RETAIL INDUSTRY TRENDS
The future of retail in the digital age
If there is a single defining facet of modern business, it is the breakneck pace of technology advancements. In just a few short decades, stores have become nearly unrecognizable from their appearance in generations past. This rapid development in retail industry trends has left industry leaders with a single, pressing question:
What comes next?
It’s a difficult question to pin down an answer for; the future is unwritten, and there is no way to know what technologies will change the game entirely, but there are some definite areas to watch carefully. In this article, then, we narrow down three major areas that businesses want to capitalize on in 2022 and the retail industry trends to pay attention to when it comes to:
- Online Selling
- Digital Marketing
Online selling is essential
Now more than ever, business owners need to bring their services online. A staggering portion of sales are now being conducted online:
People who purchased goods or services online in 2020
Dollars that e-retail sales surpassed in the US in 2020
Knowing that online sales are necessary for modern businesses, you must also diversify your payment options. Having capable payment options opens up your products to new audiences. Expanding that reach has become of exceptional importance in recent years, with the pandemic encouraging online purchases wherever possible.
Bringing your business online offers distinct advantages over traditional models. Furthermore, high-quality point of sale (POS) systems offer several features to make the transition to the cloud as smooth as possible, including:
Shopping online is like any other form of shopping— customers will do it when and where it’s easiest. Online POS functions offer customer-facing online menus to put products in front of them in a sleek, user-friendly way.
In the digital age, a strong online catalog presents customers with an image of professionalism; having the ability to check a company’s website before going in makes them more likely to use your services again. Similarly, it makes referring your business to others as easy as CTRL+V.
Moving forward, the key to gaining new customers and keeping old ones is convenience. Above all else, you do not want customers to feel like shopping at your establishment is a challenge or obstacle. This especially goes for payment options, which can be a major source of grief when visiting a new store if they are not diverse and reliable.
That means that you want your online selling options to include a wide variety of payment types including the traditional cash, check and card in addition to digital wallets like Apple Pay or Venmo. It also gives customers options for curbside pickup or delivery, providing them with more shopping options.
|When considering online-based solutions for your business, it’s important to think about how your technology meets your specific needs. While some operations remain in static locations, many small businesses need to go out to customers themselves.
That means a POS that offers a mobile app to help businesses conduct their payments on the go. This makes an ideal solution for businesses such as food trucks or mobile vets which take their operations to customers’ front doors. It also makes payment with your company easier than it ever has been before.
Offering online options increases customer satisfaction and opens up new revenue streams that otherwise might not have been available. Having a full online menu also encourages customers to purchase more items, resulting in larger profits for the company. Finally, removing the human element reduces human error in the ordering process, streamlining it into a finely tuned machine.
Integrating daily operations
It’s also important to not forget about your in-store customers, as well as the staff that manages their expectations. Because of the breadth of these goals, owners often find themselves using different solutions in tandem with each other. Due to lack of centralization, this juggling act often costs time, money and energy. This applies not just to their tasks, but also to the technology chosen to help them perform those tasks.
Centralizing daily operations through your POS, however, offers features designed to simplify the ins and outs of running your shop. These include:
Inventory management is perhaps one of the most pressing needs for modern retailers. You need to know when new shipments are coming in, how much is going out and have access to some level of analytics to keep you in the know about why an item might be popular or not. Finally, you need solutions that keep you in touch with your vendors, allowing for automated payments through integrations with your accounts payable, keeping them in touch when you need them.
Centralizing your inventory through your POS is a common-sense solution to this need; because your staff uses this station to check people out, it makes for the perfect station to track outgoing stock. This count updates in real-time, giving your employees up-to-the-minute updates as inventory as it depletes. With this information, they can better organize their schedules and ask:
- What needs to be moved to the front?
- What needs to be reordered?
- What is underperforming?
Labor management integrations
Your employees are going to have other things going on in their lives. They may need to ask for time off, trade shifts with others, or plan to take on additional hours. As a manager, you want to make this process as easy as possible for them, offering direct access to scheduling software that keeps everyone on the same page.
A POS may seem like an odd choice for this responsibility, but integrations with labor management solutions like Homebase make the process a breeze. Using these integrations, employees can post their own schedule and work with each other (and you) to make a schedule that works for everyone, as well as the customer.
Technology is a wide open field; there are so many ways that industries can go, it’s nearly impossible to predict what the coming year will bring. It is safe to say, however, that wherever trends or technology take us, the tools listed above will prove invaluable for any business. These tools improve the customer experience by providing staff with the ability to more effectively assist. In the worst-case scenario, they allow them to call someone who can.
Don’t sleep on digital marketing
After a customer has left your establishment, you want to make sure that they come back. This process is remarkably difficult and has changed drastically over the years. Traditional models consisted of blasting promotions wherever possible and hoping that they would bring customers in. The reality of this method, of course, is that it was hit or miss; without proper analytics to evaluate their plan, it was impossible to know whether the campaign would be successful or not.
Modern POS solutions answer this challenge with features targeted towards bringing in new customers and keeping the old ones, including:
Customers don’t shop at random; they go where they feel the most catered to. It is your job, then, to give customers a reason to shop with you. Modern POS solutions offer customers rewards for signing up or leaving their information with the store. These rewards include discounts on future items, items that the customer has purchased before, or even branded discounts applying to different vendor products.
Modern POS solutions allow businesses to custom set these discounts based on customer purchase histories or other parameters depending on what they want to do. Loyalty plans keep the customer coming back for more, as they make them feel catered to. By giving the customer a reason to come back, they are more likely to shop with your business or even recommend your business to a friend. This not only increases recidivism among consumers, but also helps drive in new customers.
When appealing to a larger mass of customers, it can be difficult to know just how to market your products. While those books might have been very popular last year, for example, customers may have moved on to a new one. Without anything to point you in the right direction, your business is ultimately left at the hands of fate. Such a position, of course, can jeopardize your whole operation.
POS solutions, however, provide valuable insights on retail industry trends using powerful data analytics programs. These programs illuminate which of your products have been selling the most and can even point to why; for example, Christmas items selling in December or coffee selling in the morning. Insights like these are crucial in developing a strong marketing program, as they point potential new customers your way using the hottest items you have in stock.
It is more important now than ever to have a strong online presence. In addition to your website, you also want to be developing a sense of community with your customers. Responding to customer reviews is one of the biggest ways to achieve this goal, as it facilitates a back-and-forth between you and those you serve. This demonstrates that you are accessible to customers, and that you make efforts to fix problems when they might arise.
This is where your POS comes in; by alerting you to reviews of your pages when they are submitted, you are able to get the jump on responding to reviews quickly. These responses do a great deal of work projecting your image to the public, making that timely response absolutely necessary. Customers who see these pages will then have your side of the story available when they make their decisions to visit themselves.
Digital marketing is among the newer retail industry trends; the benefits of which cannot be understated. By responding to online reviews, you make customers more open to shopping with you. You increase those chances by narrowing down your specials; ultimately ensuring that you are offering products or services that will bring new customers through the door. Finally, well-constructed loyalty plans keep them coming back for more after their first visit.
Retail industry trends keep you relevant
No one knows what the future looks like. There are, however, definite retail industry trends that will help shape the years to come. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to start investing in technology that simplifies adaptation and innovation; doing so brings all your essential tools under one roof.
Here at talech, that’s exactly what we seek to do. We’ve spent years building a reputation for helping small retailers work towards their goals with the latest in POS technology. Our solutions are tailored to your needs, whatever size or scale they may currently be. Best of all, they are designed to grow with you every step of the way. Reach out to us today about a free demo and to learn how talech can become your trusted partner.
MOVING TO A POS SYSTEM FOR RETAIL BUSINESSES
Getting a retail store up and running quickly with the best technology
You can minimize the amount of toil and aggravation without a huge time investment. Follow these steps to ensure your POS works as expected from day one.
RETAIL POINT OF SALE TECHNOLOGY
Modernize retail stores with mobile and cloud-based technology
Do I need cloud-based technology or data storage? Is mobility important? The answers to these questions will guide your decision when choosing your POS.
RETAIL STORE OPERATIONS
How to improve retail store operations and performance: The insider’s guide
While you may not have the resources of your competitors, there are steps you can take to increase your profit margin with minimum effort or investment.