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   +1 916 605 7200              moreinfo@retailpro.com            

Rethinking the Challenges of Retail Hiring

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

As retailers continue to emerge from the pandemic and gear up for the 2022 holiday season, the challenges of retail hiring and retaining employees are becoming increasingly apparent.

First, there’s the struggle to find employees to fill open positions, as the onsite nature of retail jobs has limited the applicant pool.

Then there’s the challenge of keeping current associates happy and fulfilled, all while not overwhelming them due to staffing problems.

Retailers are on the case. According to a Deloitte study, 83% are investing in employee recruitment and retention.

Those issues include reassessing salary but go beyond that to rethinking flexibility and culture, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The key is to create a culture that’s worthy of employees’ time and energy on its own merit, rather than one in competition with another, such as those exemplified in the gig economy.

At a glance, jobs in the gig economy such as Uber, DoorDash and Instacart are tough to compete against, retail executives acknowledge.

Gig jobs may be considered more attractive than traditional retail positions because they often offer flexible hours for the same (or better) pay.

They successfully attracted workers who were forced to leave their retail jobs when stores closed during pandemic lockdowns, and many don’t want to return.

With a reported 1 million unfilled retail positions available, stores will require some creative solutions to lure back former employees.

During the past two years, many wage earners have reflected on what work means to them individually.

Money is not always tied to feelings of satisfaction and purpose. Many are seeking a better balance between work and their personal lives.

And then there’s the desire to work from home – a request that is impossible to align with the requirements of retailing.

All of that has created the perfect storm of people leaving their current job while seeking work that allows them to live their lives on their own terms.

Executives must therefore think outside the box to attract talent.

Career Advancement

The challenge facing leadership is the acknowledgment of the constraints of retail work, while leveraging its advantages.

Those benefits are many times directly influenced, if not created, by employers. Significantly, such advantages must benefit both the employer and the employee.

Developing and promoting clear career paths encourages employee tenure. Employees are not simply seen as filling a shift, but rather, as representatives of their brands.

Offering professional development programs demonstrates to workers that a business wants to invest in them.

They provide the retailer with a trained workforce and the employee with a resume-worthy credential.

Not every company can offer in-house training; some employees may be looking to continue their education more formally, for instance at a college or university.

Tuition assistance options can support those career-advancement goals.

Many workers want reassurance their activities mean something and are valued.

Providing an actionable plan to the next level as well as the education or training needed to get there can promote longevity in the ranks.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Professional Shopping Assistant Using Digital Tablet Helping Female Client Buy Clothes And Improve Personal Style In Store. Free Space

Infusing DEI into the fabric of a retail business requires a commitment to investing in staffing.

Deloitte’s research found that 94% of retailers believe employees prefer workplaces that “consider DEI.” That means DEI initiatives should be in place at all levels of a company, from entry-level to the C-suite.

Improving DEI starts with an audit of current recruitment practices to identify gaps in the hiring practices.

Each element of the recruiting process—from job descriptions and candidate outreach to employee satisfaction surveys, should be evaluated.

Just as a retailer would promote its career advancement opportunities, it should also be transparent about its DEI goals and initiatives.

The two strategies can work collaboratively, helping traditionally disadvantaged groups receive training and education that can provide entrée into the elusive C-suite.

In a post-pandemic world, retailers must reevaluate what they offer employees beyond salary and standard benefits.

The past two years have given the workforce an opportunity to contemplate how they want to work, and what they want to receive for that effort.

Retailers now must reevaluate what it will take to get associates back into stores while developing a commitment to their staff as well as to their bottom line.

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

Professional Shopping Assistant Using Digital Tablet Helping Female Client Buy Clothes And Improve Personal Style In Store. Free Space

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.

Strategies for Supply Chain Resilience for the Holiday Season

Many retailers are heading into the holiday season facing low stock and a reduced workforce, increasing the need for supply chain resilience.

Investments in technology may be the fastest way for retailers to meet the needs of shoppers, particularly as stores are facing a shortage of labor as well as products.

Omnichannel POS systems like Retail Pro Prism help fill the gaps created by these problems.

Supply Chain Resilience Fills the Shelves

man wearing athletic wear, holding two different blue running shoes in a store with supply chain resilience

Once a customer is in the store, keeping them there with a breadth of products is the key to sales and repeat business.

Empty shelves are the enemy of the retailer.

Spotty selection often equates to no sales and the customer is lost, perhaps permanently, to the competition.

In addition, today’s shoppers may not be as brand loyal as they may have been previously.

Customers being ready to entertain brands they haven’t been loyal to also demands that retailers stay abreast of trends to conduct successful merchandising.

Retailers wishing to capitalize on increased desire for brick & mortar shopping would do well to heavily curate their selection.

A recent study found that 80% of retailers believe customers will prioritize stock immediacy over brands, so having a selection of similar products is more important than focusing on a top brand.

Product visibility, from the vendor through the delivery dock, helps ensure retailers have stock when they need it.

Product visibility encourages consumers to shop in-store – seeing products they desire and wish to see in-person in stock across channels – regardless of any loyalty or lack thereof to that particular retailer.

Omnichannel systems account for both online and in-store purchases and help customers as well as sales associates understand where inventory is located.

To derive the most thorough data, they should be integrated with other technologies, such as point-of-sale technology, inventory tracking, and customer relationship management systems across all in-person locations as well as online stores.

Customer data is also necessary to inform retailers’ decisions about what to buy and when to buy it. Managers use SKU-level sales and warehouse inventory insights to gear up for holidays as well as to predict the next “big thing.”

During times of supply-chain uncertainty, getting stuck with unwanted products is a luxury that retailers can’t afford. Planning can be more accurate and efficient by sharing inventory, sales and order data with vendor partners.

In addition, accurate demand forecasting cuts waste in production, leading to more sustainable consumption and production.

When demand is predicted more precisely, items can be manufactured and ordered according to customer demand.

Fill the Job Roster

Happy woman customer handing credit card to a female employee in retail store

Business analytics can also maximize efficiency by providing instant access to store staffing data and order volumes. That helps managers plan work shifts and also improves employee productivity.

Some retailers are automating more tasks‑‑for example, increasing self-checkout‑‑to accommodate a shrinking workforce.

Others are looking to software that can help accurately target the timing of store visits so retailers can provide the personal touch when it’s needed.

Mobility tracking data provides retailers insights about what’s attracting customers to shop in-store.

Additionally, it offers information about where shoppers may linger, avoid and pass through. That data can be used to reorganize stock, change department layouts and set staff schedules.

Anonymized tracking doesn’t compromise customer privacy, but offers managers the ability to draw more meaning from analytics, and to understand customer behavior with greater accuracy and detail.

COVID-19 taught retailers that they can’t control major disruptions that impact the global supply chain.

However, with proper planning and implementation of software tools they can increase visibility into their supply chains, which will lead to better resilience through the holiday season — and beyond. With Retail Pro Prism POS associates have visibility across stores and channels, and are able to quickly determine any weaknesses within their supply chain and possible solutions.

9 Best practices for building your tech strategy with Retail Pro Prism

business and tech team brainstorms for a good tech strategy on a window with dry erase marker. Men and women employees smiling up confidently at their plan.

Now, against the backdrop of smooth, systemically-run performance, independent retailers are taking a double hit. You are competing against Tier 1’s brand equity and economies of scale, and you’re losing profit to pure-play retailers who are saving on overhead costs and investing into channel efficiencies. Bottlenecks, duplicitous inventory and process, and lost opportunities are multiplying your costs at exponential rates. A well-planned and customized retail tech strategy is a necessity.

So how can you use Retail Pro technology to adapt to the demands of modern retailing and deliver the quick and efficient experience consumers expect from you? What does it take on the technology end to make it happen?

Here are 9 best practices for building your tech strategy with Retail Pro Prism.

1. Define the challenge

Focus on one operational bottleneck or customer-facing issue. Topher Mallory of Mexicali Blues chose to focus on the issue of inventory optimization.  

You might choose to focus on promotions or employee management, or vendor relationships. Whatever your focus, make sure it’s specific enough so that you aren’t trying to reinvent your whole retail operation before the weekend comes.

2. Determine the outcome you want to achieve with your tech strategy

Once you have in mind the particular area of your business that you want to reform, think about what you’d like to achieve. Is it a particular inventory turnover rate, or a certain increase in customer retention from your loyalty initiatives, or greater collaboration along the supply chain?

3. Design the experience

How do you want customers to interact with you? How do customers expect to interact with you? What will the experience be like in your store versus online? How will you connect the two, along with any pop-up stores, kiosks, catalogs, etc. that you may have?

Online How will your online channel be tied into your physical stores? Will your shoppers have the ability to see which nearby store has the product they’re looking for? Will they be able to reserve or buy online, and then pick it up at that location? How will that store location know to have the product ready for your customer?

In the store, do you want customers to have a self-guided digital experience or a high-touch, personalized experience? That’ll determine hardware – mobility or kiosk? How will payments fit in? Will you need Bluetooth printers for mobile devices? You’ll need Wi-Fi for that. Will your store associates be able to look up inventory at other locations? How will you collect data from all of that – and more importantly, how will you CONNECT the data points to know when they’re talking about the same customer? What’s the recurring theme here? Connectedness. How will you connect your channels, connect your inventory, connect your data?

4. Build the foundation for connected retail with platform retail management technology

Two men and women wearing office attire in an office connecting the puzzle pieces they all hold

Platform retail management software is a foundation for your technology.

Think of it as if you’re building a store out of legos:

  • Lego shelf structures with little beacons attached.
  • Lego checkout counter with POS, EMV compliant mobile payments platform, digital receipts, and loyalty application.
  • Lego kiosk where shoppers can order something that’s out of stock.
  • Lego backroom with RFID-tagged inventory.
  • Lego server where your web store lives.
  • Lego store in a different part of town.
  • Lego warehouse where vendor trucks are delivering products.
  • Lego vendor warehouse where those products are being picked and packed.

And what is this whole retail world standing on? A base. A platform that is connecting all of those different touchpoints to the same reality.

That’s what platform retail management technology does. It creates a base to which you can connect:

  • your customer data
  • your inventory data
  • your transaction data
  • data from your e-commerce, payments, marketing, loyalty, business intelligence applications
  • data from your vendors for drop-ship

Any kind of tool you use, a retail management platform will be the point of connection to which all data flows. And with Application Program Interface, you can build on it – your applications are running on shared data. Your loyalty application is being informed by both your online and in-store channels. Your digital receipts are generating data that can be pulled into your business intelligence and marketing software to help optimize processes or personalize your marketing communications.

A platform unifies all your data into one data set, so you’re getting a holistic picture of how your customer is interacting with you.

Wherever you are in your tech strategy, having platform technology like Retail Pro Prism is a foundational step to achieving that kind of connectivity and thriving in modern retail.

And you have a lot of options in how you can get there with Retail Pro. These are some of the things you can do with Retail Pro Prism today.

  • In-store mobility – The Retail Pro Prism app supports Apple’s iOS along with Windows and Android devices. Portrait layout in the Retail Pro Prism user interface gives greater ease when accessing the software on small mobile devices like the iPod Touch.
  • Omnichannel order fulfillment – Retail Pro Prism allows associates to create sales at one location and fulfill the order at any other location, as part of retailers’ BOPIS, Click and Collect and other omnichannel offerings.
  • On-hand inventory availability lookup – With inventory visibility that goes deep into a particular store (within a single bin or shelf) or enterprise-wide, sales associates can look up product availability and validate items by their inventory image straight from the POS. Retailers can tie this visibility to their e-commerce site and allow shoppers to reserve items from the nearest store.
  • Customer-centric flexibility at the POS – Sales associates have easy access to POS options, including transaction lookup, pending transactions, central customer lookup, gift card balance check, promotions, and customer tax assignments and rebates.
  • Purchasing & Receiving – Create purchase orders to order merchandise from vendors and create vouchers to receive merchandise and update inventory on-hand quantities.

5. Build the infrastructure of your tech strategy

How will your tech facilitate that experience? There are 2 parts to consider here: deployment and use.

  • Deployment with Retail Pro Prism is flexible. You can choose to deploy centrally or at a local, store level server, or a hybrid of the two. Some retailers are running Retail Pro from the cloud.
  • Retail Pro Prism handles a great variety of retail environments, so you’ll need to decide how you will put it to best use for your retail objective, whether you use it as your customer-facing, mobile POS with custom-branded UI, or as your complete retail management solution with full employee management, promotions, and store operations with omnichannel functions like send-sale.

6. Connect ancillary tools and supply chain

At this point you’ve established your foundation and now, with Retail Pro Prism APIs, you can integrate your supply chain and any of the ancillary tools you use.

One Retail Pro user, Massey’s Professional Outfitters  in Louisiana, USA, integrated an e-commerce solution and a vendor drop ship solution to their Retail Pro platform. Because both of those solutions are exchanging data through Retail Pro, they were able to automate the process such that, when the software acknowledges the absence of the inventory upon order completion, it sends the order directly to the vendor for fulfillment, eliminating stock outs and transportation costs. The kind of visibility they have with the Retail Pro platform allows them to keep lower inventory and rebalance inventory between stores.

7. Connect the digital with the experience

woman looking at a clothing store's website on her phone as she stands in front of the store window, claiming a deal with her loyalty points

Once you have the infrastructure and tools in place, now apply them to both the virtual and physical experience your customers will have. That, primarily, translates to how you leverage the data you collect from all those touchpoints.

Some Retail Pro users have iPads with their e-commerce site at each of their stores for cross-selling across their various locations. For you, it’s a sale. For the customer, it’s happiness – they never leave your store disappointed because you didn’t have what they wanted. As one Retail Pro retailer said, “In order for the specialty store to survive, we have to change the way we do business. Our goal is to combine the in-store personal shopping experience with the convenience of online shopping.”

8. Train the employees

Employee buy-in is absolutely critical for your strategy to work so take the time and really train them on the process, on how to make the most of your Retail Pro investment, on how to reinforce your brand essence in every interaction with the customer.

In talking to retailers who are moving to Retail Pro, we often hear that the in-store mobile POS was gathering dust because employees weren’t trained on how to maximize its use in various everyday scenarios like:

  • Line busting
  • Mobile POS
  • Inventory lookup
  • Customer history lookup for clienteling

That’s why Retail Pro users have access to the Retail Pro University with its flexible training options, including online training so you can train employees at the pace of your retail environment. This is especially useful considering the employee turnover rate in retail! You have hundreds of training videos available to you on the My Retail Pro resource portal, along with other useful resources like documentation, knowledgebase articles from our Tech Support team, and the App Market, which shows you our various development partners for applications like loyalty, payments, marketing, etc..

And finally…

9. Use your findings to keep optimizing the tech strategy

Calibration is an ongoing art. Use the data you collect and the insights you make to keep refining your strategy as the industry changes, as your customers grow up, as their needs change.

Identifying your ideal tech strategy for optimizing your ability to drive sustainable sale growth and operations takes some intentional effort that repays you in dividends. Important elementary elements of the process are analyzing your current state and data and your business goals, and applying the same attention to detail to connecting each channel of your business. The foundation of any retail technology strategy is a retail management platform, which creates a base to which you can connect each tool your operation uses and the data that they all collect. Retail Pro Prism gives the ability for functions important today such as omnichannel order fulfillment and provides a flexible foundation for building off of, incorporating ancillary products easily with API choices.

5 Reasons To Consider Click and Collect

One of the biggest drivers of shopper loyalty is the ease of doing business. Customers have little patience for any sort of friction when buying from a retailer.

Shoppers are well aware they needn’t put up with inconveniences – the after-effects of COVID-19 taught them that stores could be flexible and accommodating.

For instance, many retailers embraced a “click and collect,” strategy, also called “BOPIS”: buy online, pick up in-store.

Click and collect operations at the least are difficult if a retailer isn’t omnichannel.

With the rising importance of recent retail innovation in features such BOPIS to customers, omnichannel operations are now necessary to keep up with the fast-changing retail landscape. 

Retail Pro Prism makes it easy to achieve and customize the way your business does omnichannel.

At the time, homebound shoppers found the method irresistibly convenient: Online, they simply “clicked” to buy, but rather than have their purchase shipped, they headed to the store to “collect” it. Many retailers coupled the offering with curbside pickup.

Today, the COVID-19 shopping restrictions are gone, but customers want retailers to continue offering such conveniences.

While click-and-collect was offered prior to 2020, the economic lockdown that the pandemic created saw the strategy surge by 107% in 2020.

It accounted for $72.46 billion in sales, according to Business Insider, and that number is predicted to continue to grow steadily during the next few years.

With busy lifestyles and people reassessing how they want to spend their leisure time, click and collect will likely continue to be a key differentiator for retailers wanting to position themselves as more convenient than their competitors.

Here are five things to consider when building a competitive click-and-collect or BOPIS strategy.

1. Let data drive the understanding of omnichannel shoppers’ habits

female owner of fashion store using digital tablet to check stock in clothing store

Click and collect is an omnichannel retail tactic that lets shoppers pick up their purchases more quickly than waiting for home delivery.

Studies have also found that the strategy not only increases online buying, but it also bolsters in-store traffic, as customers often make additional purchases at pickup time.

Buying online and picking up in store (“BOPIS”) has significantly increased due to COVID-19: Research firm McKinsey reported in the early stages the global pandemic that BOPIS usage grew 28 percent year over year in February compared with 18 percent in January. The data gathered from these customers provides visibility into the type of BOPIS customer a retailer has, as well as what drives them into the store, and can provide a marketing roadmap.

2. Perform an audit of your software systems

The strategy requires sophisticated management software, which receives customer requests from the e-commerce platform. You may also need to upgrade your point-of-sale solution.

The OMS includes inventory visibility, order confirmations, alerts and updates, and distributes orders to the most local store with stock.

Pickup is automatically based on proximity to the address a customer has entered. The best systems provide personalized customer service and are seamlessly integrated, so store associates — as well as e-commerce customers — know what stock is currently available.

3. Real-time inventory is visible to all parties with click and collect

However, the stock needs to move from the shelf to the customer, so efficient in-store operations for “picking” orders are critical.

The real-time visibility across all channels, branches, and designated permissions gives associates the ability to track down an item a customer has seen online, for example.

Staff must be allocated to pick products from the floor without disrupting normal in-store sales.

However, other retailers set aside an area to fill and hold orders, rather than pulling them from the floor or inventory shelves.

Another challenge is ensuring product availability. Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence can help create forecasts that consider click-and-collect purchases to get the right amount of inventory to the appropriate locations in a timely manner.

Inventory transparency can help avoid customer frustration: No one wants to arrive at the store expecting to pick up an item that was sold moments before because the inventory system wasn’t properly synched.

To avoid that, some retailers choose to have “safety stock” built into their inventory management software.

4. Consider the customer experience around click and collect

BOPIS with curbside pickup is convenient, but it can minimize the chances that customers will make additional purchases.

Retailers are looking to extend the reach of customer pickup with innovation. For example, by offering an express pickup desk, retailers encourage a trip inside.

Also, location-based text messaging can detect when a customer is arriving for pickup and provide an incentive to go into the store, such as discounts, loyalty points or an easy way to add in-store items to their pickup order.

5. The problem of returns

Beautiful woman shopping tableware in supermarket. Manager helps a costumer with a return, accepting the bag over the counter.

Though returns are a fact of retail life, streamlining the process makes it easier for the customer and less intrusive for the retailer.

Preventing them where practical is ideal; as a result, some clothing retailers are now providing an opportunity for customers to try on items before leaving the store.

Where trying on first isn’t possible, businesses are studying how to streamline the retail process.

Some ask customers to begin their return through the store’s website or mobile app.

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. 

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

However for the customers who prefer stores that allow them to make their return as quick as possible, retailers can provide an option so seamless it’s sure to keep them loyal with a small programing task to set up their systems for all future returns.  When the customer heads to the store, the associates are notified and provided with an exact time of arrival, and the customer is greeted upon arrival for a quick handoff or exchange.

Click and collect is a strategy that can offer retailers data that can inform their inventory selection and stock levels.

It helps customers see retailers as accommodating and flexible, and it requires planning and investment to be successful long-term.

When executed properly, friction is removed from the customer journey and it enhances the fulfillment process.

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.

4 Important Ways the Retailer-Vendor Relationship has Changed

Asian woman shop owner - young Asian woman store owner carrying shoe boxes at store

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

delivery man holding box up as person receiving it signs an ipad

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.

Create Better In-Store Experiences with Retail Pro Prism

Good products attract customers.
Great experiences keep them coming back.
Retail Pro Prism’s capabilities gives you the tools to choose where and how you reach your customers, and the POS data to inform your approach.

POS Shopper Data

Shape your CX strategy with pertinent shopper data collected in the POS workflow.

Personalize recommendations

Make personalized recommendations with access to customer details in Retail Pro on mobile.

Inventory Visibility

Give shoppers all the options when you’re out of stock with total inventory visibility for every location.

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.








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