In-store inventory: Curating to compete against ecommerce’s endless aisle

 

 

One of the most difficult things for a retailer is understanding what items to have in-store and which could be successfully handled in online as part of an endless aisle strategy.

For brick and mortar retailers, physical in-store space is finite, and what’s available must be used effectively.

That is particularly challenging as brick and mortar retailers face the vast breadth of inventory that ecommerce competitors offer.

However, sometimes that enormous ocean of product can overwhelm customers.

 

Get insight into inventory

 

Traditional retailers can augment what’s in-store with online offerings, but one of the highlights of being brick and mortar is the ability to offer “look and feel” in a curated environment.

The “inner sanctum” of any retail store is the inventory area.

Making the most of that space will save any retailer money.

Storing inventory and supplies in a warehouse comes at a cost, especially if it eats away at display/retail space. Off-site inventory incurs rental and transportation costs, as well.

However, retailers must have “the right” inventory on hand so shoppers don’t leave stores empty-handed.

Retail inventory management keeps the backend in line with the front-end’s needs.

Good retail management software helps you see:

  • The quantities of each product in stock
  • A sense of when reordering is necessary
  • The number of items that should be ordered regularly
  • Best selling items
  • Items that are unpopular
  • The amount of inventory on-hand is adequate
  • If overstocking is a concern
  • If your inventory space is not big enough

Getting a handle on inventory management affects a business’ bottom-line, allowing it not only to continue operating, but also to grow.

Without a strong inventory management process, it’s easy to lose track of stock.

Mismanaged items are more easily stolen and seem to vanish without a trace – precisely because there is no traceability.

In a worst-case scenario, a retailer spends money on unknowingly replacing stolen goods, while paying to store an item that was ordered to replace a product that was never actually sold.

Additionally, not having a firm grasp on inventory levels can also mean running out of stock more easily, missing sales opportunities.

Today, many retailers offer a buy online, pickup in store option.

Not having inventory in sync with on-hand counts is a customer experience disaster.

In addition to keeping accurate inventory numbers, some stock management can be handled within the product displays.

The cost of storage depends upon the amount of inventory needed to be stored.

Planograms, or the blueprint of a store’s layout, can help retailers improve sales with visual merchandising.

 

Digitize the in-store experience

 

Today’s shoppers are used to a much higher level of convenience, choice and accessibility than in the past, because of the influence ecommerce has had on retail.

Therefore, it’s important for stores to “digitize” by providing personal recommendations, customer reviews and increased assortments, so that when customers enter a physical store, their expectations are met.

Planograms help to arrange merchandise in a way that catches the customer’s eye, organizing in a way that provides more room on your shelves, and helps estimate how much to place on the sales floor.

Brick and mortar retailers should focus on effective use of inventory space.

Too much is as detrimental as too little.

By employing retail management technology to count and manage products, they can offer what customers want, when they want it, while maintaining a healthy profit margin.

 

 

 

2019 Holiday game plan: 3 ways to help shoppers find the perfect gift and get on with their holiday parties – faster

 

 

Let’s face it – even if you’re someone’s absolute FAVORITE retailer, they still don’t want to spend their holiday season with you.

What your customers want most is to find fun gifts for friends and family fast – and get on with the white elephant and ugly sweater parties.

Don’t be offended. You know the feeling is mutual.

So this holiday season, give your shoppers the gift that matters most to them: time.

Here are 3 ways to help your customers find what they need and get on with the festivities – faster.

 

1. Send gift ideas and personalized offers

 

The biggest challenge in holiday shopping is actually deciding what to buy – so use your data resources to help your shoppers out.

Their past purchases will give you an idea of their unique style and will help you extrapolate from those qualities to tie in with the new items you’re carrying for the holiday season.

AI-powered personalized marketing and loyalty platform AppCard for Retail Pro listens to your transaction data for you, watching for trends for each individual shopper.

Use it to send personalized offers tailored to your shopper’s style so it piques their interest and brings them into your store to find that perfect gift.

The offers will help you get your customers in the store, and their purchase will get them more loyalty points.

It’s a win-win!

 

2. Give them all the options with endless aisle

How about those shoppers who just walked in your store and don’t have a shopping history with you?

Show ‘em everything you’ve got with an endless aisle!

You’ve already got full visibility into inventory at each location in Retail Pro, and you have the inventory pictures, so make it available for shoppers to see your full collection.

Give shoppers free reign to browse and find what they’ll love on a secure touchscreen tablet or kiosk in your stores.

With an easy to use interface, customizable workflows, and detailed permissions settings, you can control the experience to ensure customers find what they need – without finding POS screens not intended for their use.

Plus, sales associates can be on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions, or for help navigating for first-time users.

 

3. Get them out faster with efficient mobile checkout

Shoppers can spend all evening browsing your store but once they’re in the checkout line, they want out.

Get them through the queue faster by setting up extra points of sale on mobile tablets.

Sales associates can be available anywhere your customers are on the sales floor to help them find what they need and wrap up the conversation right there by completing the transaction on a mobile POS.

Because Retail Pro is browser-based software, you can access it on any mobile or desktop device, so you can ramp up more points of sale for the holidays to keep lines short and customers happy.

Don’t have time this season to invest in mobile printers and accessories for mobile POS?

Send email receipts!

Or, for customers who prefer paper receipts, you can ring up all the items while clienteling and hold the transaction for associates at an express counter to pick up and finish off to get customers on their merry way faster.

 

This holiday season, help your shoppers find gifts for every person on their list – and then just let them enjoy the holidays.

Your customers probably won’t thank you for it.

But they’ll be back in January to redeem their loyalty points, and that’s pretty much the same thing.

 

How to lift retail revenue with product drops

 

 

Retailers are challenged with making their product selections more exciting, alluring and sexy than those of the competition.

Having that certain product or designer that is unique to a particular brand can make a retailer a shining star, at least for the season.

"Drop culture" is a trend that is propelling some retailers to the heights of fame and, sometimes, fortune.

 

Create urgency

Product drops are special releases that will only be available for a limited time.

Customers are excited to be a part of the "in" crowd, getting something exclusive early.

For retailers, the buzz that's created around these events promotes their brands even before the product is launched.

While it can be an opportunity to test new products quickly, product drops are really an event employed to encourage the competitive shopping mindset.

The product that’s dropped is special in some way: a limited edition, something new from a famous designer, a bleeding-edge fashion trend, etc. The value of a “drop” is therefore earned, not assigned.

 

Show scarcity

Today, many luxury products are devalued due to over-exposure in the market, which means that the most desirable items require a level of effort or cleverness to obtain.

For example, U.S. streetwear brand Anti Social Social Club (ASSC) partnered with product release app Frenzy (created by Canadian small business shopping platform Shopify ) on an event where fans had to check-in to a physical location at a designated time to buy a limited-edition sweatshirt online.

But figuring out the exact location of the drop required significant detective and riddle-solving skills. Those who solved the puzzler were automatically logged in, triggering the product to appear on-screen to purchase — but within a certain amount of time.

 

Sell them a spot in the in-crowd

Product drops take advantage of the basic human desire to be included. No one wants to miss out on being part of something special.

The excitement tends to prompt customers to make decisions faster and more impulsively than if they have time to think about the purchase.

Often, quantities are limited and therefore sell out, adding to the "limited edition" mystique.

Although more products often become available in the months following the first drop—and shoppers are well aware of that—the excitement of purchasing these items ahead of the pack is too alluring to ignore for many.

Product drops are a good way to stir up excitement especially during a lull in the shopping sales cycle — such as post-holiday.

By creating a "buzz," a retailer raises the desirability of a product, and the "lucky" purchasers can enjoy basking in the afterglow.

3 ways to invest more in shopper relationships with 160 characters or less

 

 

SMS messaging — texts — are great to get the word out to customers about special events, sales and discounts. Retailers large and small can benefit from the marketing strategy primarily used to drive sales and foot traffic.

The trouble is, the limited space for content mandates writers use extremely concise verbiage.

With a character count of around 160, it's difficult to create content that will strengthen customer relationships and drive business.

Conversations nurture relationships, and relationships can grow sales.

Texting is a great way to have conversations when your customers are not in the building or on your site, especially because 95% of Americans have cell phones.

However, to reach shoppers quickly and grab their attention enough to entice them into your store, content has to be engaging.

Your interesting offers, information, discounts and coupons were attractive enough for them to sign up to receive messages. Now it's time for them to take action.

Here are 3 tips for creating strategic content in 160 characters or less.

 

1: Determine your goal

If your texts are meant to encourage sales, they should be inviting, not demanding.

SMS texting can be rather intimate, one-to-one conversations. Let your sales team establish a position of a trusted advisor.

For example: "Hi Steve. Remember the Sky-Dweller that caught your eye? We're having a Rolex sale Saturday. Let me know if you’re interested – Leah @ Hughes Jewelry".

 

2: Offer help consistently

Texts from trusted advisors should maintain a fairly regular cadence: Not too frequent, but not "out of the blue" either. Be authentic; customers can detect insincerity a mile away.

Try basing the timing of texts on the number of times per month or week customers are actually purchasing.

For example: "Hi Renee, thanks for attending the install demo. Sound system installation is Thursday, 10/10. Sign up: xyz.com/nmk. Let me know if you have questions - Rob".

 

3: Include a call to action

While "Thank you for your business," is a polite ending, it's not the most effective use of 160 (or fewer) characters. Ending with a link or phone number shows you mean business.

For example: "Hi Fiona, the 20% discount on Natural Kat ends this week @KitsCorner. If you come in today, you’ll get a BOGO deal with this msg. Hope to see you later – Piper".

Remember, a customer can easily call you from a text message, because the SMS is generated from a cell number. So using precious character space to include a phone number may not be the best use of the space.

 

Texting after contact has been established with a prospect can help significantly improve conversion.

Sales prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40% higher than those who are not sent any text messages, according to research by Velocify.

It is also a effective way to keep your brand top-of-mind and to build strong, lasting, customer relationships.

The power of personalizing the post-sale

 

 

Mass-marketed messages are inundating consumers from every available avenue. Retailers today continuously push out these messages using the latest trending channels, hoping to acquire new and repeat customers. With the emergence of more advanced marketing techniques and technologies, outreach has become even more sophisticated.

While a steady diet of messages has allowed consumers to respond and engage with brands in a variety of ways, it has also created a demand for greater personalization.

Stellar personalized experiences provided by some of retail’s top brands (including GNC, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Sephora and Under Armour) have helped to permanently alter consumers’ expectations for brands. A recent Infogroup survey, The Power of Personalization, found that 44% of shoppers are open to switching brands [to ones] that do a better job at personalization.

With so many options to choose from, consumers now look for better, more relevant experiences to keep them engaged. The message is clear: legacy retailers must raise their personalization game or risk losing customers.

A glaring missed opportunity for many retailers is in the re-engagement of their existing customers.

In a recent joint report by Commerce Next and Oracle, 81% of e-commerce marketers cited acquisition marketing as the top priority. The greater focus on new customers may be costing them as current customers are known to pay 67% more than new customers.

Consider the above facts alongside research by Litmus, which states that 64% of consumers consider a retailer’s purchase confirmations as the most valuable messages in their inbox; and research from Experian, which states that transactional emails generate 6x more revenue than standard marketing emails; and an untapped opportunity begins to emerge.

It is for these reasons, well-respected brands including Under Armour and GNC have started tapping into the potential of their post-purchase communications.

 

GNC - A Move towards Customer-Centricity

While the path to personalization can be a winding one for many retailers, GNC continues to remain ahead of the curve.

Having originally adopted smart receipts several years ago, GNC recently looked to flexEngage for new ways to increase the number of GNC brand advocates. Several adjustments were made on the fly to further personalize GNCs smart receipts, and as a result, the brand experienced a 10x lift in membership for their paid loyalty program as well as a 7% increase in sales from product recommendations within receipts.

But the impact continued as 10% of GNC customers receiving smart receipts also enrolled in auto-delivery for products they just purchased.

“This is one of the touchpoints that we use for customer retention and repeat trips. We know that customers access their receipts multiple times for various reasons, so we want to be present for them with multiple tiers of messaging that meet their needs,” says Jennifer Biefel, former Director of Customer Marketing & Loyalty at GNC.

 

 

Under Armour - Creating a Better Customer Experience

Under Armour, a leader in sports and fitness apparel, recently saw the need for improving their post-sale shopping experience.

At the time, shoppers left Under Armour stores with either flat, paper receipts or unengaging PDF receipts which were eventually emailed to customers long after they had left the store. With the goal of keeping customers engaged beyond the sale, Under Armour worked with flexEngage to upgrade their post-sale communications.

Today, Under Armour customers that opt for smart receipts leave their stores with brand-right, dynamic receipts delivered in seconds.

Brent Ott, Senior Manager, Global Store Experience at Under Armour spoke to the effectiveness of the upgrade: “The minute we launched it, we saw the initial challenge that we were trying to resolve was fixed. It was a big win.”

Powerful Results

Under Armour’s brand-right receipts are delivered to their customers' mobile phones in less than 60 seconds. This improvement has also led to some unexpected results.

“The biggest success that we didn’t realize at first was the open rates. The digital marketing team was really excited that the open rates were as high as they were. We are seeing a huge win with our customer feedback surveys. There has been a huge increase in customers’ willingness to tell us about their in-store experiences,” Brent said.

While Under Armour is just getting started in their post-sale personalization journey, smart receipt customers can expect more relevant content from Under Armour as they continue to look for ways to drive brand loyalty and repeat visits.

Under Armour and GNC’s enhancements to their smart receipts showcase the power of post-sale personalization. By harnessing smart receipts, brands are able to capture more attention and revenue from current customers and leverage heightened consumer interest to highlight their other marketing programs.

 

Leveraging Personalized Receipts

Ready to leverage the power of post-sale personalization? flexEngage seamlessly integrates into Retail Pro Prism as well as Retail Pro 9 and above. Getting started is simple. Visit www.flexengage.com or email hello@flexengage.com for more information.

 

 

This guest post brought to you by our friends at flexEngage.

The Personal Data Paradox [eBook]

 

 

Today’s headlines are ablaze with privacy scandals and consumer demand for transparency in data collection.

From Facebook to Amazon, we aim to bring down giants for perceived intrusions on our autonomy.

These are powerful political concepts that dominate the conversation around today’s technological advancements and our desire to apply morality to the digital world.

Equally as powerful as these headlines are the paradoxical returns and conversion rates that retailers are experiencing from data driven personalized marketing content: content that is derived from data collection unique to individual shoppers, i.e. personal preferences and tastes.

Public opinion seems to contradict consumer expectation.

Get this eBook to see consumers' perception of privacy, their expectation of personalization, and the middle ground we are all looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get the eBook

 

 

 

Retailers going omnichannel pass on tech benefits to customers

 

 
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.

 

2: Make personalized recommendations

 
Though personalized recommendations generate only 7% of online visits, they result in 26% of online conversions – well worth the effort.

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.

 

To see what it will take to unify commerce with Retail Pro Prism in your business, contact your Retail Pro Business Partner or request a demo today.

How to Create Shopper Personas to Know Who’s Buying from You and How to Sell More

Knowing and understanding customers is key for any retailer’s success.

Successful businesses study their shoppers, learning what they like – which can be as important as figuring out what they don’t like – and using that information to help predict what they’ll buy in the future.

Studying consumer behavior helps retailers determine factors that influence their buying decisions, which allows them to offer products that satisfy their customers’ needs.

If you want to really understand your customers, consider developing buyer personas.

 

  1. Who is your typical buyer?

The answer to this can be one type of person (e.g., a soccer outfitter) or a number of types (e.g., a general sporting goods store).

Using purchase data from your POS, you can discover who your end customers tend to be.

Hopefully, the results won’t be entirely shocking.

 

  1. Look at Their Product Purchases

Next, look at your products and connect the dots to the buyers.

Are your customers buying for themselves or others?

Some stores may find clear evidence that they are a gift-giving destination, while others may find it’s parents rather than teenagers who are doing the buying.

Consider creating a persona not just for the shoppers buying for themselves, but also for the ones buying on behalf of someone else.

At first, you are simply defining your clientele and placing them in large categories.

 

  1. Refine Your Search

The next step is refining your research:

Where do your customers live?

What are their ages?

Gender?

Hobbies?

Education level?

Income level?

Language spoken?

 

 

Some of these distinguishing traits will be more important than others.

Furthermore, there may be additional questions that are particularly relevant to your business.

 

  1. Draw Conclusions

Ultimately, you want to take the answers and compare that to what is being purchased and draw conclusions.

That can be accomplished by gathering reams of data not only from the point of sale terminal but also (potentially) from contest submissions or newsletter subscriptions.

Don’t forget past or inactive customers.

 

  1. Test Your Findings

It’s beneficial to understand why they may have stopped shopping at your business, so pick up the phone, send an email, create a survey – and find out you’re your shortcomings are; whether they are perceived or real they are valuable.

Offer an incentive, such as a coupon code and not only will they be more apt to respond, but they may also give your business a second shot.

 

  1. Tie in Online Data

If you have an e-commerce site in addition to brick and mortar, use tools such as Google Analytics Audience reports to nail down the demographics of online shoppers.

Take it one step further and unite all that data – POS, ecommerce, Google Analytics, and any other retail software you use – into an analytics platform that can help you predict what your customers will do next.

 

Successful retailers know their customers.

They not only know what they are buying and what they want to purchase but also their likes and dislikes outside of the store environment.

They know personal details.

And they’ve analyzed all that information so they can provide a stellar customer experience, not just today but for well into the future.

They know that the day they stop knowing their customer is the day they lose that customer.

Integrate production and retail sales information

 

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Customers love your latest styles.

Get them into your customers' hands faster – by integrating all your retail software for end-to-end visibility into customer information and stock performance that helps you improve speed-to-market in your production cycles.

On 2 – 3 May, visit us at RBTE stand H-150 to see how you can get GDPR-compliant, end-to-end integration of your mission-critical retail software to streamline your operations with Retail Pro, our service and support partners Pinnaca Retail Solutionsand Datascan Retail Solutions, and our solution partners Dedagroup Stealth Retail ERPBS Payone payments, and Pimble ecommerce and digital marketing.

 

Fashion ERP for Global Brands

 

Dedagroup Stealth Retail ERP provides luxury and fashion retailors with a modern technology platform that enables them to run an efficient, responsive and profitable omnichannel business, built on insights about their customers’ needs.

When used in conjunction with our GDPR-ready solutions partners like Retail Pro POSBS Payone payments, and Pimble ecommerce and digital marketing, and the local expertise of our support partners Pinnaca Retail Solutions and Datascan Retail Solutions, you get a complete end-to-end solution that gives you total control of your most important assets: your inventory and your reputation.

 

  • Match product to customer more easily with a single view in a single platform
  • Manage all aspects of your stock, including design, manufacture, in-channel operations, and logistics
  • Simplify process and operations so you can respond to market and customer dynamics in real time

Book your RBTE appointment with us today to see how our end-to-end solution that will help you build a solid foundation for your omnichannel retail operations.

 

Book my RBTE appointment

 

 

Learn more about our partners at RBTE

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3 Ways To Get Personalization Right

 

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Today's shoppers have immediate access to product information at their fingertips.

Competition is plentiful and fierce, so retailers must differentiate themselves to be top-of-mind.

To be that "go-to" store, retailers increasingly must create personalized experiences that appeal to an individual's desire to be valued and sought-after.

Retailers must leverage the customer data they have -- or should have -- to create that unique environment.

Intelligence on customer preferences and their interactions must be accessible and actionable; in other words, if you have information, use it. Analyze it.

And interpret it through the prism of providing a top-notch retail experience.

Why? Because it's profitable.

Customers report that meaningful personalization does increase spending.

Retailers using personalization strategies experience revenue gains of six to 10 percent, a rate two to three times greater than other retailers, Boston Consulting Group research reports.

 

Here are three ways to get personalization right:

 

1.  Create personalized marketing campaign around product usage

Consider how your products or store can help customers achieve their goals.

The data that helps you determine which products customers may be interested in will also help you figure out why they need those items.

That knowledge will help you craft an individual message to every shopper.

Sometimes a group message is appropriate, but most often, the more you treat your customer as an individual with unique needs, the better you can illustrate your brand's respect for individual customers.

 

2. Use detailed customer data to meaningfully personalize teasers, promotions and discounts

Communicate through data-driven email.

Personalizing messages requires email segmentation, analyzing customer data and creating a 360-degree customer view from a centralized database.

However, although email list segmentation has proven to lead to higher sales rates, half of marketers surveyed by Tune said they are not segmenting their email lists and less than nine percent of marketers said they aggregate their data within a single system of record.

Targeted email marketing is very successful; 47 percent of marketers told Emma’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report that email generates the most ROI for their organizations.

To take full advantage of email’s potential, retailers can send personalized teasers, promotions and discounts to loyal shoppers as well as prospects, in addition to those who’ve abandoned their shopping carts.

 

3. Engage consumers at key moments in their shopping experiences with push notifications

Text notifications can push shoppers through your door.

Research has found that 57 percent of shoppers spent more money at a retailer after receiving a notification.

An even more impressive figure is that 68 percent of consumers reported an impulse buy after receiving a notification.

Sending push notifications effectively helps boost sales by engaging consumers at key moments in their shopping experiences.