Latest retail management news:
For stores today, omni-channel retailing is no longer a lofty goal. Emerging technology and mainstream mobile devices are making the seamless integration between online and physical stores not only a reality, but a requirement.
A recent article on The Guardian website highlights this trend. Technologies like radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC), along with the rising use of smartphones and tablets, is making omni-channel retailing more achievable and important than ever before.
And yet many retailers still aren’t ready. They don’t have the right infrastructure. In fact, many still have mainframes. How can you take advantage of these new technologies with an aging architecture? It’s all about the flow of information. It’s one thing to have all of this data, but what are you going to do with it?
Retailers need a flexible, extensible environment to leverage these advances in technology. The good news is that a lot of these technologies are cheaper than they once were. Sure, retailers might have to bite the bullet and throw out their old infrastructure, but it will be worthwhile in the long run.
The article takes a look at how other retailers are moving ahead. For example, one national U.S. retail chain plans to have RFID in all of its locations this year. Customers will be able to purchase items at self-serve stations and through their mobile devices, cutting costs for checkout transactions.
It’s just one example of how retailers are making changes to “enhance the retail formula.” Retailers must provide convenient ways for customers get store information and share their shopping experience. It’s a lot like “the good parts of e-commerce, with all the fun and tactile richness of real life thrown in,” the article notes.
If omni-channel retailing is your goal, The Guardian article recommends three ways to make it happen.
- Spread digital operations across the organization: Too often, the digital operations work in “silos.” This prevents retail or other departments from taking full advantage of omni-channel retailing opportunities.
- Invest in technology: Some retailers have held off on implementing more digital capabilities due to high implementation costs. But the costs are dropping rapidly.
- Explore opportunities today: Keeping up and preparing for digital developments requires a long-term plan. Start planning today. Retailers should explore what they can do now to connect with their customers via multiple channels.
Source: The Guardian, February 2013
RECENT RETAIL MANAGEMENT NEWS
An article on the Shop.org blog explains how one luxury department store built its brand on the multi-channel retail concept. People want consistency within the brand. Merchandising, distribution and all operations systems need to work together within one unit for retailers to be consistent and completely satisfy customers.
Smaller stores are the future as technology and living patterns evolve. A retail report cited in an article on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s website predicts that consumers will shop closer to home and make more frequent purchases rather than one weekly trip to a big department store. Retail management software is the key moving forward.
Beauty bars offering professional makeup services are popping up in big cities across the country, an article on The Wall Street Journal’s website reports. They’re a great place for retailers to showcase products. But first, retailers must understand their customers. That’s where retail management software can help.
Retailers need to get ready for an omni channel retail world without walls. Customers expect a seamless experience between online and in-store shopping, an article on the Enterra Insights website explains. Becoming an omni channel retailer means dealing with all the complexities that a distribution network could possibly manage.
An article on the Pitch website highlights how customers are becoming increasingly vocal in their relationship with brands as they interact on social medial. The key for is have multi-pronged digital strategies. While social media likely won’t become an economic way to grow sales, it always will be a place for retailers to expose people to brands.
In business, it all comes down to KPIs and using the right measurements to make your company successful. For retailers, these indicators are all about personalization. As an article on the Adobe Digital Marketing Blog explains, personalization must be at the center of every retailer’s strategy. Digital technology and ERP systems make that possible.
When it comes to fashion, one apparel retailer is leading the way by going against the model most fashion retailers follow. The Japanese brand is driven by technology, not fashion trends, an article on Forbes.com explains. It’s a strategy for longevity that requires a very progressive-thinking executive team.
Meet retail’s next big customer: the millenials. They are the largest and most diverse group with spending power estimated at $65 billion annually.. To get a piece of that pie, a national department store chain is targeting the 13 to 30-year-old demographic with a multi-brand initiative, says an article on RetailingToday.com.
Since the recession, people are more cost-conscious, and they’re turning to do-it-yourself projects instead of hiring someone to do it for them. That trend is giving some retailers a boost, an article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website highlights. This trend to save money will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
This holiday season, purchasing power lies in the palm of your hand — if you have a tablet or smartphone, that is. About two-thirds of shoppers who own handheld devices will use them to research and purchase gifts this season, according to a survey cited in an article on Mobile Commerce Daily’s website. Retailers can capitalize on this trend.
Hunting for a bargain can be a thrill, and retailers need to understand that about their customers.That’s what retail expert Paco Underhill recently told the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. Retailers must understand and work with consumer behavior, rather than trying to abruptly change it.