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.
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
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
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has motivated retailers to turn to technology to help their businesses plan better, increase productivity, and service their customers.
Contactless payments are one of the areas that, because of COVID-19, will change forever the way retailers do business.
Safer and faster checkout
These RFID-enabled payments have been available for years but have surged in popularity during the pandemic.
Not only is contactless more hygienic – in the time of COVID-19, no one wants to touch cash that’s been touched by hundreds of strangers – but it also streamlines the entire checkout process.
While the pandemic may have provided a strong push toward a cashless society, customers could still choose to use a traditional payment card, rather than NFC technology, and be safer from virus exposure during the transaction because they are operating the card reader rather than handling cash.
However, because they use radio-frequency identification, contactless payments reduce time waiting in lines.
The “tap-and-go” process generally results in speedier transactions. While the transaction time for a chip-enabled card can take as long as 30 to 45 seconds, a contactless transaction can be as short as 10 to 15 seconds.
Global adoption of contactless payments
Contactless transactions build upon RFID and typically use NFC technology, the foundation for services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Globally, this method of payment is very popular.
The United States, however, has been slow to adopt contactless payments.
OEM mobile wallet transactions were predicted to increase as banks expanded the use of contactless cards.
In the U.S. market, contactless transaction values were expected to rise at an even higher rate than the global market, reaching $1.5 trillion by 2024, compared with the approximated $178 billion in 2020.
Once COVID-19 hit, contactless payments began to surge.
By August 2020, the global contactless payment market was valued at $ 1.05 trillion by 2019 transaction value, and is now predicted to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 20.01% between 2020 and 2027.
Today, the global contactless payment market value is expected to surpass $ 4.60 trillion by 2027.
Customers have enough friction getting out to the store today. By offering contactless payments, retailers can provide an efficient, safe method for purchasing goods and services while enhancing the customer’s overall experience.
Research from Klaviyo shows a sudden spike in demand for product categories that help people make the most of time at home, such as the “new essentials” that include electronics, housewares, and office supplies.
Order values of electronics this June 15 was approximately $8 million, for example, compared with roughly $4 million one year ago.
Retailers in the home goods industry are likewise seeing an impressive increase in sales, likely because shelter-in-place laws have made people a bit more conscious of their home environments.
As demand surges, many manufacturers are finding it difficult to keep up. Retailers are faced with figuring out how to efficiently manage inventory during production slowdowns when products are in high demand.
No retailer wants a repeat of the infamous “toilet paper shortage.”
With the uptick in sales, retailers are keeping a closer watch on orders to ensure satisfied shoppers.
Having accurate inventory data is crucial to survival for retail, which is where retail management solutions such as Retail Pro Prism fit in.
Tracking inventory available for omnichannel sales with Retail Pro
Because many physical stores are not yet opened at full capacity, a greater percentage of sales are being funneled through e-commerce platforms.
However, as states and nations reopen commerce, curbside pickup and in-store purchases are being added to the mix even for non-food retail, making it increasingly important that inventory counts across channels are accurate.
But many retailers were only on the path to omnichannel when COVID-19 hit and have had to accelerate digital efforts to create somewhat of a make-shift omnichannel to fill moment’s need.
As the platform for omnichannel data connectivity, Retail Pro Prism also helps retailers fill in the gaps as they transition toward fully integrated data across systems.
Retail Pro Prism gives retailers full visibility into their inventory at each location, whether the goods are at the warehouse, in transit, in the back room, or on the sales floor.
This kind of detailed visibility gives retail managers greater accuracy in tracking inventory, helping minimize unprofitable overstocks and the opportunity cost of shortages.
Automated replenishment capabilities based on minimum and maximum values in Retail Pro also ensure purchase orders are placed in time to prevent shortages.
Integration with retailers’ ecommerce platforms gives a threefold benefit:
Shoppers are given visibility into which locations near them have the products they want in stock
Store inventory can be used to fulfill online orders, increasing turn and reducing the need for duplicate inventory sets, one for each channel
Changes to inventory triggered by online purchases or purchases in store are automatically updated in both platforms, keeping availability accurate
Gauging staffing needs based on transaction and traffic volume
Proper inventory tracking processes not only guarantee items are on hand when requested but can also help with employee staffing.
With less shoppers in stores during COVID-19, certain support staff jobs are not being performed at the same rate, so stocking up on the materials used for those jobs isn’t imperative.
Reduced foot traffic means moving resources and shifting focus. Warehouse workers may need to adjust schedules and workloads to accommodate.
Using reports and visual analytics in Retail Pro, you can compare staffing levels to number of transactions completed per hour, including the number of items per transaction and foot traffic counts.
These kinds of data together will help determine whether an increase in staff would be needed to improve the experience for shoppers as they are coming back to your stores and wanting to find items quickly.
Levi’s: better turn even during COVID-19
Levi Strauss credits smart inventory management with helping it to remain strong during the COVID-19 crisis.
In the first quarter of 2020, the company reported inventories were 7% lower than the prior year’s.
During an investor call, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh said that Levi’s strategy will continue to focus on inventory management and added that a significant majority of its inventory is core replenishment.
That includes stock it can carry over into future seasons: More than 70% of Levi products are so-called “evergreen products.”
In addition, the retailer plans to increase its ship-from-store capabilities, allowing retail outlets to fulfill e-commerce orders.
When they do venture into a store post Covid-19, customers will want to see well stocked shelves and will not want to wait for shipments to arrive.
With a more proactive approach to tracking inventory and stocking shelves, retailers can keep existing customers happy — and attract new ones.
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.
We are honored to announce that the cross-platform, cross-channel POS and retail management software Retail Pro® was ranked number 1 retail mid-market POS in market share, global reach, innovation, and growth in the latest Retail Executive Advisory Program Research Study from IHL Group.
The study evaluated retail technology providers from all over the world based on relative strength, growth, direction, resilience, and market share.
“Over the years we’ve amassed a tremendous amount of primary and secondary-source data in this pursuit to assist retailers in vendor selection and to help understand the trends transforming our industry,” said Jerry Sheldon, Vice President of the IHL Group. “The study considers primary and secondary source data to evaluate and rank on-premise and SaaS POS for retailers with chains ranging from 1 to 100 locations – representing over 9 million POS locations installed POS units worldwide.”
In this hyper-competitive context, Retail Pro holds 5.9% market share in the midmarket slice for general retail and also ranks as a top performer in IHL’s positioning map which measures vendors by innovation and market strength dimensions.
Kerry Lemos, CEO of Retail Pro International, comments, “We thrive in the highly creative and demanding environments in all major markets worldwide. Striving together with our loyal customers drives us to keep honing our technology to be more efficient, more innovative, and more adaptable to the diverse retail brands using Retail Pro worldwide.”
As retail in emerging markets continues to expand and enterprise retailers are rearchitecting systems for unified commerce, IHL projects the POS software market will grow 53% from $3.2 billion in 2018 to $4.9 billion in 2023, implying further growth opportunity for top POS providers.
“In spite of economic condition setbacks in some markets, retail continues to advance in North America, EMEA and APAC. This presents our retail technology solution providers with an opportunity to move forward and prosper in the era of intentional innovation,” commented Greg Buzek of IHL. “These companies, ranked above all others in our study, represent a cohort of movers who push and help organizations drive growth. We congratulate the top-performers who move our industry forward.”
We are humbled at the significance of being ranked top POS at a global scale, and it is not by our efforts alone that this achievement was earned. Thus, we would like to recognize the people who work so hard every day, everywhere in the world, who are the hands, feet, minds, and retailers behind this triumph:
Our brilliant retailers who are always optimizing for more beauty and efficiency in retail experiences – and are using Retail Pro to do it.
Our forward-thinking designers, architects, engineers, and developers who create and support Retail Pro, and our dedicated team of business staff who keep the company on an upward trajectory.
Our skilled Business Partners who labor day and night to serve the 9000 retailers worldwide entrusting their operations to Retail Pro.
Our innovative Strategic and Development Partners who augment Retail Pro with the plugins and integrations they create.
All striving together for opportunities to push beyond what we thought we could do yesterday. All uniting to make retail what it is today.
It frees your sales associates from the cash wrap so they can more meaningfully engage with shoppers on your sales floor and learn about them!
There is no better way to personalize a customer’s experience than by actually getting personal and asking questions. What are they looking for? What’s the occasion? Can we help you find something to go along with the item you’re trying on?
That kind of human connection makes customers feel like they’re shopping with a friend, and it builds emotional attachment to your brand.
Then, when they’re ready, the associate can complete the sale right there on the spot.
United Colors of Benetton use Retail Pro on tablets in their hip new flagship redesign. The mobile POS reinforce the brand’s ultramodern mood and allows an exclusive payment via mobile and card only, potentially everywhere in the store, reducing the time spent in a queue.
You’ll need to train associates on smoothly transitioning from the personal shopper role to closing the sale and packing their purchase. Positioning bagging stations at key, central points in your store will help keep the efficiency of the traditional queue, without its anti-climactic, assembly line feel.
The best thing about mobile POS is its versatility. Since Retail Pro POS is a browser-based software, you can use it on your choice of Apple, Windows, or Android devices.
And with support for biometric login, Retail Pro helps your employees log in faster and jump back into that assembly line mode for a fast and efficient checkout experience. Plus, the stocking associates can pull out another mobile POS to bust through the line faster.
Retail exists in an ongoing tension: how to run retail profitably without forfeiting its heart – to meet people’s needs and bring joy.
Unified technologies are integral in this balance, offering a truer picture of your business and customers so you can discover and act on opportunities to better serve your customers.
For example, having your inventory data visibility across stores means when your store is out of stock on a particular product, sales associates can check its availability at other locations.
But merely seeing product availability only goes so far.
Having actual connected data means your sales associate can save the sale by placing an order to the other store using send sale capabilities.
They can then set up the order to be fulfilled either by shipping it to the customer’s home or nearest store, or to have the customer pick it up at that location.
This way, you’re saving customers from disappointment and you’re saving sales.
Customers are happy – check.
Inventory is moving – check.
You’re increasing profitability – check.
How unified tech actually helps CX
So how do you do this with Retail Pro POS?
Retail Pro is a platform technology, so you can unify all your retail technologies on its foundation.
That means you can connect data from your ERP, CRM, email marketing platform, dropship tools, RFID, ecommerce, and every other tool you use.
Not only does this give your sales associates tools to better serve your customers – because they’ll have access to shoppers’ purchasing history and preferences for clienteling and they’ll be able to get them what they want every time – but it will also give you the meticulous visibility you need to really see what’s happening in your business.
With data connected in the Retail Pro POS platform, you can set up real time updates between applications and get better accuracy in stock management and order fulfillment.
You can color in a fuller picture of what’s happening in your business and use KPIs to uncover areas for improvement.
Our accessible application program interface lets you integrate all pertinent data and automate data exchanges so you’re increasing efficiency and acting on the data insights you’ll get.
With data-backed insights, you can take steps to actually improve customer experience in ways that will be meaningful to shoppers and will add to their convenience in buying from you.
Putting shoppers first
Retail’s goal is not just selling and upselling for profit’s sake, though yes, profitability is what keeps you in business.
But really, retail is about connecting shoppers to goods that might help them live life a little more productively, a little more delightfully, a little more generously.
Retail is about putting shoppers’ needs first, and unified commerce built on Retail Pro helps you do it better.
Talk to your Retail Pro Business Partner or request a consultation today to see how Retail Pro can help you unify commerce.
In-store customers account for 50% of all eCommerce activity, research by Salesforce found, so closing the online-offline gap is critical for customer experience.
In response, retailers pursuing omnichannel with Retail Pro are turning their technology gains into customer-facing conveniences for unified commerce that puts shoppers first.
Here are three ways you can pass on the benefits of full data visibility in Retail Pro to your customers.
1: Show store inventory availability online
79% of shoppers research products online before buying in stores. Analysts are calling the trend ROPO – Research Online, Purchase Offline.
With so many shoppers choosing this blended approach to shopping, you can use your inventory data in Retail Pro to give customers online visibility into a product’s availability at their local store and secure the sale.
You can analyze customer history data in Retail Pro to personalize your marketing with recommendations based on items they recently or frequently purchased.
Effective recommendations are those that complement what the shopper already purchased from you, rather than simply other iterations of items the shopper has already browsed or bought.
3: Blend channels into one holistic shopping experience
For on the go consumers, the real shopping is done on your website.
They see your store as a fulfillment center where they will try on or pick up what’s needed on their way to do other things.
Integrated ecommerce and store POS can help you create a streamlined experience for these busy shoppers: shoppers can plan ahead and fill up their online shopping cart, and then access it at your store POS to complete the purchase and get the goods.
Omnichannel at Kanmo Group
Kanmo Group took this kind of holistic approach to managing data with Retail Pro Prism.
“To truly benefit from our omnichannel strategy, Kanmo Group has to look beyond simply engaging customers through offline and online means. When you look at the customer behavior in Southeast Asia, you will see that shoppers love to fill up their basket online – but they still prefer to complete the purchase in physical stores,” commented Bhavin Patel, Omnichannel Director of Kanmo Group. “We want to give our customers flexibility to collect and check out the ‘basket’ they created by communicating with a salesperson or through the real-time Retail Pro Prism POS system.”
Customers can fill up their shopping cart online. If they are in the area, they might choose to visit a nearby Justice store and complete their purchase there.
Going Omnichannel with Retail Pro Prism
Retailers pursuing omnichannel are taking on the monumental task of integrating all their data sources into a 360 degree view of their business.
With full integrability in the Retail Pro platform, omnichannel is becoming attainable reality rather than simply rhetoric.
Accurate, real-time communications in Retail Pro help you keep your inventory and customer information up to date across the entire business, so you can make better decisions from holistic, integrated business insights.
Whether you’re leveraging Retail Pro for your brand stores, ecommerce, kiosks, outlets, franchises, store-in-store, or pop-ups, Retail Pro is one solution for all your retail and helps you unify commerce in a way that puts shoppers first.
More retailers today are recognizing value in the raw data they collect from every transaction and seeing the need to use it more strategically to create a unique customer experience that will boost their bottom line and keep customers coming back for more.
The challenge then becomes knowing which data to single out from the torrent of data you have available: which data should a retail company track which would give direction for marketing efforts and lead to more conversions and repeat sales? And how do you put that data to good use?
Here are 4 ways you can take advantage of data gathered in Retail Pro POS to personalize your customers’ experience and boost your bottom line.
1: Collect better data with user-defined fields
Relevant data is where data-driven profit begins, and user-defined fields in Retail Pro POS give you flexibility to add the fields for which you want to gather data.
You can start by collecting the basics, like customer names and emails, and put that to good use immediately to personalize your communications.
Or, get more detailed with information like skin tone when you’ve just helped them pick out the perfect face makeup, so your marketing team can make more tailored offers on items like lipstick or blush.
Plus, you can grow your bottom line more efficiently by reaching out to past and repeat customers. This is where collecting emails at the POS really makes a difference.
Retail Pro Prism’s scriptable XML/CSS user interface lets you collect the data you’re interested in to better understand your customers and reach them more effectively.
Because you can entirely reconstruct the POS workflow to reflect your operations, you can create a popup prompting the sales associate to ask the customer for this information, helping you increase the amount of data points you’ll have to analyze.
2: Upsell with customer management features
Upselling is easier than selling to a customer for the first time and can help a store’s revenue grow faster. It should make customers feel as though they are winning – not as if they are simply shelling out more money. And when they’re winning, you’re winning too.
A quick glance at a shopper’s purchase history (or all those customer details you’ve started collecting!) in Retail Pro can equip your sales associates with the information they need to determine what products your customer would find most interesting and relevant, and make the offer for an upsell when they’re in the store.
Make it clear why you deserve these customers’ business, and why you offer a better value proposition than competitors. Most importantly, let them know how they’ll profit too.
3: Report on and analyze all your data for deeper insight on what your customers want
Getting holistic, real-time data in the hands of key decision makers allows them to take immediate action and improve performance in your stores. And when you give customers what they want, they come back for more.
To help you maximize the value of your data, intuitive dashboards and clear graphic visuals in Retail Pro Reporting allow you to summarize performance, analyze results, and explore trends.
Plus, when you integrate all your data sources in Retail Pro Decisions – like data from your database, ERP, CRM, external statistics, Google Analytics, social media, and any other data to which you have access – you can better understand what happened, why, and what’s coming next.
4: Integrate POS data with your CRM and personalized marketing platform to build loyalty and boost sales
Analyzing transaction data as a whole, like what customers purchase from you, when and how often, can be more useful for your longer-term marketing efforts, to better segment your shoppers and create personalized email offers based on their purchase history.
Personalized marketing solutions like AppCard for Retail Pro use transactional data from Retail Pro to trigger behavioral-based campaigns and keep shoppers engaged with your store.
It can help identify brand advocates and nurture prospects with AI-driven, highly personalized offers that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers.
By combining those data points, retailers can infer a level of interest and reach out accordingly. Remember, actions can speak louder than words.
Proactive retailers are constantly striving to increase visibility into exactly who their customers are, how they’re interacting with your stores, and what they want. And, with Retail Pro, you can collect and act on the data you need to drive more sales.
Retail Pro International (RPI) is a global leader in retail management software that is recognized world-wide for rich functionality, multi-national capabilities, and unparalleled flexibility. For over 25 years, RPI has innovated retail software solutions to help retailers optimize business operations and have more time to focus on what really matters - cultivating customer engagement and capitalizing on retail's trends. Retail Pro is the chosen software platform for omni-channel strategy by retailers in 130+ countries.