As a retail owner, have you been asking yourself “what is the future of retail?” The future of retail has seemed uncertain in recent years. Rarely does a day pass without seeing a news headline about another big box retailer closing the doors of one of its locations. Previously vibrant and respected brands are falling off of the consumer radar, leading many to wonder if branding actually works to drive business. Paying attention to current and upcoming retail trends is more critical now than ever before.
Omni-channel at the Forefront
The biggest trend we are seeing is around omni-channel retailing, in which a store offers products and customer interaction opportunities both in a traditional brick-and-mortar format and an online format. While this does not necessarily mean that you must sell your items online (though it definitely won’t hurt), you should present potential clients the ability to virtually window shop in order to make an informed purchasing decision.
This aspect of customer engagement requires a focused solution. It should be one that provides shoppers a satisfying experience while not breaking your budget or forcing you to become the next Amazon. Rather, leaning on a next-gen POS solution can provide you with the appropriate toolset to develop an omni-channel retail experience for prospective shoppers. Utilizing this innovative technology enables you to interact with your customers while providing a branding opportunity.
When an omni-channel initiative is launched in parallel with a cloud POS solution that provides built-in or integrated omni-channel abilities, the push towards conversion is cost-effective and presents opportunities throughout the business to further drive success. Staff management, inventory controls, and data analysis all present you with process improvements you may not have seen operating under a legacy model.
Growing Brand Loyalty Through Technology
Omni-channel presents some key advantages in terms of improving your brand recognition and on-demand engagement with your customer base. Improving the rate of customer retention is crucial, as gaining a new customer costs 7x more than retaining an existing customer. Though omni-channel POS gives you an edge in achieving improved retention rates, there are other ways to build brand loyalty. But how do you develop effective brand loyalty when customers aren’t as driven by specific brands?
One way is through a better customer experience. Digital or RFID-based checkout options, when integrated with a touchless payment system, eliminate customer angst around standing in long lines or waiting for a cashier to run a price check on an item that does not scan. Additionally, options such as ordering products online for store pickup, allowing customers to see if items are in-stock before walking in your doors, and even augmented-reality apps, such as IKEA’s PLACE app, can give you the competitive push you need to transcend your competitors.
There is a variety of POS features that can help you in the back room as well. Asset and inventory monitoring ties in with next-gen POS checkout abilities which combine to provide retailers with real-time inventory tracking information, from your distributor to a customer walking out the door. This helps you achieve an “endless aisle” while reaching higher-level order and product accuracy.
Amazon and Wal-Mart Have Set the Stage for Delivery Expectations
Home delivery is rapidly becoming the de facto expectation among retail shoppers. A recent Accenture survey showed that two-thirds of shoppers choose their retailers based on delivery options. While behemoths such as Amazon and Wal-Mart’s distribution networks are the envy of most, being a small retailer does not remove you from the game. Smaller shops have better flexibility to adjust to their customer’s product expectations and can provide highly specialized items that larger competitors can’t offer.
While restaurants have noticed the home delivery trend, as seen in services like GrubHub and Bite Squad, small to mid-sized retailers have been slower to adapt. As omni-channel becomes the future, implementing updated delivery strategies become more realistic.
Delivery thresholds for pricing are an option, as are drop-shipping or having an Amazon store. Other options that are trending, such as last-mile delivery, where shoppers can purchase online and pick up at the store or a lockbox, are ways to expand your delivery offerings.
Seek Expert Advice About What the Future of Retail Holds for You
Retail is all about enhancing the customer experience to deepen retailer/consumer relations. This is especially challenging for smaller retailers, as they must pivot to keep up with major retail outlets without a major retail budget. You must distinguish yourself from your larger competitors in a dynamic, engaging way by leveraging next-gen technical solutions. With these valuable tools at your fingertips, you can work to build an engaging customer experience while you realize a low-cost, high-reward solution heading into the future.
When you partner with talech for your retail project needs, we devote our time to identify your business challenges and work with you to apply a solution that brings you a concise, POS solution that takes advantage of futuristic retail trends. Our goal is to leave you feeling confident knowing the functionalities makes you a trendsetter. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.