Are DTC brands coming of age?

DTC brands are beginning to populate traditional retailers of many brands 
Beautiful asian woman holding shopping bag and smiling looking at perfume display in a big box retailer,

Many direct-to-consumer brands are reevaluating how they do business – and leaving the one-to-one intimacy with customers for a more traditional method of getting their products to more customers.

By embracing a wholesale strategy, often in conjunction with DTC methods,  these brands are developing a more robust omnichannel presence. 

An omnichannel presence is crucial to success in retail, as consumers have become used to having plenty of choices and will often choose convenience above most.

Omnichannel stat. Retail Pro Prism provides the capability for omnichannel operations and retail management.

Difficult circumstances for one channel of discovery

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For example, in February, digitally native beauty brand Glossier announced its partnership with makeup mega-retailer Sephora.

Glossier’s products will be on shelves at 600 Sephora stores across the United States and Canada, as well as online and on the Sephora App.

The brand’s jump to traditional retail came after a trial run with wholesale sales in 2020, when Glossier experimented with its “Glossier You” fragrance that it sold in seven U.S. brick-and-mortar Nordstrom locations.

The shift for Glossier hasn’t been easy; the brand has reorganized, replacing its CEO and laying off employees as it moves from a single channel of distribution.

However, its experience highlights how DTC brands can realign their resources to help them navigate the ways in which their customers want to engage. 

Additionally, new DTC brands are partnering with wholesalers from the get-go to build visibility and build their customer base.

DTC brands have had massive access to data from having sole access to all the data of their customers due to website-based operations.

The traditional retailers have learned from DTC and aimed to replicate the level of data for a personal loyal relationship with customers.

The cost of a customer

Customers being shown a DTC brand of TV of many in a traditional brick & mortar store.

Keeping customers is a far less expensive proposition than acquiring them, but for DTC brands, it’s imperative to increase their base in addition to keeping loyal customers happy and engaged.

DTC brands often start as small, trendy brands that appeal to a particular niche.

For example, the launch of Warby Parker addressed a customer need for affordable, attractive eyeglasses.

By bypassing wholesalers and retailers, DTC brands such as Warby Parker and Glossier have removed the costs associated with having intermediaries between manufacturers and consumers.

As they grow, however, DTC brands are realizing they need to cost-effectively increase their distribution channels.

Expansion is easier with wholesalers’ large customer base as part of the equation. Rising inflation rates are increasing operating costs; goods are more expensive to produce.

Expanding reach for DTC brands

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Adding wholesale as part of an overall strategy can help attract more customers, which is particularly important as consumers are becoming less brand loyal and more value-seeking.

No matter the stage of audience and growth your business is looking to have, omnichannel is the most important aspect a business can have to

A recent McKinsey’s Consumer Pulse survey underscores that sentiment, reporting that “more US consumers reported switching to different brands and retailers in 2022 than at any time since the beginning of the pandemic—and most of them say they intend to incorporate that behavior into their routines.”

Adding wholesale into the DTC mix can benefit all those in the ecosystem.
While the DTC model has provided high margins and customer insights, growing brands are able to parlay a wholesale relationship into a larger customer base while containing marketing costs.

Tempered supply chain issues and strategies

Female Owner Of Fashion Store Using Digital Tablet To Check Stock In Clothing Store

As 2023 kicks off, there are still vestiges of supply chain shortages that continue to challenge retailers. Big box stores are still dealing with consequences of 2020 bottlenecks and supply chain issues.

Recent business surveys found that a majority of logistics managers don’t expect the supply chain to fully resolve until next year.

Additionally, a healthy unemployment number nationwide coupled with labor shortages and a looming recession has added to an overall disruption for general retail operations.

The bleak forecast has resulted in softer expectations in demand during the first half of 2023, with a possible uptick in the second half, making margins a key focus.

However, because that economic softness is expected to stick around, supply chains may appear to be working better because there’s simply less economic activity. 

The good news, according to analysts, is that the number of job openings, which reached its highest level in 21 years in 2022, is on its way down.

The Great Resignation has lost steam and the average quit rate is slowing.

Furthermore, the unemployment rate, at 3.4% in January, has been relatively stable since early 2022.

Having a good, reliable roster of associates is critical to moving goods.

Here are some tips to help get you through the next six months.

Retail recruitment strategies

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The labor shortage is a significant challenge for retailers and will continue to be, well past COVID.

Competition is tough, so retailers are encouraged to look beyond financial rewards and invest in building a brand that focuses on culture, values and career growth.

Technology, too, plays a larger role inside the store. Omnichannel retailers encourage shoppers to order use multiple channels for a single order.

Associates receive, track and present customer orders – as well as deal with the inevitable returns.

Tools such as RIOT RFID can make these processes much smoother, faster and more accurate by taking care of the entire time intensive process of tracking products and updating counts upon return or order placement.  

This is a much broader scope of responsibilities, which requires a more advanced set of skills from the managers and staff.

A more transparent and connected system for retail management and point of sale leads to happier and more efficient staff. Retail Pro Prism provides total visibility across channels, saving your business and associates time so they can be more thoughtful, present resources for customers.

Streamline offerings

Supply chain troubles seem amplified when a retailer’s shelves are empty because several products are unavailable simultaneously.

Streamlining the types of products you offer and partnering with a number of suppliers to provide those specific types of items helps focus investment on high-impact areas.

You’ll be delivering a more consistent customer experience as well.

In addition, consider alternatives to what you currently offer without cutting back on quality of service. For example, florists may not be able to reliably source plastic vases for every order, so they might offer creative bouquet wrapping instead.

Map your supply chain

Ensure you have supply chain visibility. Surviving a supply chain shortage requires a steady flow of parts and materials.

Supplier mapping includes locations, details of what supplier provides and how critical each product is.

Understanding their inventory levels as well as your own is also crucial. Consider tracking your vendor’s supply chain as well.

Having the visibility of connected retail management across channels helps you in accounting for every order in process, giving you peace of mind.

Finally, as suppliers continue to feel the squeeze, be quality conscious.

It’s tempting for manufacturers to cut corners to meet demands quickly.

For designer brands, counterfeit goods can be a big problem when supplies are scarce.

Support your suppliers by investing in them, insisting they only accept first-rate work and authentic products, and offering credit terms if appropriate.

After all, if your biggest, most critical suppliers go out of business, you will too.

Brands Explore Creative Ways To Boost Customer Loyalty

From using artificial intelligence to analyze shoppers’ actions to promoting their own core values, retailers are looking to deeply engage with their customers to increase repeat business.

Customer loyalty is the Holy Grail for retailers. Businesses put hours of effort into understanding just what combination of factors entice a shopper to return – as well as what makes them choose one retailer over another time after time.

The elusive answer may be to create a brand that displays insightful knowledge of the customer, without being overbearing, and connect with them on a personal level.

Retail Pro Prism provides an integrated view of data across all channels and retailers can create customer profiles to record important, helpful data to improve their relationship with customers.

To Know Them is to Love Them

Who doesn’t prefer to shop where the associates are thoughtful, attentive and – if you’re lucky – just a bit intuitive?

It’s for those reasons that retailers such as Nordstroms and hoteliers like Ritz Carlton stand apart from their peers. And it’s why they have tremendous loyalty among their customers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help retailers gain insights into their customers, offering data that helps provide personalized experiences with targeted product recommendations.

Brands can tailor shopping experiences to fit customers’ interests, based on real-time web browsing habits and shopping data.

Knowing what’s of interest to a particular customer allows the retailer to curate selections.

Further, to keep an experience fresh yet relevant, AI can use browsing data to automatically present shoppers with new product selections whenever they visit an online store.

That creates customer excitement over new merchandise, prevents boredom and helps encourage spontaneous buying behavior, especially on mobile devices.

Personalized shopping experiences are central to customer engagement, retention and loyalty in today’s retail environment.

Personalization is also linked to higher conversion rates and product sales. According to McKinsey, personalization can deliver 5 to 8x times the ROI on marketing spend and improve revenue by 10% or more.

AI creates seamless experiences that leave shoppers satisfied and inclined to return.

Personalized ecommerce uses company data to recommend, cross-sell and upsell relevant items to shoppers.

By synthesizing shoppers’ onsite actions, AI can deliver recommendations tailored to individual customer’s tastes.

It’s a strategy aimed at providing better customer experience and higher conversion rates.

AppCard with Retail Pro allows retailers to leverage every bit of data collected from their POS system and using AI to create personalized marketing strategies to increase customer loyalty and in turn, retention.

The Value Proposition

Knowing and catering to the values of your customers can also help foster repeat business.

Values-based purchasing takes into account more than just price, quality and convenience.

These customers look at factors such as sustainability and resale practices as well as cruelty-free manufacturing, local sourcing and fair labor practices.

Sustainability casts a wide net. It can include retailers that sell pre-owned clothing or furniture, for example.

Some brands, such as Patagonia and Coach, incorporate both new and preowned products.

Such retailers have loyal followings that particularly enjoy “vintage” finds of their favorite brands.

Conversely, “pre-loved” merchandise is often available at lower price points, which provides a convenient entry point for a new set of customers.

Sustainability can also include retailers that support certain delivery practices – bundling orders for similar areas, providing eco-friendly shipping materials and cutting back on their carbon footprint throughout their supply chains and operations.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking at points of friction to find alternate options for those points of operations.

With Retail Pro Prism, retailers have an integrated view of the data from every corner of operations so they can analyze the whole picture and look for ways to eliminate unnecessary steps or trips.

“Value-driven retail” is more than a buzzword. In a crowded market, it differentiates a brand, and encourages loyalty.

There are factors in addition to fair pricing and convenience that encourage customers to return. A strong set of brand values fosters emotional investment and positions a brand as the best solution for customers’ needs.

And AI-powered technology can help brands create the customer experience that drives success.

Retail – What’s causing tension in your customer experience?

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Rebuilding customer relationships

Visit Retail Pro at NRF 2023 booth 6203

The retail landscape is challenging, regardless of business success and size. Visit Retail Pro at NRF 2023 to see how you can get total visibility into the operational issues that keep you from rebuilding strong customer relationships.

Rebuild customer relationships

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Improve your relationships with customers with smoother operations and personalized service tailored to their individual needs and shopping habits.

  • Serve customers more effectively with operational efficiency and flexibility to use your whole business to its full extent – merging inventory visibility across store, branches and channels
  • Gain visibility, and in turn insight to their desires: track responses to promotions, price points that capitalize on value, and pinpoint trends across the business
  • Improve the personal connection by staying in touch using your choice of marketing tools that best help your business, and reducing the strain that comes with human error

Streamline for operational efficiency and better experiences

When you connect all your retail technologies to the Retail Pro Prism platform, you get more accurate insight into operations to help you streamline across stores and regions and better serve your customers.

  • Reduce friction in purchase experiences with the ability to see current or potential bottlenecks
  • Identify areas where automated functions can increase efficiency and reduce human error
  • Strategize and uncover alternative options or ways to re-direct a process
  • Determine customer-facing associate strengths and weaknesses
  • Gain clarity on areas for improvement and staff’s best place in your company
  • Set parameters for inventory functions on a store-by-store basis
  • Automate replenishment and distribute inventory to needed locations with allocation tools

Integration between Retail Pro Prism and our ecommerce platform enables us to ensure inventory updates and smooth order flow across the organization. With Retail Pro, it is easy to keep track of inventory and display online whether an item is out of stock or ready to be picked up, resulting in less frazzled associates and happier customers.

Pawan Dangol, Area Manager

Grow your presence internationally with ease

Retailers learned a lot during COVID about what works for your customers. Apply these insights to grow your presence across borders and make it easier for customers to shop with you wherever they are.

  • Leverage Retail Pro resources like region-specific fiscalizations and localizations and local technological professionals with regional expertise
  • Gain total performance visibility across stores, channels and subsidiaries
  • Spot trends from a wider perspective with the whole data picture in one unified view

As you grow, you need clear visibility on all parts of the business and we want to ensure we’re not letting down one side of the business at the expense of the other – to be successful we have to develop the online and offline experience simultaneously, which we’re trying to do. We are hopeful and confident that Retail Pro will be able to support us on this journey.

Miniso UK

Visit us at NRF 2023

Heading out to NRF this January? Visit the Retail Pro team at booth 6203 to start the conversation on how you can start using the Retail Pro Prism POS and retail management platform this year to gain the insight and efficiency you need for rebuild customer relationships.

4 Important Ways the Retailer-Vendor Relationship has Changed

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The last two years have seen dramatic changes in the retailer-vendor relationship. Supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic are still reverberating throughout retail operations.

While the online channel unsurprisingly grew in response to imposed lockdowns, the less-popular hybrid shopping model known as “click and collect,” also gained tremendous momentum.

Retail Pro’s customer ACFC was able to make BOPIS a reality early on in the pandemic thanks to Prism’s data integration and total inventory visibility.

And, although shopping has returned to pre-COVID routines, supply chain issues remain. Here are some ways retailers are handling post-pandemic challenges.

The Product Journey to the Customer

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Dropship is more popular. Published statistics show that the global dropshipping market is forecast to reach $196.78 billion in 2022, a substantial increase of  23.7 percent from 2021.

That number is expected to continue to rise, reaching $243.42 billion next year.

The uptick in retailers needing to fulfill online orders during the past two years is a big reason for the dropship surge.

Retail Pro’s ability to streamline inventory visibility across all channels and give retailers a single view makes it easier for them to reduce the margin of error in fulfilling online orders.

Retailers Expanding Retailer-Vendor Relationship

Female Inventory Manager shows digital tablet Information to a male worker holding cardboard box, explaining how their retailer-vendor relationships work

Retailers have expanded their footprint to include marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba, as well as social platforms including Tik Tok and Instagram.

Miniso’s UK branch was able to experiment easily with selling on Amazon in the face of tough challenges brought on by COVID with Retail Pro Prism, opening their understanding of future operations possibilities

In fact, TikTok has been experimenting with shoppable ads and shoppable livestreams indicate its readiness to compete for retailers’ attention with Instagram and Facebook.

That has boosted brand awareness not only for the retailer, but also for the supplier. As product demand increases, however, shortages sometimes occur.

Expanding selection through third-party relationships. Some large retailers, notably Lands End, Hudson’s Bay and Anthropologie have begun their own marketplaces.  

Those retailers feature channels on their websites that allow select third-party brands to sell products directly to their customers. It increases selection while letting the retailer avoid increasing the number of vendor relationships they must manage.

Automation of Operations

A female Asian retailer looking over her store's automated inventory across channels

Increasing workflow automation. Reducing or eliminating the manual creation of reports regarding orders, stock levels, and sales trends, and automating that process can accelerate the receipt of information regarding potential stock shortages.

That is particularly helpful when earmarking stock for in-store purchases; for ecommerce order fulfillment and for pickup by click and collect customers.

Automation reduces errors and makes data collection more efficient. Retailer Saleem Fabrics was able to automate their inventory to lessen challenges brought on during COVID with the help of their Retail Pro Business Partners at System Plus and Retail Pro’s software plugin capabilities.

The best supplier-buyer relationships require collaboration. Retailers and their suppliers must be committed to the long-term pursuit of value.

Working with Retail Pro and our partners means a retailer has engaged support and help to take any steps necessary for the sorts of modernizing changes in operations mentioned above.

Together, retailers and their partners are employing innovative solutions to offer joint opportunities to create and retain significant value.

Retailers turn to expanding physical footprint post-COVID with regional support from Retail Pro Business Partners

Retail Executive group talking strategy to expand as covid risk and restrictions decrease

After two years of isolation, customers are ready to visit retailers, and stores are more than ready to greet them as they look to expand operations.

Anticipating pent-up demand, retailers are looking at not just beefing up their square footage but also global expansion to meet customers’ demands for exceptional selection and outstanding experience.

The recent past has been tough on retailers: COVID magnified existing weaknesses, accelerated emerging trends of increased online shopping, and forced organizations to adopt new technology faster than they had anticipated.

Approximately 40 million workers were furloughed or laid off as demand dipped and factories and offices were closed to prevent the spread of the virus, according to Deloitte

Additionally, people stopped traveling and leaving their homes to shop: Business Insider reported an 82.6% year-over-year foot traffic plunge for the week ending April 18, 2020. E-commerce took hold as brick and mortars complied with government mandates to close.

Retailers that had entertained physical expansion plans in 2020 quickly course corrected and invested in online sales platforms to try to make up lost revenue. That strategy – which included click and collect and curbside pickup — helped many physical locations remain in business.

As the pandemic waned and retailers reopened, they started streamlining operations to ensure that their physical stores were in sync with their online systems, which had become more robust during the last 24 months.  

Retail Pro Prism’s omnichannel retail management platform gives retailers the tools to monitor their inventory across channels, keeping in-store and online records in sync. The operations were often merged into a hybrid store/warehouse, in which online orders could be fulfilled by the stores’ brick and mortar locations.

Strategies to expand revisited

A group of retail management/operations professionals brainstorm and strategize new ways to expand after covid

With those new logistics in place, retailers are once again considering and moving ahead with physical expansion. But, for the largest, most well-known names, creating more big stores isn’t in the game plan.

Instead, smaller, more boutique-type stores that focus on the customer experience is the winning strategy.

Take Nordstrom’s, which even prior to the pandemic offered curbside pickup and has continued to strengthen its integration between online and offline channels.

Nearly five years ago, Nordstrom Local launched. The stores are roughly 3,000 square feet and do not carry dedicated inventory, but instead are focused on service: Amenities include complimentary personal stylists, eCommerce order pickup, returns, alterations, gift wrapping and complimentary refreshments.

Betting that less space could pay off more was a good gamble: On average, a Nordstrom Local customer spends 2.5 times the amount of a regular Nordstrom customer. 

The retailer sees the locals as a way to complement their existing larger stores, and cater to customers more conveniently.

Post COVID, many shoppers are looking for convenience, particularly when at brick and mortars.

The fundamental reasons for shopping in person haven’t changed: They enjoy social interaction and they want to interact with products before purchasing.

However, shoppers may now be a bit more exacting in what they expect from retailers’ service.

Businesses looking to expand their physical footprint must be certain that their existing software can handle the new load.

POS software, in particular, must be scalable in order for the business to remain efficient.

Retail Pro Prism is a scalable, comprehensive software package that can be cloud-based and offers remote support — ideal for an expanding company.

For example, Miniso UK currently has seven stores and has plans to grow its business with Retail Pro Prism to 50 stores in five years.  “As you grow, you need clear visibility on all parts of the business and we want to ensure we’re not letting down one side of the business at the expense of the other,” said Miniso UK’s Chief Operating Officer, Saad Usman. “To be successful, we have to develop the online and offline experience simultaneously, which we’re trying to do.”

Growth Requires Local Support

Woman wearing headset, supporting retailer in their region on their mission to expand

Once software requirements have been established, retailers should consider their support options. Having local IT partners can help ease concerns and create an atmosphere of camaraderie.

Retail Pro has a Global network of local IT support partners in 130 countries, helping their clients with implementations, integration of retail solutions including loyalty, ERP, ecommerce etc.

Local partners also know the region better than anyone, so they can assist with localization of the software for language and branding, and are familiar with legal requirements, such as fiscalization (fiscal law aimed at preventing retailer fraud) as well as tax reporting.

Retail Pro is compliant with regional fiscal and tax requirements such as VAT used in many regions globally, India’s GST, Canada’s GST/HST and Brazil’s ICMS, and various tax zones.

In addition, any software that a growing retailer selects should be “expansion-friendly.”

Retail Pro’s robust API provides centralized flexibility that adapts to local regulation variations, allowing retailers to customize their retail POS systems to specific regional requirements.

For more than 30 years, Retail Pro has provided a base platform and API that supports regional requirements, which are specific to a retail management system and point of sale.

From the UX –where local language support is key– to the more complex needs of taxation and reporting requirements, localization has and continues to be part of Retail Pro’s DNA.

Globally, language can also be a business barrier. Because all languages have a vernacular, idioms and regional “quirks,” Retail Pro has a fully translatable user interface, so translations can be tailored toward local dialects for a given region, specific business or vertical type.

Finally, partnering with the right IT solution provider is critical for retailers’ success domestically and abroad – and the right fit can help both companies grow, especially if they operate with similar values. 

Authorized partners are not only trusted technology advisors, but they are also serving as IT project managers for store launches in different regions of the same country as well as coordinating store launches in new countries.

Establishing mutually-beneficial goals motivates all parties. Post-COVID, analysts expect the global retail market to reach $39,933.3 billion in 2030, up from nearly $20,331.1 billion in 2020. Retail implementation of regionally-savvy software and partnerships with local solution providers will be crucial for success.

The Benefits of Consolidating Point of Sale Data

black woman at a dashboard analyzing data consolidating

When a retailer collects information about its customers, the data reveals important statistics, such as what’s popular, the timing of purchases, who’s buying (demographics), and how customers are shopping, i.e., online or in-store.

But the real “secret sauce” comes in the consolidation of data to get one holistic view of the business. 

Data consolidation combines information from different sources into one. Retailers are compiling and analyzing transactions to better inform their product mix and promotions.

Such businesses can more easily obtain a 360-degree view of their customers and avoid data silos, which can lead to inefficient decision-making.

Retail management platforms such as Retail Pro Prism, integrate seamlessly with other retail software in use – like ERP systems, loyalty, analytics, emerging technologies and other solutions – to provide a 360-degree customer view, which allows retailers to make effective use of big data, improve shoppers’ experiences and even predict trends.

Automated Data Consolidating and Decision Making

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A larger retailer can generate tons of data every day, which makes governance complicated and time-consuming. 

Automated data consolidation extracts the data from each source in real-time, transforms it into a consistent-format joint data-set, and loads it into a database. That database can then be used for analytics, monitoring, controlling, evaluating business practices, extracting information, etc.

Data analytics are the next most important step for retailers to get the most out of consolidated data. Retail Pro Decisions converges all your disparate databases, software tools, and other data sources and gives you a visual layouts and feedback you can tailor to your goals.

Consolidating data provides retailers with more control over their data.

The strategy also avoids or eliminates data silos, which helps prevent duplication, errors, and outliers, so data quality improves.

Retail executives can trust the data to make critical decisions that help to inform planning and risk management.

Better Decisions

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Retailers can use consolidated data to make data-driven, evidence-based decisions. For example, by including e-commerce sales data with that of in-store purchases, retailers can get an understanding of omnichannel customer spending and compare it against brick-and-mortar shoppers.

That’s powerful marketing information; considering research shows that omnichannel customers are more profitable. So, promoting in-store shopping to online customers – and vice versa — could pay off handsomely.

In addition to influencing marketing and sales strategy, data consolidation can drive product roadmaps as well as optimize human and capital assets. 

Omnichannel shoppers are engaged and loyal, according to industry research. A recent study reported that customers who purchase across channels tend to purchase more often and spend up to 20 percent more compared with shoppers who buy only in-store.

With OptCulture for Retail Pro, you can understand the data behind both online and in-store transactions, and reach customers wherever they are engaging at the time, whether through a mobile app, text messages, push notifications, emails or digital receipts.

Loyalty and Data Consolidation

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Loyalty programs should be structured to ensure all shoppers benefit equally but should provide incentives to purchase across channels.

The emphasis should be on driving repeat purchases to build long-term engagement, with an emphasis on the ease of cross-channel purchasing.

Data consolidation can help identify which customers are in loyalty programs and who would benefit most from enrollment, point redemption details, and what types of promotions are best suited for the most loyal customers.

By consolidating data, retailers can enhance operations and improve their responsiveness to customers.

Streamlining that information provides a clear, complete view of the customer, which can enhance flexibility, improve inventory, promote loyalty and boost sales.

The Opportunities in Your Data

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You’ve collected and stored all that information. Now it’s time to use it.

One of the great advantages of having an online store is the customer data that can be generated.

In addition to demographics, online reporting can provide insights regarding seasonality, product trends, and customer behavior.

Data Analytics are important and should be applied to every aspect of business to get the most out of the data you collect. Retail Pro collects data from your POS and unifies it with your online data in one view for a complete picture. Customer analytics takes the transactional data collected and crunches those numbers to help make sales, marketing, and product development decisions.

But while many e-commerce retailers use that information to improve customer experience, ironically, online sales data can also be used to help determine where physical stores would thrive.  

Retailers are discovering opportunities to open brick and mortar stores in new markets based on data gathered during the past two years of focus on e-commerce.

Customer profiles informing locations

store associate helping customer with data collected

Sales reports are chockful of information about markets that have driven online sales, which hints at the possibility of opening physical stores in those locations.

Online retailers use sales data to assess their performance and predict future trends, as well as understand their customers.

Because of their familiarity with data analytics, using customer data for real estate site selection is unsurprising.  Familiar retail brands, including Madison Reed, UntuckIt, and Casper are following the lead of retailers such as Warby Parker and Amazon and opening physical locations.

But there’s more to this science than mapping sites to areas with the most customers. Retailers also need lifestyle information, which is easily determined by their purchase histories.

Once the best customers are identified, businesses can use those profiles to identify where similar consumers live and shop.

The value of each potential customer can be determined for any potential store location.

Creating separate customer profiles for your online and brick-and-mortar customers helps to identify differences in the types of customers each channel attracts. In addition, it will also help determine how many customers in a potential location are likely to shop online versus in-store.

OptCulture for Retail Pro gives you omnichannel abilities in your marketing operations so you can understand the data behind both online and in-store transactions. It also gives you the ability to reach customers wherever their preferred touchpoint is: mobile app, text messages, push notifications, emails or digital receipts.

Future of brick & mortar in omnichannel landscape

store worker loading open trunk with curbside pickup order

Pre-pandemic, retailers were focused on improving eCommerce.

Those ahead of the curve and with physical stores were enhancing their buy online, pickup in-store (“BOPIS”) offerings. Few offered curbside pickup.

Fast forward two years and every retailer – from Main Street USA to the global conglomerates — have changed the way they do business to reduce customer friction.

Omnichannel operations are now necessary to keep up with the fast-changing retail landscape, and Retail Pro Prism makes it easy to achieve and customize the way your business does omnichannel.

Today’s retailers are focused on gathering and analyzing customer data to offer products and services customers want, whether that’s online, in a convenient nearby physical location, or using a combination of both.

Curbside pickup has become an extremely popular method that is unlikely to disappear, and Retail Pro has mobile POS options available on Windows, Apple and Android devices that make it even easier to provide flexibility to shoppers.

In so doing, they’ve blurred the lines between where online retail stops and where in-person shopping begins.

The journeys have converged, and brick and mortar stores have arisen like a Phoenix to become an attractive growth channel.

Get the Omnichannel Word Out to Customers

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Shoppers that use all your retail channels are your most valuable.

The past two years of lockdowns, social distancing, and other restrictions put a damper on in-store shopping.

Even the most exclusive boutiques began offering curbside pickup fueled by fledgling attempts at e-commerce. Larger retailers augmented their omnichannel offerings and promoted their increasingly frictionless experiences.

Retail Pro Prism facilitates seamless omnichannel operations with a complete view of data from both online and in-store in one place.

Now, as the economy opens up, retailers of any size are looking for the best of both worlds: Online customers who shop in-store. In other words, omnichannel customers.

And so, they continue to innovate on e-commerce strategies while attracting customers back into brick and mortar stores.

Rocky times for stores

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The pandemic created an online shopping surge but was difficult for physical stores to navigate.

According to reports, in 2020, more than 8,300 US stores closed, but the following year, that number was down to 5,079. And, according to NBC News, 2021 saw 5,083 stores open.

The challenge lies in being able to connect the dots between the online customers that retailers cultivated during the past two years and their in-store purchases.

Studies have shown that omnichannel shoppers tend to spend more than those who use one channel exclusively, such as online-only customers.

Those who, for example, use an app to browse products, bought online and picked up in-store, or bought in the store and got their purchases shipped are higher-value customers.

While the behavior spans all demographics, it is especially prominent with Millennials and Gen Z.

Promoting omnichannel behavior

couple holding shopping bags in a mall smiling looking at woman's smartphone

Online customers are a treasure trove of information: Data analytics can provide insights on not only the products they’ve bought but also on what they’ve looked at and put into (and removed from) their baskets.

Retail Pro Decisions compiles data across channels, compiles and analyzes it all for you and displays the findings visually, allowing retailers to easily understand specifics of employees and product performance.

Taking that information and using it to tailor an in-person experience is what differentiates an average in-store experience from an extraordinary one.

Most people actually prefer shopping in-store, according to PwC research. The study found 65 percent of consumers shop in-store to avoid delivery fees, while more than 60 percent enjoy the immediate gratification of in-store shopping. Further, 61 percent said they like trying on the item or seeing it in person before buying it.

Great experiences start with seamless processes. For example, customers appreciate the ability to look up in-store product availability online. To incent online shoppers to visit a store for pickup, make it worth their while by offering a discount or special offer.

Use Analytics

white retailer lady looking at the customer dashboard analytics in Retail Pro POS, making notes

Analytics can enable businesses to target a customer with the appropriate marketing message at just the right time, according to where he or she is in the buyer’s journey.

Such targeted campaigns have higher conversion rates than generic campaigns.

Predictive analytics can further help identify trends in consumer behavior, ensuring that retailers with omnichannel strategies remain skilled at understanding and responding to their customers’ needs.  

A customer’s journey through online and physical channels must be accurately analyzed and captured to deliver a more personalized shopping experience.

Retailers can also provide a consistently personalized ‘VIP’ experience to each customer with automated marketing with the option for custom dynamic promotions, such as Opt Culture for Retail Pro.