How AR can bring immersive retail to shoppers staying at home

Image: Vlada Karpovich

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told Bloomberg that augmented reality (AR) is “changing the whole experience of how [customers] shop.”

Considering the typical experience of entering a store, looking through the merchandise, speaking to an associate and paying for the purchase has, in some cases, changed very little in the United States since Colonial times, until COVID-19.

Now, with social distancing and the Stay at Home life, augmented reality can bring brand stores home to their customers.

AR for COVID-19 omnichannel

Image: cottonbro

AR could be a very effective tool for retailers looking to enhance their omnichannel retail strategy while shoppers are still hesitant to return to stores with the pandemic’s ongoing threat.

AR adds digital elements to a live view usually by using the camera on a smartphone.

In a store, shoppers typically already have their smartphones out, so taking over that screen’s real estate with AR content can deliver additional information that will grab consumers’ attention and keep them focused on making a purchase.

Brick and mortars and e-commerce could benefit from AR advantages over more traditional advertising efforts.

Merging digital and physical retail

Image: Oladimeji Ajegbile

The technology can merge online and offline customer experiences through an intuitive, context-sensitive, and socially connected interface.

How will that desk look in my home office? Will that color red look good on me?

AR puts the desk in your room or the blazer on your back, using the smartphone’s camera.

AI currently serves as an attention-grabber for retailers looking to deliver novel experiences.

It also provides interesting potential benefits to customers – such as allowing them to “showroom” a product at home, or see a product in its future environment, helping them to make more informed purchase decisions.

With shoppers unable or unwilling in many regions still to visit stores, augmented reality’s showrooming benefits could be an opportunity for a more consultative approach to distance sales.

Bringing customer value

Image: Ola Dapo

Customers have been slow to warm up to AR, often considering it gimmicky and failing to see much value in it, but COVID-19 may change that perception.

The technology can deliver real value during the lockdown if firms are able to prioritize actual customer needs, such as more efficient and enjoyable shopping experiences that reduce decision-making uncertainty.

In contrast to other emerging technologies, which immerse customers into a fully synthetic environment (e.g., virtual reality), AR supplements reality rather than replaces it.

As such, it is the perfect lynchpin between the online and offline world.

Contextualizing experiences & spreading the word

Image: Anna Shvets

AR contextualizes products and services by embedding digital content into the customer’s physical environment, interactively and in real-time and increasingly allows customers to share their enhanced view of reality with others.

Customers draw on their own physical experiences and actions to learn more about products and services, while also relying on others to support them in product or service evaluation.

Because people have a natural tendency to share their experiences with peers, customers commonly consult peer reviews, go shopping together, and increasingly share their shopping in real-time through highly visual social media such as Snapchat.

AR blurs the boundaries between online and offline channels by providing a combination of embedded and extended experiences.


3 retail supply chain vulnerabilities to fortify during COVID-19

Disruptions to the supply chain — beginning in China in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak — have impacted the availability of inventory and delivery times.

Customers are now often faced with significant shipping delays — sometimes as long as 14 days.

And retailers themselves are experiencing shortages from their own suppliers.

Inventories across the board have been reportedly low (and sadly not due to higher turn), and factory closures in China and other manufacturing countries mean they may not be able to restock products easily.

Retailers who have been weathering the storm with greater fortitude have discussed production schedules with their manufacturers and have an idea of how COVID-19 is impacting their businesses.

From warehouse and store employees being affected by quarantine or illness, to an over-reliance on human intervention within inventory planning, the pandemic has uncovered existing vulnerabilities within retail supply chains.

Here are 3 areas of vulnerability to fortify during COVID-19.

1: People: Be clear on protocol for employee safety along the supply chain

Offering goods and services that delight customers and entice them to return should be the goal of all profitable retailers.

But the safety and well-being of customers, staff and the suppliers that are delivering goods to your warehouses is of first importance, especially during COVID-19.

Using the Retail Pro Prism app for your receiving operations will help your team maintain social distancing.

Advance ship notice (ASN) vouchers in Retail Pro will also help speed up the receiving process, reducing employee exposure.

Retailers weathering this storm should not assume suppliers are current on specific state and countries’ health and safety policies.

Instead, they should sponsor straight-forward discussion of expectations.

That makes delivery staff feel secure and shows the entire staff their safety is a priority.

For later reference, supporting documents should be sent via email or texts to reinforce the message and ensure compliance.

Having a direct and transparent approach will help ensure both an adequate product supply to serve customers as well as a healthy customer pipeline.

2: Process: Adapt your 80/20 to align supply with demand

Some retailers have created redundant supply chains to handle quick shifts in demand, adapting the 80/20 to source 80 percent of product for low cost and 20 percent for fast response.

Quick response with volatile demand can often be sourced more locally, even within the United States.

For each of those suppliers, a direct line of communication with a designated person is critical, as is understanding who their suppliers are.

Transparency is key.

Weekly check-ins help keep everyone on the same page, as policies affecting suppliers are rapidly changing, as are supply needs, state mandates and safety protocols.

When the interests and data of retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers in the supply chain are aligned, the decision-making of each works together to help to optimize the entire supply chain’s performance.

Vendor management tools in a POS and retail management software like Retail Pro Prism go a long way toward helping retailers keep up to date records on critical vendor information, including the following:

  • Contact information
  • Account and payment terms
  • Currency defaults, especially for international suppliers
  • Trade discounts
  • Special notes and product images

3: Product: Keep reevaluating inventory costs and allocations

Cost of goods sold is rising because vendors must account for the extra time and associated expenses that are accrued with no-contact delivery, purchases of masks and gloves, etc.

With a higher cost of inventory, the types and variety of products purchased must be regularly reevaluated.

COVID-19 has changed customers’ needs and preferences, so agile inventory strategies are required.

However, just-in-time strategies may seem risky at a time when vendor shipments are generally delayed.

Allocation patterns across stores will also need to be reevaluated to account for COVID-induced purchase variations.

Use reports in Retail Pro Prism to stay up on demand flux and use the findings to adapt allocation patterns for problem stores.

Right now, retailers are seeing the value of integration between their retail management and enterprise resource planning software.

Such integrations, as between Retail Pro and SAP, allow for automated data exchange between the two tools so merchandise managers have up to date data unified in one picture of the entire business.

Fragmented data sources are always a cause for wider margins of error in ordering and allocation, but even more so during a pandemic when historical data is a less reliable source for forecasting.

A new study by WMG, University of Warwick, and Blue Yonder concludes that retailers must invest in creating supply chains with greater flexibility, visibility and automation: “Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a key role in helping retailers navigate future disruption, whilst still meeting customers’ expectations.”

In-depth and on-going analysis of recent shopping patterns will help retailers make more strategic decisions on product offerings, which will dictate inventory ordering.

Latent vulnerabilities existed in retailers’ supply chains prior to COVID-19 but the pandemic served to draw them out.

The added strain exposed and compounded weaknesses.

Addressing these three areas will help fortify the supply chain to last through the pandemic.

As conditions begin to plateau, retailers will be able to revisit these areas with more thought to long-term improvement.


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


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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

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.

7 Ways to get your store tech and staff ready for the holiday rush with Retail Pro POS

 

 

Holidays are fast approaching. With them the masses flock to your stores and website.

Every retailer’s goal is, of course, to capitalize on the increase in foot traffic and do whatever it takes to be in the black by New Year’s Eve.

The pressure is on – especially given the retail industry’s globally lackluster YTD performance.

But the happy increase in foot traffic to your stores and sales opportunities inevitably brings with it a not-so-favorable descent in chaos and disorder, even to the sharpest of managers.

Entropy at its finest.

But a little preparation goes a long way in combat against chaos. It’s in finetuning the details that you’ll find compounding efficiency gains, and a little sanity in the staff goes a long way toward keeping up good customer experiences.

So here’s a quick checklist of ways to get your store tech and staff armed and in shape for the holiday rush.

 

1. Think through your POS workflows

Tighten up your POS workflow for faster, more efficient checkout. Shave off critical seconds from each transaction by getting rid of unnecessary clicks and integrating steps you need for smoother returns with tracking for return reasons, easier customer and inventory lookup, and faster loyalty enrollment.

In Retail Pro POS, you can use HTML files to customize your workflows in the user interface to mirror the workflows your staff would use in real life. Tailor both the transaction workflow and pop up prompts for your staff to hit all the points on your customers engagement check list at checkout.

 See documentation: Customize workflows with HTML files | My Retail Pro 

 

2. Ramp up employee training for faster checkout experiences

Build up employee product knowledge so they can be quicker at looking up items by their alternate names or numbers at the POS.

Retail Pro Prism gives sales associates flexibility to look up inventory using not only the SKU but by description as well.

 

 

This will help associates save time and find the product in the system if a barcode is missing, rather than having everyone wait while another sales associate finds the product on the sales floor.

 Watch video: Advanced Item Lookup | My Retail Pro 

 

3. Train employees to collect customer emails

Incentivize your employees to collect emails for in-season and post-holiday deals. Now is the time to capitalize on the increased foot traffic to build connections with customers and invite them back for more after the holidays.

You can train your associates to a workflow that includes taking down a customer’s number in the integrated AppCard for Retail Pro loyalty and personalized marketing platform.

 

 

Because the technology is integrated, your staff won’t need to navigate between applications to enroll customers, saving time for your team and for everyone else in line.

 Watch video: POS flags setup | My Retail Pro 

 

4. Simplify inventory lookup on the sales floor

During the holidays the store fluctuates daily between chaos and order, so having a centralized inventory system that keeps detailed accounts of what is on the sales floor, in the back room, or in transit will help associates get customers what they need.

They can easily look up what the customer needs and place an order for them if the item isn’t in stock. You’ll save the sale and your customer will go home with one more person checked off on their holiday gift list.

 Watch video: Checking On-Hand Quantity | My Retail Pro 

 

5. Set up stations for self-serve inventory lookup and send sales

Set up a mobile POS station for self-serve or staff-assisted inventory lookup and send sale. If a customer needs something you don’t have in store, help them find and order it on your website or at a different location.

Send sale functionality in Retail Pro lets your sales associates send the sale (just like it sounds) to a nearby store that has what your customer needs in stock, so that item is put aside for them when they come to pick it up.

 Watch video: Creating and Fulfilling Send Sales | My Retail Pro 

 

6. Get your best staff on mobile POS for clienteling & line busting

Clienteling is extremely effective for engaging with customers in a way that leads to loyalty and a better overall experience with your brand.

Help customers find what they need faster and finish the transaction on the spot, without waiting in line. You can email receipts to decrease the need for ancillary mobile hardware like receipt printers.

And when checkout lines start to wrap around through the store, ramp up more points of sale on mobile to ring up transactions faster and get customers on their way before frustrations rise.

 Read blog: 9 tactics to borrow from luxury retail’s clienteling strategy to improve your omnichannel CX

 Get whitepaper: Is Mobile POS Right for Your Enterprise?

 

7. Track sales performance with KPI reporting

Use real-time KPI reports to stay on target and ramp up sales efforts when you’re falling behind. With Retail Pro Decisions, powered by the Targit BI and visual analytics platform, you can analyze your data from every angle based on KPIs important to your strategy.

And with Retail Pro Reports, you can pull the data you need to monitor performance on the go. With clear dashboards and easy filtering, you’ll have an on-the-minute update whenever you need it, so you can keep your finger on the pulse and make sure you’re hitting targets.

 Read blog: What are the Most Important KPIs for Retail?

 Get whitepaper: From KPIs to Profit 

Yes, there’s very little time left, and more to do than there are scheduled hours to do them. Focus on implementing a handful of optimizations that will help your team most to work more efficiently and ring in more sales.

They might not thank you for it, but your bottom line will.

 

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As part of an active Retail Pro Software Assurance plan, you have full access to all training, documentation, and knowledgebase resources available on the My Retail Pro user portal. Get access from your company MRP administrator or contact mrprequest@retailpro.com

Not current on Software Assurance? Contact your Retail Pro Business Partner for a quote today, or email in to customercare@retailpro.com to get connected with your Business Partner.

 

 

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 AI Can Help Retailers Fight Shrink

 

 

Retailers struggle with “shrink” — thefts from retailers that includes shoplifting and employee stealing — to the tune of $46.8 billion in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation.

Retailers lose an average of 1.33% of sales, on average annually to shrink.

However, artificial intelligence (AI) is now being integrated into technology solutions, which increases retail security and helps prevent theft.

 

Video Analytics

Video analytics is being transformed by AI.

Because AI does away with the need for pre-programmed algorithms, sensor technology can capture a large amount of metadata in real time.

As a result, AI allows video analytics to do much more than just alert users when a person or object has crossed a barrier; security cameras can specifically identify a person entering a store or department through facial recognition software, for example.

Retailers can even intercept known shoplifters by using cameras running analytics software.

The devices quickly and efficiently scan approaching vehicles and their license plates and then cross-reference that information with persons of interest to alert security teams.

By applying advanced video and data analytics to existing POS video and data streams, retailers can also curb loss by identifying the products that go without scanning at check out.

The electronic point-of-sale (POS) system can be connected to the surveillance system to track the entire POS activity and identify potential irregular operations.

Two other major causes of retail shrink result from “sweethearting” and self-checkout.

“Sweethearting”— when a cashier allows a customer to pass through the register lane without paying for a product — can include covering barcodes, stacking items one on top of the other, and skipping the scanner and directly bagging the merchandise.

AI fights sweethearting by applying advanced computer vision algorithms to the existing camera feeds, to see and analyze what is happening at the checkout and track each item.

It associates every item within a transaction to the transactional data feed from the POS system to flag anomalies.

Self-checkout fraud includes customers bypassing the scanner, tampering with price codes and leaving merchandise in the basket.

An intelligent computer vision system automatically reconciles what should be on the transaction receipt and the items being scanned in the video.

 

Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT connects devices as varied as smartphones to wearable devices to products on the retail shelf.

As the use of IoT increases at a business with the expansion of sensors and devices — including from security-related devices — the volume of data being created will increase rapidly, which will require AI-enabled software and machine learning to analyze that information meaningfully.

For example, some businesses are implementing wearable devices for employees that can learn habits and create patterns based on usage.

An employee who strays from a regular routine sends a flag to security, which may then choose to investigate.

Despite Hollywood’s eagerness to portray AI and machine learning as dominated by robots, in reality, machine learning is a part of everyday technology.

Its ability to synthesize data and help humans draw conclusions makes it a tool with a bright future in retail.

Optimize retail management with Retail Pro and SAP Business One

 

experiential retail

 

Most retailers need an end-to-end retail management solution that provides them with centralized control and a real-time view of their operations for faster decision-making.

Successful retailers choose an all-in-one retail management system with robust backend software to run in tandem with great Point of Sale and store management.

With the smooth integration between Retail Pro® POS and store management software and SAP Business One® ERP software, you get:

  • End-to-end business automation
  • Complete operational visibility and control
  • Accurate real-time reporting and analytics
  • Access to critical data – anytime, anywhere

Discover how you can optimize retail management with Retail Pro and SAP Business One.

 

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