The world of retail as we know it is changing rapidly. Sometimes it might feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. You’re not. You can win.
One of the most important things you can do to stay on the leading edge or retail trends is to make sure your technology is up to date. An integrated POS system does more to improve a customer’s experience and enable you to implement new customer-pleasing programs than almost anything else. If your POS system isn’t up to date, if it isn’t integrated with your e-commerce site, your inventory management system, and your CRM, call us and set up a demo today.
Meanwhile, here are some important retail trends to keep an eye on.
Your Store is Everywhere
Whether your customers are experiencing your brand on social media, on your website or e-commerce site, or in your brick-and-mortar store, their experiences reinforce each other. Any disconnect in branding, offers, messaging, inventory or anything else is going to put a glitch in the purchase process, and possibly even drive it to a screeching halt.
Your Employees are Your Brand
Have you ever gone into a high-end retail store and gotten a look from a store representative that seemed to say, “oh no, another customer?” We have. We turned around and walked out.
Overlooking training and ongoing professional development for retail employees is no longer an option. Investment in long-term employee relationships is key to future retail success. Additionally, customers are going to be given access to direct lines that allow them to weigh in on the performance of specific employees. And in the coming years, that customer feedback is going to directly impact retail employee compensation.
Personalization is Key Online and Offline
An Accenture Interactive Study confirmed that customers are beginning to look for personalized service more often. They want to be known by name. They want service that is customized for them, and they don’t want to be bothered by promotions and offers that aren’t relevant to them. In fact, 56 percent of consumers surveyed said they are most likely to shop at a store where they are recognized by name.
The Days of The Traditional Mega Mall are Numbered
As large anchor stores continue to struggle, the traditional malls of the 1980’s and 1990’s continue to falter. There are 80 million millennials entering the retail market right now. Urban dwelling members of this demographic own fewer cars, have shorter commutes, and want all of their services to be provided in one, easy-to access location. We’re going to see things that the rest of us might find unusual, like urgent care centers and possibly even full-scale medical facilities that will be co-located with retail, grocery and entertainment centers. Watch for this new retail model to become the new normal.
Lines Get Blurrier
Retailers are getting better at thinking like their customers, and customers don’t think about sales or marketing or distribution channels. They just think about the easiest path to get what they want, where they want, at the price they want. It is so easy for consumers to switch instantly from one online retailer to another, and to combine their brick-and-mortar and online retail experiences, that retailers have to be prepared for a fast-and-furious new shopping world. If you can’t support this kind of experience, you might be left standing at the starting line.
Get Your Tech On
Whatever your plans for your retail business in the coming months, one thing is 100 percent certain. You need the right technology to make sure your customers have the kind of experience they expect. If you don’t, you won’t even have a chance to compete. Experience is going to be the great differentiator. If you are at all concerned that your POS, CRM, and inventory systems are out of date and aren’t going to be able to keep up, give us a call and schedule a demo. We can help.