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
According to the National Retail Federation, almost 70 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween, up from about 64 percent last year. It’s the highest percentage in a decade, according to BIGresearch, the research team that conducted the survey. Why is this happening? Because even when the economy is bad, feel-good holidays like this typically do very well.
An increasing number of supermarket chains are ditching their self-serve checkout lanes because they say they can offer better customer service with traditional lanes. Although studies show that shoppers who like the convenience of DIY lines aren’t in the majority, experts don’t agree with the trend because some people don’t go shopping if the store doesn’t have a DIY line.
According to Reuters, 50 of 265 chain dollar stores in Arkansas won permits to sell beer that has no more than 5 percent alcohol content. Although anti-alcohol advocates are upset about the addition, retail experts say the idea is genius. The marriage of beer and dollar stores is a perfect way to increase sales. And he predicted other dollar store franchises will follow suit.
According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, financial analysts believe credit card companies plan to increase the fees for small dollar purchases to 23 cents per transaction. Right now, retailers pay about eight cents for a $2 debit card purchase. Experts believe the fee increase will devastate the economics of small debit purchases.
A recent article on dailyfinance.com discussed how a mid-range American retailer is using an in-house design team to convince buyers that “this is not your mother’s” store. They’re also making exclusive designer partnerships and bringing in other stores to sell things inside their walls. But the “store-within-a-store” concept can be dangerous territory.
The June issue of Psychology and Marketing published research about “retail therapy,” which outlines how people cheer themselves up by spending money on “self-treats.” The article was discussed on a recent blog post by Eric Barker, author of the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree and columnist for Wired Magazine. Marketing experts say it’s important for retailers to capitalize on this.
Companies that grab onto all the new social media networks like a shiny new toy, but soon abandon it, are dulling their image. Ask three questions to get your social media message back on track: What warrants starting a new social media account?, What minimum resource commitments are required to service it? and What are the criteria that will govern its closure?
Competing with all the e-commerce sites on the Internet is no easy task. But there are three simple tools and techniques that can help small business owners take professional-looking photos without the hefty price tag. A light box, photo editing software and careful attention to detail can make your product look like it stepped out of a catalog.
Retailers are hoping to entice customers into some early holiday shopping as they start stocking Christmas goods well before the season begins. This trend accelerated in 2008, the beginning of the recession. Nearly 40 percent of Americans say they start holiday shopping before Halloween. Holiday shopping is crucial for retailers as a good — or bad — holiday season can make or break their year.
Retailers are concerned a credit crackdown set for Oct. 1 will hurt business. The new law, which determines credit based on personal income, will make it harder for stay-at-home parents, college students and others to get a credit card. Officials at the National Retail Federation are asking authorities to let issuers consider a broader set of factors.
Dave Logan, a management consultant and New York Times best-selling author, says most business books are destined for failure for three reasons: Most use stories to cover their complete lack of insight, the stories highlight the wrong message and most are empty in the middle. Want inspiration? Read “The Odyssey,” “Atlas Shrugged” and “Ender’s Game.”