RETAIL TECH UPDATE

6 Ways You Can Overcome Retail Tech Barriers

LukeChesser
Both your in-store and online efforts can be greatly enhanced with the retail tech that is available today. Dealing with tech pain is essential to the future of your firm. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to install tech options that will help.
by Nick Shaw, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, responsible for global marketing, sales and alliances for this retail inventory management software provider. Shaw has written for sites such asToolbox and X-Cart.

Add In-Store Wi-Fi

fb.svgtw.svgLinkedIn_icon.svg
Share
Offering free Wi-Fi has a plethora of benefits for both customers and businesses. Having an in-store Internet connection is the perfect way to create a smooth shopping experience. An estimated 77% of customers use their phones in-store, says extremenetworks.com. People do this to compare and contrast products online, among other things. With access to free Wi-Fi, people will spend more time on the premises – meaning they are likely to make more purchases. One key issue when installing  Wi-Fi is to consider security. As tech evolves, so do the skills of hackers. Ensure you have the correct online protection in place, and make sure to follow GDPR rules, too. This safeguards both you and the customer.
Nick Shaw
Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Brightpearl
Some sellers are falling behind in the tech game. According to PushOn, 35% of retail firms don’t have a digital transformation strategy in place – or a strategy that handles changing consumer habits. Online shopping has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, retailers need to make sure they have the tech to stay ahead in business. Paysafe says that due to the virus, 18% of worldwide shoppers have purchased online for the first time, with a further 38% of customers saying they will be doing more online shopping from now on. To survive the competition, companies should adapt and innovate. A retail tech stack report shows the different tech solutions now available to retailers. Choosing the right ones for you creates customer rapport and streamlines service. It also reduces costs and puts a firm ahead of the competition. Dealing with tech pain points as a retailer is essential to the future of your firm. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to install tech options that will help. So, where does that leave your everyday retailer? Let’s look at five current ways retailers are integrating VR.

Location-Based Marketing Strategies

Retail does not take enough advantage of tech-driven marketing strategies, especially when it comes to using location-based tactics. Location analysis is a growing industry. Factual.com reports that 9 in 10 marketers say using this strategy results in higher sales and a bigger customer base – which makes this an excellent opportunity to personalize a shopping experience.
This is where in-store Wi-Fi plays a big role again. Customers download the retailer’s app or sign into Wi-Fi where they must enter their details. GPS is also used. The client grants access to their location when signing up. As the customer journeys around the shop, they receive targeted ads or messages. All this is a great way of increasing engagement and sales. With this tech it is even possible to track who is spending more money in which places. In business, knowledge is power, and this kind of insight into consumer behavior is invaluable.

Give Workers Higher Access to Tech

Training Staff

Beyond consumers, VR can also be utilized to provide staff with training in real workplace environments. Without leaving the office, both backroom and front line staff can make use of VR to learn how to respond to certain scenarios. Examples are diverse and include dealing with an angry customer, or operating machinery like forklifts and conveyor belts.  It shortens the onboarding process and lets them try out new methods in a safe environment. What’s more, it can better equip them to deal with emergencies like robberies, fires and other dangerous situations. 
DHL Express built a VR training platform to boost efficiency in Unit Load Device (ULD) stacking and safety. 90% of all participants lauded the platform for helping them improve efficiency and work better. Intelligent application of VR for training can extend across retail and many other sectors. Better trained staff are then able to deliver enhanced UX.
As well as being beneficial to let customers have access to Wi-Fi, it’s a great move to let staff have access to as much tech and connectivity as possible. Arming staff with a tablet gives them access to stock in the shop and online. Employees can improve customer service and answer any queries a customer may have more swiftly and efficiently. The best part is that staff can tell with certainty which products are available in-store and online. They can also say if and where other sizes are available, and order products if needed. It’s a bit like using an inventory management system. Here, retailers can keep an eye on stock, supplies and sales. This type of system helps to track stock in real time and predict demand. It can offer a quick inventory assessment and help reduce waste. These inventory results translate to the customer through the staff. Giving a personalized experience results in happier clients who will keep coming back.

Understand & Analyze Data

When people think of vendors, they don’t often think of data. But in a world where big data is the key to economic development, it’s time for retailers to get on board. Having an Internet connection is a great resource for data collection. This is because people may have to enter personal details to connect. Connecting to Wi-Fi means you can analyze people’s demographics. You can also watch their habits and understand how long they are in any store. Giving staff tablets to communicate with customers allows them to ask a closing survey at the end of a sale. Which is a great way to collect more data. Pizza Express are giving tablets to customers to ask them to fill out a survey as they wait for their bill. This provides interaction, entertainment, and, of course, the data you want! Online businesses can collect data when people enter personal details for purchases. This also works when people enter things like an email address to get promotions. Once you have the data, you can analyze it to see what is working and what isn’t. The results are then fed back into the business to make improvements.
For any business with more than one location, centralized network monitoring is vital. It gives staff and owners the same operating system. It helps to put all the network information in one place. Working behind the scenes, businesses can observe and manage from one location. This builds a consistent and resilient network – not to mention increasing online security and safeguarding. It also takes a company to the forefront of tech, and helps build on digital selling methods such as IoT or location-based marketing. Getting to grips with this technology will ensure a firm can move forward as well as guaranteeing custom isn’t lost in these competitive times.

Centralized Network Monitoring

Know Your Apps

This is a simple but effective way of making sure that you are taking advantage of the tech that’s out there. Using apps will help you keep up with buyer expectations. Today, we literally have technology at our fingertips. Slicktext.com suggests that of the 96% of Americans who own a phone, the majority reply to a text in minutes. In other words, people are always on their phones! So if you can’t beat them, join them. There are two ways of using apps to move forward as a retailer. The first is to create or be part of your own. The second is to find out which existing apps can help you as a business. If you are a big firm, it pays to create an app. It can take as little as three months to build a robust one. This way, whether in a physical store or not, customers can browse through items and pay using the app. Or a smaller business may choose to sell items on other, already established apps such as Etsy or eBay.  But where apps really play a big part is at the back end of a business. Downloading something like an order management software app can help a lot. This software tracks orders, analyzes data, and monitors products, while other apps can do something as simple as process orders and print addresses.  These are a few places where retail firms need to embrace tech. As a company, it is vital to acknowledge your tech pain points. Dealing with these weaknesses makes sure that you are staying ahead. It also means that you are moving with the digital age.  Adapting to use tech more means you are keeping up with customer expectations. The better engagement and relationship you have with customers, the happier they are – meaning the higher your returns. And in the end, that’s what running a business is all about.
YOUR #1 SOURCE FOR PRODUCTS & STRATEGIES FOR CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY RETAILING