Because there can be a limited way for retailers to increase margins the optimal way to grow margins is to reduce costs of the business itself. Identifying solutions to increase sales and cut costs can mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy. Retail technology has increased opportunity not only in how to reduce costs but how to build on business you already have.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology gives retail business owners a solid business strategy in multiple ways:
You can easily communicate promotions, sales, changes and new products and services to your customer database. This enhances the profitability of your business increased profits. Your customer already enjoys your product therefore you won’t be spending additional time and money convincing them to purchase from you. Existing customers are also less likely to price shop elsewhere.
Aids in customer retention. It is far less expensive to keep an existing retail customer than it is to gain a new one. In fact, it will cost on average 6-7 times more to attract a new customer than to keep and existing one. Over 60% of customers eventually leave a business because they feel the business does not care about them.
Marketing and loyalty apps help businesses increase sales and customer retention with the use of mobile apps like QR Codes, Foursquare location loyalty app and Pirq , which is a digital punchcard and can give you valuable metrics.
Inventory Planning and Control
Retail technology is useful for monitoring stock levels, payment solutions for in store and mobile/kiosk outlets and manage losses from shoplifting and employee theft. Here is where retail technology shines with POS systems, digital video surveillance and inventory management.
To be able to confidently tell a customer you have XYZ in stock your current location, warehoused elsewhere, or even at another store location is critical in retaining a sale.
POS systems are an invaluable retail technology tool because they provide retailers like salons, convenience stores, restaurants and retail locations a single system that can do scheduling, inventory management, sale processing, customer tracking, loyalty programs, manage profit margins and more.
You can get high quality digital video surveillance installed in your stores and stock areas which can be accessed from anywhere. This allows you to monitor your business anytime, anywhere.
Implementation Process is Key
While retail technology is a very useful tool for your business, how you use it matters as much as which program(s) you implement. When deciding on which retail technology you will invest in make sure the long term support is included or available for a reasonable fee. Your business will change over time and retail technology is always evolving so this is an important factor.
Many programs are simple and need very little training time for the staff and others can take a session or two.
Another consideration is your actual business hours. If your system freezes up or a staff member is stumbling at 9 pm, is your provider capable of being reached for resolution? Ask about in depth training programs for your staff, extensive online help and business hour tech support in your time zone plus one hour before and after for opening and closing detail.
Decide which factors are important to your business and start to explore retail technology options to save yourself time and your business dollars while making your customers feel valued.