One of the biggest problems that retail businesses are currently facing is the growing reliance on eCommerce. Many people are choosing to do their shopping online through large chains rather than through local retail stores. eCommerce has grown in popularity in large part because it is a more convenient option. They were able to offer this improved convenience due to newer technologies.
If you want your retail store to keep up with eCommerce ones, you’ll need to use technology as well. With a few simple technological additions to your retail store, you can modernize your operation and grow your business. Here are just a few ways you can do this:
Managing inventory is a big part of running a retail store. You need to know exactly how much of a product you have, how much you have sold, and where it’s located. Tracking all of this information reliably without the use of inventory management software is quite difficult.
With inventory management tools you can quickly keep track of all your inventory, no matter how many products you are selling. You can then provide more accurate information to your customers and have a better sense of which things you need to order and when. You can check out this guide on creating a inventory management from ApparelMagic to learn more about these tools.
Provide More Payment Options
A big convenience of shopping online is the number of payment options. Most major eCommerce sites allow you to pay with any type of credit card, along with online payment options such as PayPal or Apple Pay. These options make the checkout process faster, which improves the customer experience and makes it less likely that someone will abandon their cart.
As a retail store, you should aim to offer more payment options as well. Look to get the latest POS systems in your store, so that you can accept both credit cards and phone payments. The more payment options you offer, the less likely it is that someone will not have the right payment type on them to complete the transaction. These payment options, combined with cash, will even give you more options than most online stores.
Deliver Faster Checkout
The faster you can get your customer to complete checkout, the better. If customers spend too much time waiting in line, they are more likely to give up and shop at another store. Even if they complete the purchase this time, their experience may be sub-par, causing them to go to another store the following time. A great way to modernize your retail store using technology is by delivering faster checkout for your customers.
For example, you could provide each of your store representatives with a mobile POS system. Using this system your employees could help customers complete checkout from wherever they are in the store, rather than having to wait on a line. With this you could easily help those customers who just have one or two items checkout faster, then save the checkout counter for those customers who have more to buy.
You should also look to upgrade your POS system at the checkout counter. If your current system is older, it may be taking longer to process each customer. By shaving off just a few seconds from each customer with a faster POS, you can significantly cut down the wait time for those customers in the back of the line.
For more information on the best POS systems for your retail store, you can check out this guide.
Develop an App
Just because you’re a retail store doesn’t mean you can’t have elements of an eCommerce one. An app is a great way to give your customers a dual experience, combining the best parts of retail and online shopping.
For example, through your app, customers could browse your current in-store offerings. They could then order the items through the app and pick them up in the store that same day. This would greatly benefit customers who have other shopping to do in your area, but maybe don’t have the time they’d like to browse around your store. Developing an app requires some time and money investments, but it can be worth it in the long run.
If you’re not sure if an app is the best idea for your store, try it out with a mobile version of your website first. Make it so your website appears perfectly on mobile devices and allow customers to browse current inventory through your website. If your website ends up generating a decent amount of sales for you, consider developing the app to provide an even better experience.
A big way that most retail stores get customers is through word of mouth. If someone notices a shirt that they like on their friend, the friend will pass along what store they got it from. Referrals are great because all you have to do is deliver an excellent product and experience and people will recommend you.
However, if you want, you can take a more hands-on approach to referral marketing. If you can encourage your past customers to make a referral, you can bring in more new customers. This is easily done with technology, by creating a referral program. All you need to do is provide all new customers with a referral code, then have them give this code to anyone they refer. If the code gets used, both customers get a coupon. Using technology you can track and hand out referral codes, practically automating the whole thing.
Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Finally, with technology, you can improve your email marketing campaigns. The key to email marketing is to send out personalized emails at the right time. With technology you can track more information about the customer, such as their purchase history, birthday, and when they most frequently shop. You can then send out targeted emails to your customers at a time when they are most likely to buy.
Email marketing is still an effective tool, especially for retail stores. To learn more about how to run a successful email marketing campaign, read this guide.
Take Your Retail Store to the Next Level
To compete with eCommerce brands you’ll need to modernize your retail store. Luckily, this isn’t too difficult to do and a few small changes can make a big difference. Start with one or two of the items above and see how they work for you. You’ll likely find that modernizing your retail store with technology helps to improve customer experience and drive sales.