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   +1 916 605 7200              moreinfo@retailpro.com            

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

man wearing button up shirt standing in front of sophisticated large computer manipulating settings, assessing data consolidation

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

blonde woman in light grey blazer and light blue button up opening hands with little pictures of customers appearing between above a tablet on the table in front of her. Data consolidation

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

Man selecting an icon of a person on a map of the world on a touch screen, connected to a network of person icons, loyalty and data consolidation

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.

6 Ways to boost sales with better segmentation in your retail marketing

Knowing your customers is key to creating effective marketing campaigns and promotions.

There are myriad ways to slice your retail data, so how can you form smart segmentations that will help you deliver tailored marketing messages to relevant group of customers for higher redemption rates and sales?

As a retailer, you are collecting lots of useful data through your Retail Pro POS. OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro is the tool that allows you to use that data in a way that facilitates a higher level of customer engagement leading to increased revenue for your business.

OptCulture provides retailers with a complete suite of solutions that integrate directly with your Retail Pro point of sale system and ecommerce platforms, giving your customers a full circle experience with loyalty and promotions.

Customers that enroll online can redeem points in-store and customers that earn rewards in-store can redeem online.

OptCulture also offers loyalty mobile applications that can display the latest offers for customers as well as keep them up to date on rewards earned through recent purchases.

Using integrated data in your OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro, you can create better segments that will help you boost sales.


Segmentation is basically an elaborate way of describing the filtering of customers.

Which of your stores is their go-to location? What are they buying? How often are they opening and clicking through emails?

These are just the basics. The real fun begins with asking the right questions.

Where to start

Think of the different products your store sells.

Do your customers exhibit brand loyalty? Are there different genders that purchase from different departments? What is the average purchase amount per customer? How often are your regular customers visiting the store?

All of these questions lead to better answers when it comes to communicating and advertising to your market base.

Why should you do this? In today’s data driven marketing environment, customers simply do not engage with advertisements for things they are not interested in.

If I have only bought Nike shoes from my local shoe store and they keep sending me advertisements for Adidas shoes, New Balance, Vans, etc.,  I am very  unlikely to engage with those communications and may just unsubscribe altogether.

The process

Consider your inventory and what products you see customers purchasing or not purchasing.

As a sports clothing retailer, segment your customers based on the team that they support.

Look at sales reports, is there a day that is always slow? Consider running double rewards on these days.

What questions do you have and how can the data you are collecting be used to answer them?

What follows next are the 6 easiest examples of customer segmentation that every retailer should be doing, and then we’ll look at post-campaign analytics which will help refine our next steps in the overall marketing plan.

This first example is a very easy segment to set up. Think of how often your average customer shops. Is it once every 3 months, every 6 months, once a year? Then let’s take those rules and go right on into OptCulture and create the segment.

For this example I have created a segment for customers that have made less than 2 purchases and have not shopped with me in the last 6 months.

To do this I simply click on the rule I would like and drag it into the appropriate area. Rules can be combined in an “and” fashion as well as an “or” fashion. 

I can now target these customers every 6 months with an automated email or SMS message and include an offer in attempt to get them back into the store

Our second example relates to items in  your store.

Are there products that your customers need to replenish or refill? Customers that shop for products that have limited lifespans will need to buy more at some point.

Think about tire shops. When you get new tires in Houston, after a few months I will get a reminder for balance and rotation and then a few months later an advertisement for all new tires. All retailers should be doing the same things in regards to their products.

Here’s another example: High performance surfboards last at most a year or two.

Segmenting out customers who purchased that product within a particular time frame gives me an idea of who should be coming back in for a new one. If they have not, I could create a call list for my staff to reach out to.

The third example also relates to products. Are there items that are typically sold together? Shoes and socks? Kayaks and paddles.

Think of products you sell that go together and come up with some rules that you can take to OptCulture.

An example we came up with would be if a customer purchased a bike but without making a purchase for a Helmet.

Reach out to them with an email advertising safety equipment that is important for bike riders, or even places to ride their new bike and groups to meet up with.

Our Fourth example is going back to customer behavior.

What seasons or months are most important to your business? Are there holidays that your customer base shops on? Mothers Day? July 4th?

Create a segment for them and advertise products that are popular for that season.

Here we created a segment for customers that shopped prior to Christmas and we also added a rule that targets customers who on average spend $100 or more.

This will give us a good group of customers to reach out to when we know what we will have in stock for the Christmas season.

In this fifth scenario, we look at items that require special care or warranty information to be filled out.

In the event that a garment requires special care, with OptCulture you can follow up that purchase with an automated email or SMS explaining exactly how to care for that product.

Are there items your store sells that require customers to fill out warranty information?

In the example of a bike store, customers who purchase high end bicycles fill out warranty forms that are returned to the manufacturer. Make this process seamless by automatically emailing these customers the details that relate to their warranty.

Here we created a segment for customers that purchased a silk item the previous day.

This segment can be attached to a daily email campaign and customers who fit that criteria will be sent the necessary email. This is just a simple example.

Any information you are bringing into Retail Pro can be mapped to OptCulture so that you can segment out exactly the customers you are looking for.

6th and last on our list, while certainly not least, relates to segmentation based on customers interacting with your communications.

Consider the seasonal email you just sent out for summer items.

What was the open rate? Were there any clicks?

Why not reach out to those who clicked through the original email with a follow up in a few weeks?

Even better, reach out to those who clicked but did not make a purchase. Their click expressed interest; segment them out to see if they acted on that interest. 

Refining segments

Once you have put together some segments and run some campaigns, look at your reports. Are these groups coming in and making a purchase?

Create a segment for customers who opened the campaign and add purchase rules and find out.

Consider expanding the rules to include more or less customers.

Discover what is working by looking at promotional redemptions for customers who have been sent exclusive offers.

Continue to ask questions and to use your data and OptCulture to maximize engagement and increase revenue at the same time.

A quick look at the email reports dashboard will show you if customers are opening and clicking through emails.

Clicking on the name of the campaign will take you into more detailed reports such as how many opens or clicks for a given time period, or even what devices customers are using to view emails.

So let’s talk. Give OptCulture a call to discuss how you are currently marketing to your clients and how using segmentation can help your business increase customer engagement.

About OptCulture®

OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro helps specialty retailers improve customer loyalty and engagement with their brand via customizable, omnichannel marketing. Capabilities and features include: Omnichannel loyalty, digital receipts, email & SMS marketing, campaigns & automation, custom promotions, ecommerce purchase data integration, mobile client app for accessing rewards, tablet or kiosk for in-store loyalty signups, analytics, and omnichannel customer data management.

How NFTs are Influencing the Retail Market

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming a bigger part of the fashion landscape. In so doing, they are also becoming a substantial part of retail.

An NFT is a unique, “bespoke” item that by its very nature fits right into the fashion world.

To put it in terms of physical collecting: anyone can buy a Givenchy dress. But only one person can own a bespoke version (like Megan Markle).

An NFT is registered on a blockchain, which is used to record ownership of an asset. Limited-edition, unique digital fashion items are purchased, and buyers receive “1 of 1” certificates of ownership – adding a level of exclusivity that has long been the hallmark of fashion culture.

NFTs and brand loyalty

NFTs can also be integrated successfully into loyalty programs. With NFTs, fashion brands can give customers tokens for enticements, including yearly access to new products, discounts, admission to exclusive events and private communities. 

For example, Dolce & Gabbana debuted its NFT collection, Collezione Genesi, which has physical, digital, and experiential value.

The NFT holder receives the physical, fitted version of Dress from a Dream, an original signed sketch, and a custom digital recreation of the dress—in addition to two-year access to Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria, and Alta Gioielleria couture events in Italy.

In that way, the customer is encouraged to continue engaging with the brand.

Hype and controversy

The strategy to market NFTs with products can be wildly lucrative.

 For instance, Adidas made its first NFT drop, Into the Metaverse, of 30,000 NFTs, priced at $800 each. The drop sold out almost immediately, and generated more than $23 million in sales.

But not everyone is gung-ho over NFTs. Much of the controversy surrounds the carbon footprint of NFTs.

They are supported by blockchain technology, which is extremely energy-intensive. The cryptocurrencies used to buy and sell NFTs generate millions of tons of planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions.

 Others argue against NFTs because they are part of a new, unregulated market – and those types of markets, in general, have a greater propensity to harm the environment.

Digital opportunities around NFTs

But NFTs and cryptocurrencies are offering retailers entry into new markets. Some shoppers don’t have access to bank accounts or credit cards—and others simply don’t want them.

Those customers can now make electronic transactions with cryptocurrency.

According to Statista, the number of blockchain wallet users is increasing dramatically: From roughly 69 million in February 2021 to 81 million a year later. Benefits include superior payment security, lower transaction fees, and speedier transactions.

Ralph Lauren has been selling branded digital apparel in virtual worlds such as Zepeto, while Dolce & Gabbana has auctioned millions of dollars in NFT-based digital couture.

Those well-known luxury brands and others are forging into the “metaverse,” expanding their retail channels. And retailers see that brand expansion into NFTs offers a way not only to expand sales but also to increase revenue receipts via cryptocurrencies.

Take Another Look at Sustainability

earth growing green foliage because of sustainability practices

Sustainability means serious business to a new generation of customers.

Business sustainability is far more than using recycled plastic in shopping bags or motion-sensing lighting.

It’s not a feel-good buzzword. Rather, it’s a way of doing business that considers the effect companies have on the environment or society.

Sustainability – from Millennials & Gen Z to Mainstream

a stack of clothes from different fabrics with a tag labeled co2 neutral Carbon neutral, CO2-free concept product to signal sustainability

For Millennials and Gen Z customers, sustainability includes reusability.

Thrifting or “resale marketing,” is popular with this group, and the secondhand market, including clothing retailers such as Poshmark and ThredUp, is thriving.

The similar concept of “circular fashion” considers the entire lifecycle of a garment, from how it’s made to ensuring its durability so it can ultimately be passed to several owners.

 Established brands are joining the party; for example, Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” program offers credits toward new items when customers trade-in gear.

With Millennials representing $600 billion in spending power and Gen Z at $140 billion, their preference to shop sustainably can’t be ignored.

Increased appetite for sustainability

Woman who cares about sustainability with shopping bags in studio on yellow background isolated

Not every product can be reused, however, so looking at responsible, “green” ways of manufacturing continues to be important.

What has changed, however, is that customers are more willing to pay for sustainable products. For example, last July, a survey from First Insight and Wharton’s Baker Retailing Center of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers found 68 percent of them willing to pay more for sustainable products, up from 58 percent from a survey taken in 2019.

That’s a compelling argument for retailers to create, source, and sell more sustainable goods.

Sustainability and cost incentives

packing away products to ship with brown cutout paper to increase sustainability

Sustainability aligns with business goals as well – and though many small and midsize retails are leading the charge, it’s not solely the purview of smaller companies.

A great example is “Amazon Day” when the behemoth retailer packages into one weekly delivery, chosen by the customer. That’s a huge savings in gas costs for Amazon, while it reduces environmental pollution.

In addition, Amazon has committed to produce 100,000 electric vehicle delivery vans for Amazon through 2024.

Brick and mortar retailers that provided enhanced delivery and customer pickup services might consider reducing the resulting carbon footprint by bundling packages for customers, which will consolidate the number of delivery/pick up trips.

Employees and sustainability goals

employee at sustainability-conscious artisinal

Finally, companies that embrace sustainability as a key purpose may be better positioned that their competitors to attract motivated, skilled workers that drive financial success.

Everyone likes to rally around a common goal, and employees with shared purpose are likely to be more satisfied at work – and happy employees are great ambassadors for your business.

The Opportunities in Your Data

Modern graphic interface shows massive information of business sale report, profit chart and customer data analysis on screen monitor.

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

beautiful light skinned black woman with happy look holds smartphone and credit card, shopping online ecommerce omnichannel

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

black woman on the couch smiling looking at her laptop shopping online ecommerce

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.

OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro

We are excited to introduce a new add-on, OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro!

Fully integrated with Retail Pro Prism and all legacy versions of Retail Pro, OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro can help you improve customer loyalty and engagement with your brand via customizable, omnichannel marketing.

Join Retail Pro International and OptCulture on February 15th or February 16th for a demo webinar to see how you can build meaningful, omnichannel shopper relationships with OptCulture Marketing for Retail Pro.

February 16 – 9am California / 12pm New York

  • Centralize shopper data from your CRM, ecommerce, and Retail Pro
  • Move overstock at particular stores through specialized promotions for targeted segments
  • Enroll more shoppers to your loyalty program with connected web forms and in-store kiosks
  • Reward shoppers for their online and in-store purchases with you
  • Engage shoppers with multi-channel, segmented and automated campaigns
  • Act on buying and behavioral insight about your customers

Request Demo >

Building Omnichannel across borders with Retail Pro Prism

white businessman and woman shaking hands, making a deal with two black businessmen to work together on building omnichannel across borders in their company

Building omnichannel operations for multinational companies requires integrated technology designed for business agility. With the right set of tools, retailers can build their brands across geographic borders and still provide a consistent customer experience.

A successful project must nurture continuous experimentation and collaboration among all partners in the supply chain.

Managing the marketing, planning, and omnichannel operations for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of brands across many countries with numerous points of sale in Asia, South America or Europe is a huge challenge.

Collaboration and experimentation are needed to meet consumers’ rapidly evolving expectations and provide feedback to brand partners on local market preferences and upcoming trends.

Having functioning contacts and support systems in the region that a retailer is expanding to from the beginning makes such expansion much easier. Retail Pro has an expansive network of business partners who provide support in the initial implementation, and in any changes or hiccups throughout their operations.

Omnichannel POS and the customer experience

a blonde sales associate concerned with customer experience helps a woman shopping for makeup using per personalized data on her customer profile

Omnichannel POS can support insights-driven experimentation.

To deliver connected customer experiences across digital touchpoints and stores, retailers integrate in-store point of sale (POS) systems, mobile POS, and omnichannel systems to their online stores, as well as their CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

That provides real-time visibility into sales down to the SKU level. Sales managers can strategize with customer-facing associates to develop and monitor the success of customized promotions and bundles for each store.

Customers also need to be a part of the feedback loop. They must trust the retailer, and feel that they have support throughout their journey – the item is in stock, ships quickly, can be returned easily if needed.

That trust often involves the customer providing some personal information to the store, in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience.

With an omnichannel POS system, a retailer can integrate their loyalty and rewards programs with data from their POS, making for a smooth transaction experience and more personalized and engaging customer experience, based on their actual purchase history.

A retailer can present a highly targeted experience if the data gathered is extremely focused.

Retail Pro Prism provides this omnichannel capability and customer experience and offers two loyalty programs – AppCard and OptCulture – for retailers to gain deep insight and create custom, individualized loyalty strategies.

E-commerce capabilities help retailers adapt to local markets as well.

The benefits gained by e-commerce apply to branded ecommerce sites as well as having a presence on online marketplaces such as Lazada, Little red Book, TMall, and Tokopedia.

Multinational omnichannel retailers choose robust software solutions to support its branded ecommerce platforms as well as middleware solutions to integrate systems with ecommerce marketplaces. That provides a solid foundation that lets e-commerce teams work seamlessly and efficiently across brands and marketplaces.

Retail Pro’s accessible API and extensive list of plugins and integrations in the Retail Pro App Market make it easy to integrate data from the POS, inventory and ecommerce.

Automating analytics and marketing in omnichannel

black retail businesswoman building omnichannel looks at POS data analytics

Standardized and automated back-end systems further boost efficiency.

Omnichannel warehouse and logistics managers automate their processes, from picking and packing, to shipping and final delivery.

A warehouse management system can further help by integrating enterprise resource planning, merchandising, and supply chain solutions.

Finally, business intelligence tools are deployed to deliver relevant insights across the entire enterprise.

BI can quickly generate insights by tracking clearly identified business and customer outcomes and analysts turn them into actions. For example, cross-analyzed data feeds coming from ecommerce marketplaces and social media can help identify small signals in certain product categories.

Retailers using Retail Pro can have access to several tools to help them in analyzing shopper and transaction data, such as Retail Pro Decisions – visual analytics software – and pre-designed reports in Retail Pro Reports. Retailers can use filters to focus on different aspects of their operations, and segments to investigate further on one period

Overall, the retailer is the “face” of the brands they represent, in every country. No matter how disparate the customers are from one location to the next, the retailer ultimately must use all the tools at its disposal to appeal to all, while maintaining a cohesive branding strategy.

Retailers personalize customer journeys by brand to connect with consumers. And brand promises must be aligned with in-market customer experiences, whether that’s online or in-store.

A loyalty program such as OptCulture for Retail Pro that centralizes sales data from customers in-store and ecommerce and gives you multiple avenues to reinforce their experience of your brand and offer automated, personalized marketing.

Let’s Talk About Omnichannel Returns

Female Inventory Manager Shows Digital Tablet Information to a Worker Holding Cardboard Box. In the Background Stock of Parcels with Products Ready for Shipment.

The customer journey may always start with shopping, but it doesn’t necessarily end on a happily-ever-after note. Sometimes, the item just doesn’t meet expectations and the customer makes a return.

The return rate for the retail industry in the U.S. and Canada averages 8% of total sales, according to retail analytics firm The Retail Equation.

Returns are a “reverse logistics problem,” but also a fact of life for retailers, which cost time and money.

Because of that, it seems counter-intuitive to invest in improving the returns process — but it’s absolutely imperative. Having a good returns experience can help retain customers, and gaining a reputation for it can actually attract new shoppers.

It’s estimated that between 25 and 50% of online purchases are currently returned, so making the process simple and convenient is vital.

Retail flexibility for returns is a must in the omnichannel: after all, the customer can buy in any number of channels, so returns should have similar options as well.

In having omnichannel capabilities for customers to make returns, retailers can use the return as an opportunity to immediately offset any costs of returns. The retailer can use clienteling through whatever channel the return process is started; suggesting products in line with the general trends of their purchase history.

With a wealth of plugins available, Retailers can customize their omnichannel operations to offer return processes that are convenient for customers and work seamlessly with their retail and inventory management.

Order Management and the channels for returns

Female seller worker online store holding scanner scanning parcel barcode tag packing ecommerce return post shipping box checking online retail store orders in dropshipping delivery service warehouse.

Once a return happens, being able to make that addition to inventory available soon after receipt increases the opportunity of achieving a full-price sale.

An order management system can provide instant visibility of returning goods, regardless of how they are being returned — to a store, through a courier service or directly to a warehouse.

In addition, having visibility of these items available allows the order management system to develop fulfillment decisions on how and where items should be sold to maximize profits. 

A survey from Inmar found that most shoppers want to return in-store, largely due to the hassle of packing up a return.

Brick and mortars can benefit by enabling in-store returns of online purchases, as that drives store traffic and provides an opportunity to immediately recapture shoppers’ initial expenditures. Approximately 30% of Inmar survey participants said they “usually” or “always” stay in the store and shop with their refund money. 

AppCard for Retail Pro provides a retailer with great tools for building personas for retailers various clients and personalize recommendations for them.

The future of returns and making them easy

A shopper holds up a new dress to decide whether to return it or not.

Some e-commerce retailers such as Amazon make the return experience easy by requiring little to no packaging by the customer, allowing returns in different store locations, including return shipping labels in deliveries, as well as a QR code that can be used at a predetermined courier, which also increases efficiency for the retailer

Returns are an important element of a new online sales cycle: Increasingly, shoppers are employing a “buy and try” approach and they expect sellers to cooperate.

Research has found that much of the returns growth is due to shoppers purchasing more than one of the same or similar products with the intention of keeping one and returning the others.

Retailers must recognize the changing role of returns, understand that they will likely increase rather than decrease due to this new customer mindset, and optimize their processes to adapt and maximize customer satisfaction.

How are you streamlining your omnichannel store experiences? Let's talk.
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