless Aisle solutions a reality.

A limited showroom selection can easily be supplemented by a complementary selection of items available online, in colors, sizes and other variations too numerous to fit on a retail floor.

Purchases, returns, and orders: All-in-one time-saving checkout

safe retail shopping during COVID

Retail Pro Prism mobile POS speeds up the ordering process. The moment a customer decides to purchase something, the associate takes the payment right on the floor.

No more waiting in line, and often the interaction is completely paperless, as receipts are sent to email accounts.

During particularly busy seasons, mobile POS software can be used for “queue busting,” in which associates take payments within checkout lines, providing much-needed respite for overburdened cashiers.

And in Retail Pro Prism retailers can check out purchases, order out-of-stock or specialty items, and complete returns all in one transaction, saving everyone time.

mPOS makes the entire purchase process efficient and is in-tune with the customers’ preferences.

Customers can have a quick shopping experience with surgical precision and speedy curbside checkout, or a longer one, in which they view curated selections in an Endless Aisle, ask in depth questions about features, compare options and ultimately leave with the desired product ordered and accessories in–hand.

Flexibility is the name of the game.







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Countries

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54000

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Points of Sale

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Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale