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3 Ways to track your inventory for better sell-through

Retailers more than ever before are faced with critically evaluating their inventory to curate a selection of products that will sell quickly and reduce their inventory costs.

The longer products sit on a shelf or in a warehouse, the faster their value decreases.

Carrying costs can be between 20 and 30 percent of inventory value, which indicates too much stock is simply taking up room and not providing revenue.

Capital costs are the largest portion and perhaps the greatest burden of carrying inventory; they include the investment made in acquiring goods and the interest lost when cash becomes inventory.

There are also storage costs and service costs.

And of course, there are risks with carrying inventory, primarily that the real value of the items will decrease while in storage, waiting to be sold.

1. Watch shopper demand

To streamline offerings, companies routinely weed out what’s not moving, and focus on products — and related items — that are popular.

One of the most efficient ways to determine exactly what customers are buying is by monitoring your inventory and sales data.

That provides the data necessary to determine what customers really want.

It can also help determine what they’ll want a few months down the road; investing in an analytics expert can be a cost-effective way of understanding and acting upon the information gathered.

Retailers tend to look at revenue as the primary metric of success or failure.

But knowing what drives those sales is equally important, because that information can help formulate a strategy for growth.

The additional analytics provide a more complete picture of a retailer’s health.

2. Audit store inventory

A complete audit includes more than an inventory count of both product on shelves and back stock, as it also can include a count of damaged products; assessments of in-store displays; planogram compliance (shelf location, number of SKUs, missing or inaccurate shelf tags).

Some retailers include a summary of competitors’ strategy as well as a look of their own roadmap.

Many retailers use point of sale software like Retail Pro to track current inventory, which is crucial in determining the right balance of products to carry.

POS software provides real-time inventory visibility and helps ensure the items are available in-store or for fulfillment of online orders.

It’s also important to confirm that data visually to have an exact idea of current stock.

While it may seem old-fashioned — and certainly not a replacement for today’s technology — performing a visual inspection could find an underlying reason for the slow sales, such as poor product placement on the retail floor.

Technology like RFID can help a retailer conduct physical inventory counts in hours rather than days.

Similarly, POS software can also help retailers identify product shrinkage, which may be easily remedied by physically relocating the item or by changing loss-prevention techniques.

3.Manage turnover ratio

By effectively managing the inventory turnover ratio, cash flow is optimized.

It provides feedback that the retailer is meeting customers’ needs, and results in maximized profits.

Even and especially the largest retailers need to be aware of their inventory situations and make their stock work for them.

Not only does that result in healthier revenue, but it also ensures more satisfied customers who know that what they come for is in stock.






7 Data insights to shape your retail decisions post COVID-19

Finding opportunities in your business data with Retail Pro Decisions


Save your spot for the webinar time that’s most convenient for you!

Thursday, June 4 at 11am ET (ES) — Register here

Tuesday, June 9 at 3pm GT (EN) — Register here

Thursday, June 11 at 11am PT (EN) — Register here

PS: Can’t make it to the webinar? Register now to get the recording sent straight to your inbox!


COVID-19 forced retailers worldwide to pivot fast to survive this unprecedented and wholly unexpected market downturn.

From shifting to ecommerce-only and fast fulfillment strategies, to staying connected with customers during lockdowns, your ability to adapt and take assertive action is crucial for your business to survive.

Now more than ever retailers must turn to their data to monitor KPIs and get insights that will help you combat the ongoing effects COVID-19 will have on consumer mindsets and economies.

Join us in this webinar to see 7 insights you need to search out now from your data to help you shape your retail decisions post COVID-19 and position you to make the most of the shopping season remaining in 2020. 

Save your spot for this Retail Pro International and PA Latinoamericana webinar to hear:

  • Smart ways retailers have adapted to stay connected with customers and maintain retail operations
  • Why every retailer should reevaluate the extent & sources of data that drive their strategy for customer engagement and inventory management
  • How to monitor every KPI with data from your POS, ERP, CRM, e-Commerce, and other critical applications integrated in Retail Pro Decisions visual analytics software
  • What insights you need to glean from your data now to shape your decisions as you reopen and reconnect with shoppers for the remainder of 2020





Reopening your stores: optimize these 5 areas first

Stores are starting to reopen across the world, and we are watching this very, very carefully. 

We’re learning a ton of new things while watching what they are doing, because some of these stores are doing excellent business. 

In some cases, they are exceeding last year’s numbers!  Let’s take a look at what the most successful retailers are doing to make this happen. 

Overall, you have to approach opening as if you were opening for the first time. 

It has to have that level of excitement, that level of enthusiasm. 

So my first, best advice to you is to get super pumped up about opening! 

1. Store Presentation and Layout

This is the perfect time to reassess your store’s layout and shop-ability. 

You certainly want to organize your store so your shoppers can maintain the proper social distance from each other and still see all the great merchandise you have in stock. 

Here are some tips you can apply:

  • Start at the front door, and look inside your store as if you’re visiting for the first time.  Can you see all the way to the back wall? Can you identify key areas that you want to go to to see the merchandise?
  • The most important real estate in your store is the immediate right. Do we have some of our best merchandise there?
  • Many stores are putting markers on the floor that direct people through the store, creating a path to follow, much like grocery stores or Ikea have done. The benefit of this is that when your shoppers walk the path, they can see merchandise they might not have seen.  This is creating add-on sales!
  • As you walk the store, make sure your displays make people want to stop and check out the merchandise. Make the displays compelling with cross-merchandising, props, bundles, and multiple levels.
  • From each display that causes a shopper to linger, where will they go next? Merchandise your displays that lead the customer through the store, directing their eyes to the next great display of merchandise.
  • Signage is super important. Yes, you want to have signs that remind people to obey social distancing, but they don’t have to be negative or serious. A western apparel store put up signs that say, “There should be a cow’s distance between us!” Another store posted a sign that said, “If you can read the label on my jeans, then you’re too close!” Make it fun!
  • This is also a time to ensure you have excellent lighting that shows off and spotlights your great products.

2. Marketing

For many years, I have said that marketing should have a two-word definition, which is “Creating Demand.”

That means that any messaging you send out, whether it be by email, social media, or texting, should first be checked to see if the message makes anyone want to come to the store or the website, or to find out more.

If it doesn’t, rework it until it does.

  • I think the best messaging for reopening is, “We are back, we are safe, and we are ready for you!” Customers need to feel like you are welcoming a long, lost friend to the store.
  • Show them in your videos (you ARE doing videos, right?) and posts how you are working hard to keep the store clean, safe, and fun. 
  • There is a lot more activity in social media and emails now. More retail stores have had to quickly open up e-commerce sites, and the only way to promote those was to send out tons of social media posts and videos, and emails. So it’s noisier out there, and to compete you have to generate as much activity as everyone else. That means 2-3 emails per week, multiple posts on social media every day, and at least a couple of videos.
  • While I’m talking about videos, did you know that YouTube is the #2 search engine on the planet?  That means that you need to have your own YouTube channel, post all your videos on there, and make sure you tag them properly so people can find and watch them, and want to come to your store.

I have to confess that up until recently, I was not doing much with hashtags in social media. 

But I have come to learn that they are the best, most direct path to getting more customers to follow you. 

That said, they have to be the RIGHT hash tags – in other words, “#clothing” is not going to help you, but “#darkwashskinnydenim” will. 

Look at other stores and brands that you admire and take a look at their hashtags. 

Incorporate those into your posts and see if they get you more likes and followers. 

3. Staff

As you open your business, you’ll also need to give careful consideration to your staff’s needs and your personnel needs as well. 

  • Keep in mind that with social distancing, you may not need as many people on the floor as you did previously. Also, your store may have different hours now. So first, consider what you really need in terms of floor coverage, and then deal with any employee issues.
  • Some of your staff may be reluctant to come back. It may be that they are scared of the virus and don’t want to return. It may also be that they are enjoying the extra money they’re getting while on unemployment. This is all understandable, but you cannot be held hostage this way. Retailers who have faced this have had to get new staff, and you may have to do the same. 
  • The ones that do come back will need some additional training. First, they need to learn some new procedures in the store, especially regarding cleaning. We need to show customers that our stores are clean and safe, and so your employees will need to know how to clean and which areas to clean. Of special concern for apparel retailers is the dressing room. It needs to be cleaned between visitors, and I would recommend posting a log inside the dressing room that shows how often the dressing has been cleaned. 
  • Staff will also need to be trained on how to sell from 6 feet away. How do they still engage with customers, make recommendations, and lead them to the purchase?  Certainly, one of the things I think they’ll need to work on is how to move the conversation from the awfulness of this pandemic, to positive things. It’s something they need to drill before you open.

4. Selling

The politics of salesmanship are yet another challenge we have to get past. 

Scroll through social media for 2 minutes and you’ll see tons of divergent opinions about how this whole situation should be handled. 

  • Some of your customers are going to be worried about being out. Make sure they feel warmly welcomed, and make sure they see that you are cleaning the store, that you are safe, and that it’s OK to be there.
  • Other customers will want to completely ignore that there is a virus at all. Be careful about any customers who do not obey social distancing, for this reason only: you could freak out other customers who see it, and that could get you a nasty scene on the sales floor, or a nasty online review.
  • Lots of stores are stepping up sales by setting appointments to visit the store. An appointment is almost a guaranteed sale, because you wouldn’t make an appointment unless you had a strong interest in buying product, right? 
  • Products that are touched by customers need to be cleaned. Garments that have been tried on need to be steamed, and everything needs to get looked at to ensure safety. This is part of what your employees need to show customers on the floor – that we are safe, and the merchandise can and should be touched!

We are seeing a large variety of methods of selling right now. It’s a broad topic and way beyond the scope of this post.

The most important thing I can tell you is that we’re all learning how to sell in this new era, and there will be lots of tips and tricks coming. 

5. Merchandise

Frankly, the absolute most important thing in this blog post is a discussion of your merchandise.

Having the right merchandise is the key to your survival.

  • First, look at your Spring merchandise. We think Spring will be extended by a month or so, since people have not seen a lot of the merchandise you received when then lockdowns started. Look carefully at what you have and what’s on order. Talk to your vendors and find out if they still have goods and negotiate for discounts on whatever they have left, but only if your Open to Buy plan (you do have one of those, right?) tells you that you need it.
  • Fall goods could be tricky. We’re already hearing that many manufacturers are not able to produce their typical Fall production because of the shutdown. Start talking to your vendors about Fall and see who can and cannot ship, and how that will affect your assortment plan.
  • Most importantly, you need a sales plan that you believe in, coupled with an inventory plan that enables you to turn goods even faster than you ever have. In all of our merchandise planning and open to buy planning, we are putting together models that ensure positive cash flow through proper sales forecasting using algorithms and artificial intelligence. Cash was always king, but now, it’s super-king. Make sure you have a solid plan to get you through the rest of this year!

One last thing, which is really, really from my heart. I believe in independent retail. I believe in you. Every politician says that small business is the backbone of our economy, and that’s true. 

That said, small businesses are the people who build communities, who take leadership roles to give everyone a better life.

To that degree, you are more than the backbone of the economy, you are the backbone of society itself.

As such, your survival is hugely important! 

And you can do it, if you apply these first tips that I’ve listed here. 

So go for it. Make it happen, for you, your family, your community, and for the future for all of us. 

We all stand with you, and we’re cheering you on!

Get the retail reopening checklist

Make sure you don’t miss any important details! Get this retail reopening checklist from Retail Pro and Management One today.

Guest author: Dan Jablons
Management One
Retail Smart Guys





Luxury after lockdown: High quality, high value

Crises such as COVID-19 present the shopping public with tough decisions.

During the current uncertain times, many are anxious about surging unemployment rates and continued social distancing protocols in public.

Some shoppers will be forced to “make do” and sacrifice “nice to have” purchases for those that are considered “must-have.”

Luxury buyers, however, are less concerned about price, and more focused on quality.

High quality wins high loyalty

Luxury shoppers tend to have a strong bond with the brands they favor; customers are loyal to them for their reputation for quality.

This group is not concerned with price; sometimes, status is part of the allure, but increasingly, these shoppers see their purchases as high quality and as investments.

For instance, the purchase of a limited-run, hand-crafted handbag or a precisely cut French crystal decanter could very well be enjoyed for a lifetime before being handed down to a grandchild. 

The worth of those items is tangible: It is evident in their appearance they are quality items. They are not trendy, flashy pieces evidencing conspicuous consumption and thereby casting their owners in the harsh light of criticism.

Practical lux

Instead of being symbolic of an ostentatious life, luxury goods will, at least in the near-term, likely fill a somewhat more practical need.

They will be expensive but will focus on the overall value and their storied histories.

Such brands often have rich backgrounds, and they’ll focus on their uniqueness and heritage to their new and loyal customers who are now shopping in a more discerning manner.

Understatement will rule the day, and prominent logos will fade.

The voice of luxury during the lockdown

But not all luxury brands will come out of this retail lockdown for the better.

Those who were actively promoting their products’ quality as part of an overall “lifestyle” will fare better than those who were passively counting the days until reopening, focused on cash and cutting employees.

Brands who have furloughed their distinguished associates and gone into hibernation are risking their futures.

They have damaged their abilities to create the value for which they were once renowned, and that once drove their customers’ eagerness to buy their products.

Goods & experiences

Pre-COVID, luxury goods were feeling a bit of a pinch, as millennials looked toward more “Instagrammable” high-end experiences.

Boomers, too, having bought and accumulated luxury items over the years were also looking at trips and adventures rather than jewelry or automobiles.

Analysts at McKinsey note that while the positive momentum of experiential luxury will likely persist, it will slow down in the short term as consumers temporarily revert to buying goods rather than experiences.

From depression to recession, the luxury sector has reinvented itself many times.

It is as strong as a colobolo desk, yet as fluid as 1959 Dom Perignon.

Companies that were well positioned before the crisis yet continued to have a positive presence throughout the retail shutdown could well wind up stronger, more innovative and more deeply connected to their core customers – and attract some new ones as well.






6 Ways the Retail Pro Prism platform supports COVID-19 frontlines in pharmacy retail

As families and businesses have been doing their part to contain and eradicate COVID-19, frontline heroes emerge: doctors, nurses – and pharmacists.

These dedicated pharmacy professionals play a large role in helping people maintain a level of wellbeing with the prescriptions they fill, and their essential work is supported by technology with the use of POS and retail management software to ensure accuracy and efficiency in their operations.

In Pakistan, for example, pharmacies like Meri Pharmacy, Ehad Healthcare, DVAGO, MedAsk, and many others, leverage the flexible Retail Pro Prism point of sale platform in their retail locations.

Retail Pro Prism is a platform technology for specialty retail with an accessible application programming interface (API) which allows the software to be customized to fit the needs and precise operations of a wide variety of retail verticals – including pharma retail.

Pakistan-based Retail Pro Business Partner, Computing Solutions, leveraged Retail Pro Prism’s platform technology to create customizations specific to pharma retail’s industry needs.

Here are 6 add-on customizations made to work with Retail Pro Prism to support the needs of pharmacy retailers.

1. Instant item lookup

Retail Pro Prism gives sales associate multiple ways to look up items, including:

  • UPC
  • ALU
  • Description fields
  • DCS
  • Vendor name
  • Vendor code
  • Serial number
  • Lot number

Here, the plugin expands Item Lookup capabilities to display possible inventory matches as you type, decreasing time required to search for a product when a barcode is not available.

The customization also allows you to combine multiple fields in the lookup, like price and on hand quantity.

2. Shortcut keys

Getting customers through the queue quickly and efficiently is important to the customer experience in retail, and even more so during COVID-19 as shopping trips for essential items are strained with awareness of risk.

Retail Pro helps increase efficiency at the point of sale by giving retailers control in tailoring the user interface to mirror their workflows and reduce unneeded steps.

With this plugin to Retail Pro Prism, the pharmacy team can do their work at the POS entirely with keyboard shortcuts, reducing time spent in switching back and forth between keyboard and mouse.

These keyboard shortcuts are customizable to the retailer’s requirements and significantly improve transaction speed.

3. Image upload for prescriptions

For retailers whose customer experience is built on a one-to-one, clienteling approach, customer history in Retail Pro Prism is an important tool.

In the customer history you can see past purchases and notes, so a sales associate can pick up where they left off and make relevant recommendations for a shopper’s needs today.

For pharma retail where they deal with the delicate issue of patients’ health history, the ability to view prescription histories is a regulatory requirement.

This plugin to Retail Pro Prism allows the pharmacy team to upload multiple prescriptions, sketches, or any other useful images related to the customer.

These images are centrally synced and available to be viewed across stores, ensuring that customers visiting any pharmacy in your chain will be met with employees knowledgeable in the customer’s prescriptions.

4. Alternate product suggestions

When a product is not quite the right match for your shopper, having a working knowledge of your inventory is helpful so you can suggest alternatives and still save the sale.

In pharma retail, this is especially useful as brand label medicines also have generic counterparts. Tapping into the full breadth of inventory in Retail Pro, this add-on customization recommends alternative products based on the drug formula.

This functionality can be used to make recommendations based on size, color, design, fabric, and other item descriptors.

You can sort suggestions based on margin or on-hand quantity, giving you helpful insight when cross-selling or upselling.

Lot management is also easy and effective, and products can be recommended on a First Expired, First Out basis.

5. Dual printing

Retail Pro takes on an open hardware approach, giving you flexibility to leverage the hardware and peripherals you need for your store strategy.

Receipt and label or barcode printers are still common staples – and retailers are applying them to broader use cases.

In pharma retail, this plugin to Retail Pro Prism allows the pharmacy team to simultaneously print a receipt and a label. Personalized dosage instructions can also be saved with the receipt and printed, and a QR code can be added for easy re-ordering.

6. Duplicate customer check

Customer management tools in Retail Pro help you collect the information needed to know your customers, uncover their shopping propensities, and apply the insights to your merchandising strategy. The health of your customer data is critical in this.

Built-in customer lookup tools in Retail Pro Prism can be customized with this plugin to conduct a duplicate customer check based on the phone number or any other identifying field.

With cleaner customer records, you can improve customer-based reporting and glean more accurate insights from your data.

Get creative and stand together

Retail Pro Prism is as flexible as your team can get creative as you strive to optimize efficiency in your stores.

These are just 6 add-on customizations that work with Retail Pro Prism through its flexible API and user interface.

By use of this platform technology, Retail Pro Prism was augmented with customizations for the needs of pharma retail in Pakistan. This is just one small way Retail Pro is helping the essential workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.






3 Ways to keep customers from feeling ‘distant’ during COVID-19

The current economic lockdown has exacerbated challenges many retailers have faced during the past several years, as decreasing foot traffic and increasing online competition has chipped away at margins.

Even as local governments consider when retailers’ doors can and should reopen, many customers will remain wary of running non-essential errands.

However, a vast majority of retailers already have employed successful strategies to compete with online merchants, and now they are redoubling their efforts to keep customers happy and satisfied.

For many retailers, that means continuing to invest in the online portion of their businesses to remain viable.

Current circumstances have forced them to offer new services — including some “out of the box” solutions — that may become permanent additions to their business strategies.

Here are 3 ideas that retailers large and small are using to meet, and even exceed, customer expectations during COVID-19.

1: Social media engagement

Topping the list of retailers’ worries is figuring out how maintain and possibly even increase customer relationships with their customer bases digitally.

These are strategies that are not only imperative when in-person engagement is impossible or reduced, but important also when competition from online merchants seems overwhelming.

Social media marketing via Facebook and Instagram are perfect tools for the task, as is direct-to-consumer email marketing.

Customer relationships can be nurtured, and clients can still feel the strength of their loyalty and engagement with brands using social media as well as personalized emails.

These can be targeted to specific sets of customers, and might herald the introduction of a new offering, or provide a unique service.

2: Unique offerings

Customers engage online with retailers that provide unique services online.

Offering an online class or special event can offer a much-needed “social” activity, while encouraging staying in the privacy of one’s own home.

Tying the online presentation to products for sale with handy links boosts sales as well as the retailers’ reputation.

Any retailer can offer a relevant online class, including flower arranging, lawn care, golf instruction, cooking lessons, makeup application, etc.

3: Expanding online and delivery options

Retailers that offer more stock online will reap more sales, and appeal to a broader customer base that may stick around long after social distancing mandates have disappeared.

Expanding the breadth of online offerings, including gift cards, lets customers support businesses 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

If shipping is a problem, curbside pickup has become one innovation that is likely to become part of everyday shopping. The convenience of calling ahead and picking up without leaving the car is addicting.

In addition, it may actually require some retailers to hire “runners” specifically to satisfy those customers.

Omnichannel or online retailers are well-positioned to deal with restrictive store hours but should always be alert to maintaining the best experience for customers.

The website experience should be straightforward and welcoming, so customers can shop and engage in a frictionless, easy way.

Engage the whole supply chain

The retailer-vendor relationship is also crucial during these uncertain times.

All of the supply chain is in uncharted territory, so continuous partner engagement is critical.

All links in the chain should be encouraged to provide the best customer experience for their customers, in ways that can be mutually beneficially for all partners, such as passing along special offers through finance partners or working with distributors to provide free shipping.

Those relationships will become particularly important as customers return to in-store shopping, as retailers rebuild their customer loyal bases and engage the newer customers who were attracted by the retailers’ digital presence.






Where to find the kind of customer data insights you need to compete like D2C

 

 

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have unfiltered insight into customer behavior.

With no retailer in the middle, they can easily obtain customer feedback and tailor their offerings accordingly.

Born in the online world, D2C brands remove the retail middleman in order to own the entire relationship, from production to distribution to sale.

And, because they have streamlined supply chains, D2C brands can offer highly competitive prices.

So how can traditional brands compete against those digitally born, like Dollar Shave Club, Casper, and Warby Parker?

 

Customer data puts you in the know relationally

 

D2C brands own the customer relationship, so they hold a large amount of detailed demographic and behavioral data about their customers.

Customer data is tracked — from browsing history to final purchase — allowing the brand to optimize for better, more targeted recommendations.

And each D2C transaction is an opportunity to interact with an engaged consumer.

Traditional brands with a robust omnichannel and social presence should also have that type of data available for analysis.

 

Get demographic data from ecommerce & advertising

 

Ecommerce platforms and digital advertising provide demographic data such as gender, age, preferences, geography and more.

Analyzing customer information provides retailers with a roadmap that details which products are popular, as well as where there may be product gaps.

In other words, data can also show what customers may be looking for but aren’t able to find.

The most successful D2C players have identified markets that consumers felt were overpriced. By working with their suppliers and providing them nuanced customer personas, traditional brands can trim costs, provide more personalized products and increase sales.

 

Understand psychographics from web & social media data

 

Psychographic data, comprising information about a person’s values, attitudes, interests and personality traits, can also be extremely important in targeting prospective customers, and website analytics can help gather that type of data.

Reviewing existing site content and previous special offers can paint a picture of what has moved site visitors to click, call, or buy in the past.

That insight will not only inform ecommerce positioning, but in-store marketing as well.

In addition, surveying regular customers can also improve a brand’s understanding of its clientele.

Psychographic data is easily acquired when advertising on social media platforms.

A robust social advertising strategy has tools that can spread awareness quickly to a targeted set of customers that goes well beyond demographics.

For example, if a sporting goods store learned that many of its customers are mothers, aged 35-50, who run, buy youth soccer equipment, and are also in dog rescue groups, its promotional materials might easily be tailored to reflect that persona.

By using personalized data, traditional brands can adjust their websites, products, and messaging to address their D2C competitors effectively, increasing sales and customer loyalty.






Same-day service appeals to COVID-19-homebound shoppers

 

 

With COVID-19 as the latest driver for store closures, brick-and-mortar stores have had to get innovative to keep transactions flowing and compete against their born-online ecommerce counterparts.

It’s not simply a price game. Unique product selection and convenience and are differentiators that can position a brick and mortar as a go-to for shoppers staying home to curb the virus’ spread.

One convenience that’s a long time coming but potentially a game changer is same-day order fulfillment.

 

The shipping options spectrum

 
Retailers that sell items in store and online often offer traditional shipping, which can take several days to arrive at the customer’s doorstep. Adding insult to injury, in addition to the wait time, there’s also a charge for delivery.

Of course, many offer free in-store pick up, but that is often inconvenient.

Many a local retailer has lost a sale to Amazon for its Prime shopping service.

Same-day service perfectly fills that void for brick and mortars, and if the local pizza parlor can do it, it’s likely a department store can as well.

 

Reach more shoppers with flexible shipping

 
Same-day service not only endears retailers to their loyal customers at this time when few are venturing beyond their living room.

It also appeals to those too busy to go out shopping, as well as the elderly, or those who may be homebound or without transportation.

It’s also a lifesaver for businesspeople who may have to attend a core meeting at a moment’s notice.

A speedy delivery of a dress shirt and tie or black pumps is not only perceived by the recipient as a career saver, but also provides good will that converts into loyal customers and more sales.

And don’t discount the impulse buy as a driving factor for offering same-day delivery. Customers are just as likely to get cravings while shopping online as they are on the checkout line.

Offering a quick turnaround time from cart to doorstep lets retailers offer last-minute, quickly-delivered finds for buyers to add to their cart.
 

Shoppers are willing to cover the cost

 
It’s true, offering same-day delivery will add substantial operating costs. However, offering same-day shipping as an option with an extra cost positions a retailer as one that is serious about keeping up and offering the most convenient shipping methods to improve customer experience.

In 2016, McKinsey released a report that found 20 to 25 percent of consumers would pay significant premiums to receive their items on the same day. Groceries, small electronics, and automotive parts top the list of products consumers are willing to pay for fast delivery, with up to 45% willing to pay extra.

Same-day delivery isn’t new; Macy’s has offered it in several markets since 2015, for example. What is new is the demand for the service, which is growing.

And with COVID-19 keeping most shoppers at home, there can be higher adoption of same-day service, faster.

More customers want the convenience of delivery with the benefits of in-store shopping. The question is, will more retailers be willing to accommodate the customer with new, more efficient shipping methods?






3 Technologies to blur the lines between life & shopping

 

Consumers love a seamless experience, and retailers are on task, moving ahead to meet those customer demands.

Meanwhile, more shoppers are using visual search, social shopping and augmented reality.

The ability for a shopper to take a photo of a dress seen on someone walking down the street and quickly identify and buy it, or the ability to click and purchase the sofa that a popular social media influencer is lounging on in her latest Instagram post — those capabilities are going to keep e-tail moving ahead in 2020.

 

1: Visual Search

 

Shoppers who are looking for an item but can’t describe it in words — but will know it when they see it — will flock to visual search technology.

Visual search will help find items that are similar to an uploaded photo.

Computers and smartphones have the ability to recognize and identify the most obscure as well as the most common items, from celebrities to logos to landmarks.

The technology isn’t new—Macy’s iOS app incorporates image recognition and visual search software, which lets consumers search through a plethora of inventory items just by using pictures snapped from their iPhone to find similar products.

The difference now is that other companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Visual search is particularly gaining momentum in the fashion and home decor sectors, including retailers such as Wayfair and ASOS.

 

2: Social Shopping

 

According to a GlobalWebIndex Trends Report “Social Commerce,” smartphone ownership has risen to 95% of the population.

Retailers are subsequently motivated to create ecommerce sites that are handheld device friendly.

The goal is to engage shoppers fully, so they complete the purchase journey while remaining within the ecosystem of these social platforms.

Direct-to-consumer companies, such as Warby Parker, Everlane and Casper, rely on social networks for customer acquisition, and have become a staple of the social commerce landscape.

They’ve been highly successful at not only marketing products through social networks, but also at closing the sale without leaving the platform.

 

3: Augmented Reality

 

AR can transform traditional retailers. It can show a customer how a product will look — whether that is furniture in a room or shoes on feet — without having to physically have the item.

Sephora’s Virtual Artist App with Modiface, for example, shows users via their smartphone camera how makeup products will look when applied.

For customers who are painting walls and not their faces, Home Depot’s Project Color app lets users view a paint color in a room.

The AR technology factors in lighting, objects, and shadows in the room, to help provide a realistic view of how the paint color will actually look.

Customers benefit from retailers’ investments in a variety of technologies when finding new brands, learning about products, and making transactions.

Weaving features such as visual search, social ecommerce and AR into their offerings provides an engaging shopping experience which consumers are starting to expect.

Those retailers that are willing to implement new technology and create better experiences will reap the benefits of listening to and anticipating the needs of their customers.

 

 






Inventory out of control? A POS update might help

 

 

Since the value of a retailer’s inventory is generally one of the largest assets on the books, efficient management of goods in stock is critical to profitability.

Though most retailers use inventory management systems, many often hang onto their legacy system well beyond the point where they’ve outgrown it.

Inventory management systems should support the purchasing, business analytics, and inventory control departments, and they are a crucial component of supply chain management.

But when your retail team has difficulty locating products, fulfilling orders or spotting trends, this may be the canary in the coal mine telling you you need a more efficient inventory management software.

Here are 3 benefits to be gained in updating to a modern POS.

 

1: Flexible product lookup 

 
Retail associates, like their inventory management systems, have an intimate and robust relationship with the goods on your shelves. They know what items are selling, which are lingering, and how shoppers pair them with other products.

To help increase sales efficiency, a good POS system assists employees by helping them find items using SKUs as well as names and descriptions, and sales reports from your POS data can help you do a basket analysis to spot those sales correlations and apply that on a broader scale.

In addition, modern POS gives you direct insight into inventory levels at each store within a chain, to avoid the disappointment of purchasers who arrive at a store with none of the desired items available.

With Retail Pro Prism POS, your retail associates can look up inventory across locations and send the sale to the location carrying the item in the size or color your shopper needs, so your team can save every sale.

Flexible inventory lookup capabilities are also critical to success when offering buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) services. Research from Oracle reported that 14% of baby boomers, 30% of millennials and 25% of Gen Z consumers use BOPIS. Since BOPIS is popular across demographics, it will be well worth the investment.

 

2: Forecasting

 
Another benefit of modern POS is help in forecasting.

Retailers must be able to calculate when a product will sell out based on marketing plans, rate of sale, and product demand as well as rates of sale and vendors’ lead times.

POS software that can store a multi-year item history is a valuable asset in planning; carrying too much stock–or the inability to meet demand–causes retailers to lose money.

Retailers that carry extra stock or don’t have enough to meet demand lose money, and it’s already too easy to lose a sale to Amazon because of an inventory shortage.

Demand forecasting also helps businesses effectively manage cash flow and maintain lean operations.

With Retail Pro Planning, you can tap into all your transaction history to see

Modern POS systems can provide data management and forecast calculations; retailers can apply that data to help with supply chain management.

 

3: Applying data insights

 
There is a difference between merely collecting and presenting data, and actually analyzing and using it to drive decisions.

POS data dashboards in Retail Pro Decisions can help you rehash your data in different ways to uncover trends and actionable information.

The system should identify which products require action: potential stock-outs flagged, recommended purchase orders calculated and candidates for overstock liquidation identified.

Such tools will help business formulate more accurate predictions.

For example, consultancy Conway MacKenzie has reported that a 10% increase in forecast accuracy could increase profitability by more than $10 million.

An aging or bare-bones inventory system costs a retailer time and money, because it lacks modern-day necessities such as data analytics and forecasting.

Being able to take action based on that information helps retailers compete in a sales environment in which knowing what customers want — and when they want it — is more important than ever.






130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale