Uncertainty. Changing behaviours. New customer dynamics.
There’s no doubt that retail has changed beyond recognition over the past decade and faster than anticipated most recently. But as Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”
There are clear signposts for the right direction in retail. Customers will return to the high street but it’s clear that pivoting to an omnichannel solution will bring advantages and improved health to retail growth.
So how do you embrace this change? What is omni-channel and how can you implement it? What are the key technological factors affecting the retail industry? These three clear strategies outline the route for successful change.
1. Combine the Digital Age with Traditional High Street Presence
Large and small retailers alike recognise the value of an online and traditional storefront. Ecommerce, the ability to sell online, is a pre-requisite for most new business and often the start point. Amazon, arguably the best-known online retailer, is proof: what started as pure ecommerce has now evolved to physical retail stores.
Consumers have found a world of retail beyond their local high street. The pandemic created many new online shoppers, who confidently add to virtual baskets and pay with e-wallets. There is abundant choice online with the added benefit of complete safety and endless convenience.
This consumer choice creates fresh challenges for the retailer, hand in hand with new opportunity:
- Integrating a digital online channel with stores to create a true multi-channel experience
- Supply chain complexity caused by increased order volumes
- Stock availability and accurate inventory across store, warehouse and online
- Distribution and dispatch using third party logistics or click and collect
- Enabling and processing returns and refunds
- New audiences beyond a physical store location
- Increased and unlimited volume of customers
- Wider breadth for promoting niche products
- Direct to consumer selling avoiding the middleman
A combined digital and physical presence can take full advantage of local and online, delivering a seamless customer experience. Omnichannel retail technology often begins with an EPOS system (Electronic Point of Sale) which seamlessly connects online payments, till systems and the business management system.
2. Satisfy Distribution and Delivery Obstacles with a Technology Solution
Distribution models are evolving, fuelled by retail software solutions that enable new ways for a business and customer to engage. Direct to consumer selling became a thing during the pandemic.
Flour millers for example: with cafes and bakeries closed, and the trend for home baked sourdough, artisan millers delivered direct to consumers, pivoting to smaller bag sizes, increased volume of customers, lower order values and more. Post pandemic some consumers will continue this purchase cycle, a permanent shift from supermarket to direct purchasing from the business. Technology and software that can adapt and scale with a changing business model is key.
Delivery to the consumer needs to be seamless. Using technology such as Fast Despatch ensures the right product is delivered to the consumer at speed. With evolving customer expectations, investing time in a robust order processing and fulfilment approach pays dividends.
Things to consider are automated processes that reduce manual input, integrated data from order to invoice and accuracy to minimise cost from customer service enquiries and error fixing. Impeccable order processing and fulfilment is an easy fix with a modern software solution.
3. Create a Future-Proof Retail Solution
A fit-for-purpose business software system is the solution for omni-channel retail, selling to business or consumer. Nirvana is a single solution which connects all areas of the operation, from online orders and finance to purchasing and distribution. The optimal solution is one which scales and adapts with your business.
A cloud ERP or business management system such as NetSuite or Sage operates at the heart of a retail business. Additional add-ons can smooth the path for critical processes, such as third-party courier software or automated ecommerce order processing. A fully integrated solution enables sales, operations, supply chain, warehousing and finance to communicate in real-time, creating smoother workflows and streamlined business processes
Proven, Industry Leading Retail ERP Software Development
Kinspeed is known for delivering industry leading excellence in integrated retail solutions. Companies such as Underwood Foods, boohoo, and Pretty Little Thing rely on a Sage or NetSuite ERP software solution to manage their business.
To benefit from their experience, contact Kinspeed for a no-obligation chat.