This holiday season, move the queues super quick so you can sell more.

The holiday season always brings in waves of shoppers that often results in longer checkout and long queues. This will often turn shoppers off and direct them into your competitors’ store where there are shorter queues and more efficient check out systems. 

So, what can you do to move the queues at lightning speed and potentially sell more and gain more customers? 

  • Have a mobile POS (mPOS) system 

A mPOS system will allow your staff to help customers check out faster and for them to assist with smaller purchases so that the customers can be out the door as soon as possible. 

Having a mPOS system would also mean that you can be registering right outside the store and customers are able to enter and purchase quickly. This allows retailers to engage shoppers in the queue awaiting to enter the store and potentially close sales using the mPOS system. This divide and delight strategy will help ease the crowd significantly and customers will not have to wait too long to pay for their items, keeping them happy and allowing them to have a great impression of your store. 

  • Introduce BOPIS

BOPIS, buy online and pick up in-store. This strategy allows customers to buy and purchase online and hop over to your store to grab the item. They may even be queueing in another store and purchasing your item so that they can grab and go afterwards. 

By doing this, customers will be able to have the instant gratification of getting the item instantly without having to queue for it. 

  • Offer endless aisle 

During the holiday season, it is common to see empty shelves and frustrated shoppers. Staff are unable to restock the shelves in time and that leaves the shoppers frustrated because they made a wasted trip down. 

Hence, having an endless aisle option, allows for the customers in store to view the entire inventory across all your stores and warehouses and pick out the item either to be shipped to their homes or reserve it for pick up another time. This will reduce the number of shoppers queuing up just to ask about the availability of the item and when will the next batch of stocks arrive, significantly reducing the queues in stores.

  • Have an e-commerce presence

All the previous options are all related to the physical store front. What if you have a fully digital option where shoppers are able to shop online and have the goods delivered right to their doorstep? 

In this way, you reduce the number of customers in store and may even potentially have more sales online because the customer is not limited by the number of items they can carry!

How to use loyalty marketing NOW to boost holiday season profits

Many stores are looking at growing their customer base to generate more revenue. More customers equals more revenue, right?

Yes, in some sense that is the truth. However, if you are not retaining your customers and the outflow of customers is equal to, if not larger than the incoming new customers, not only will you not grow your revenue, you might be even losing revenue!

So, what should you do to retain your customer base? Loyalty is the key, here are some ways you can work on your loyalty programmes in the festive season. 

  • Reward all paying customers

You know how some stores require a customer to sign up for a membership or download an app just to redeem rewards? Or there are some that only accept credit cards to issue points. 

It is important that stores pay attention to all customers and try to capture their value as much as possible. 

During this festive season, instead of letting customers go through a lengthy sign up form and potentially lose their interest in signing up for any loyalty programmes, issue a Mobile POS to register them instantly and gain rewards for their purchases, this way the customers might be incentivised to purchase more gifts from your store just to redeem that reward! 

  • Understand how customers want to be rewarded

Some stores offer cash rebates, some offer a little gift or just a priority to an exclusive item. Rewards for loyalty programmes can come in many shapes and forms. However, a little research needs to go into how customers would like to be rewarded for their continued purchases from your store. 

Especially during the festive season, many customers may be looking for cash rebates for their gift purchases. As they are buying in large quantities for gift exchanges for family, colleagues and friends, they might be looking to save so that they can stretch their dollar to buy more gifts. Think about that!

  • Develop personalised loyalty programs

Nothing beats having a personalised loyalty program that shows the customers that they are being valued and taken care of. 

Knowing your customers’ buying behaviour will inadvertently allow you to know what sort of rewards and programmes they are looking for. No one programme will be suitable to all customers. So dig out the data and start to tailor the loyalty system to individuals so that they will be more likely to think of your store when they want to make their next purchase. 

Especially now when they are shopping for themselves or for others, it is a great time to see their buying behaviours and figure out the customer buying journey.

3 ways to help shoppers buy more and buy fast

Shoppers like to browse and take their time shopping, that’s probably during normal days. During the festive seasons, we all know that shoppers just want to get their festive shopping done as soon as possible. Stores are also in a rush to clear as many shoppers as possible so that they can clear their stock and hit the KPIs for the year. 

So how then do we go about speeding up the process? 

Here are three ways to do it:

  • Send gift ideas and personalized offers

Make use of your data collected throughout the year and send your existing customers a curated list of gift ideas and offers.

Not only does this show that your brand cares for its customers, it also reduces the time they need to think about what to shop and spend more time browsing and buying from your shop.

The personalised offer will pique the interest of the customer and the discounts essentially encourage them to buy more!

  • Give them all the options with endless aisle 

Limited shelf space? No problem. With technology nowadays, it is easy to list your entire inventory across stores and at warehouses online. Even with customers that are unfamiliar with your store, you are able to showcase all there is to them in a single screen! 

Staff will be able to approach shoppers and offer them suggestions that are not on the shelves and allow the customers to view the entire inventory and choose from there. Then if the inventory is not in store, the sales associates can order the products for home delivery from the store on the same screen. 

With endless aisle, stores are no longer limited by the shelf space and will be able to offer more to their customers. Shoppers will feel that they are getting more than they expected and this will increase shoppers’ satisfaction. 

  • Help them get out faster with mobile POS (mPOS)

Lastly, all shoppers want, after browsing and getting the stuff they need, is to pay and leave, fast. To enhance the shoppers experience, mPOS systems can be set up for them to do self-checkouts or for shop assistants to process those that have a few items so that shoppers who only have a handful of items can grab and go. 

mPOS also opens up the opportunity for customers to Buy Online and Pickup In Store (BOPIS). This will facilitate the shopping experience more effectively and efficiently, leaving both the shoppers and the store assistants to have a more pleasant festive shopping experience.

3 ways to get your store ready for the holiday season

In this holiday season, even with the pandemic and increased online purchases, there will undoubtedly be increased footfall into stores in preparation for the gift giving season.

Given the covid restrictions, many stores have a limit as to how many customers can be in store at a given time. Hence, there is a need for brands to be ready to tackle frustrations and long lines and potential loss of sales during a supposed peak period.

A recent case where a leading footwear store had its flagship store closed due to the breaching of COVID restrictions during a product launch which drew huge crowds outside the store despite the advisories on crowd management. Nobody wanted this to happen, but it did!

There are a few ways that stores can tackle the basics, and potentially increase customer experience and sales.

  • Get staff trained and ready

In stores, other than the products, staff is important in giving the shopper a pleasant shopping experience. With increased crowds, staff needs to be trained to not only be quick in their service and checkout, but there is a need for them to be good in their product knowledge so that they are able to assist customers promptly. The knowledge will help the store to be more efficient in tending to customers’ queries and improve their shopping experience. This in turn helps to manage the crowd and allows the store to serve more customers in a shorter amount of time, decreasing the wait time for customers waiting to enter the store.

Keeping COVID in mind, the staff needs to be trained to handle social distancing and product handling as per policies set up. Having masks and hand sanitizers handy goes a long way.

  • Think through Point of Sale (POS) workflow and system

The last thing you want is for the checkout to be slow and frustrate the customer enough to leave the queue and not buy anything. Having a faster POS workflow not only reduces wait time but it also allows employees to concentrate on engaging the shopper and potentially sell more through the checkout process.

With an efficient and easy to use POS system, instead of fumbling around with unnecessary checkout processes, employees will  be able to offer recommendations and convince shoppers to purchase other items to complement the customers’ original purchases.

  • Invest in a mobile POS (mPOS) system

Nothing beats being able to purchase items even without even going to the checkout counter and queuing up. Since there will be a line out the door, why not make use of the opportunity to sell items to the people in the queue? Having an mPOS system opens up a lot of opportunities, inventory can be checked on the go, items can be purchased outside the store and it just makes the shopping experience so much better.

Shoppers who just want to grab a small item are able to just purchase it from dedicated counters that have the mPOS system in place. Meaning, shoppers who just want to buy a single item would not have to wait in line and can be in and out of the store faster. This allows the retailer to clear customers faster and maintain a healthy queue and keep shoppers happy.

4 Reasons To Partner With ETP

 REASONS TO PARTNER WITH ETP

  • Omni-channel expertise to widen your resources and capabilities to reach customers

Partnering with Asia’s leading  omni-channel technology provider brings to the table retail solutions and software backed by  domain expertise, as well as experience in strategy, consulting and implementation to improve the bottomline of  your SME and large-sized enterprise-class retailers. So you can widen your range of services and add to your basket of offerings.

  • Your partner should have strengths that complement yours.

We look forward to growing with our channel partners in the business environment. Our proven best practices gained from years of experience has leading retailers in the region put their trust in us.

  • Steady and firm partnership. 

All brands, companies or customers are all now looking to have a nucleus or point of origin to enhance their business processes and combat  their challenges. Our affiliation allows us to meet all ends from a retailer or a customer’s perspective. With the domain expertise that each solutions provider has, joining hands to work closely for better results is the only way forward that the customers will expect from us. 

  • Scalability & Growth Focus . Common Goal.

Partners help us bring  stability to our businesses and fill gaps that might exist in terms of knowledge, implementation and expertise.  Two thinking brains and expertize coming together will land up creating an ecosystem beneficial for all engaged parties: ETP, channel partner and our customers.

 

How to Avoid Poor Inventory Management

 

Nearly 81% of consumers experienced an “out-of-stock” situation in the past 12 months, resulting in lost sales for retailers and lots of disappointment for in-store shoppers. Globally, retailers recorded losses of a whopping $1.75 trillion due to mismanaged inventory

 

We don’t want to be too hyperbolic here, but poor inventory management could cost you your business.

That’s why it’s important to recognize that this kind of fundamental problem would negatively affect your bottom line and business growth long-term.

 

But how do you know if you’re managing your inventory properly?

 

Poor Inventory Management Symptoms

Depending on your industry, there are many signs your inventory management is bad and getting worse.

Here are the most obvious symptoms of poor inventory management:

A high cost of inventory

Consistent stockouts

A low rate of inventory turnover

A high amount of obsolete inventory

A high amount of working capital

A high cost of storage

Spreadsheet data-entry errors

Shipping the wrong items to customers

Lost customers

Imbalanced lead times

Of course, there are usually many factors that help produce these negative symptoms, but all of them have a root connection to the way you manage your inventory.

 

What causes poor inventory management?

 

Causes of Poor Inventory Management

Spreadsheets and manual inventory tracking

Manual inventory management practices such as using Excel is usually the first tool small-to-medium sized businesses use to manage their inventory. While spreadsheets and the likes work fine in the beginning when you’re a small operation, they can quickly lead to crippling issues.

 

In the same way, manual inventory tracking and stocktaking can be suitable for small businesses but again become time-consuming and erroneous as your company grows. Not only does this impact your business’s ability to foster growth, but data errors can also have snowballing effects.

 

For example, there may be a wrong quantity recorded in an SKU. As a result you order 1000 units instead of 100. If this 1000 does not sell, this becomes wasted capital and can have very costly implications for the business.

 

Large inventory volumes

Large volumes of inventory can lead to management nightmares as they can cut into your profits. Most businesses have 20 to 40% of their working capital tied up in inventory stock. Inventory reduction is difficult to do, but it is essential if you want to go from poor inventory management to great inventory control and management. Here’s how you can reduce your stock.

 

Inadequate forecasting

If you are not using accurate data to identify sales trends, best-selling items, customer behavior and more, you’ll either order too much and experience the problems of excess inventory stock, or order too little and experience stockouts and lost customers. With accurate reports, you can better forecast your customer’s future behavior and order accordingly to meet customer demand.

 

Cryptocurrency Point-of-Sales. Is it worth the time?

 

To coin a craze: Cryptocurrencies are a 2017 thing.  Sure, people aren’t talking about them as much anymore but does that mean that the bubble has burst? Or are these companies finally finding value in the real world? The answer is yes, a lot of these companies have started real-life implementation with proof of stake helping to add indispensable value. A new trend in 2019 has been the rise of Cryptocurrency point-of-sales systems. Today we will read about what these new systems are and how big a part they could play in the future of retail.

 

What is a cryptocurrency and how can it make the world better?

Cryptocurrency is digital cash for the digital age. It’s similar to regular money but it’s digital-only, so there are no bills or coins to carry around. Cryptocurrencies have the potential to make the world better by letting any two people in the world exchange money directly, without involving a financial institution or government. This will mean more equality of opportunity for those without access to traditional financial services, like bank accounts and credit cards. In addition, the blockchain technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible is being used in novel new ways to improve the world. Examples include blockchains that help verify, identity, manage healthcare records, validate ownership, and even accelerate research on diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and tuberculosis.

 

Point-of-Sales in Cryptocurrency 

Firstly it’s important to establish the use case for these point-of-sales systems. If vendors are not willing to accept crypto as a mode of payment then there is simply no scope for these systems. Some major retailers in developed nations have started to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Starbucks and a Spanish coffee chain, Nostrum, announced that it would allow its coffee-drinking customers, to pay for their coffee in cryptocurrency (in select countries). The number of retailers who are open to this change will only grow in the next few years. Subway, one of the biggest players in the fast-food industry have started accepting bitcoin in some countries.  

 

Why adopt if it isn’t mainstream?

The cryptocurrency market is estimated to become a 1 trillion dollar market by 2025. Even if half that estimate is reached then we are about to see a lot of growth in this space. While companies like  PundiX and DoshEX have started rolling out Crypto card machines the space is still young and competition isn’t fierce. The advantage of getting in early and becoming an industry leader is invaluable. 

 

Is the Asia-Pacific Retail market ready for adoption? 

The volatility of the cryptocurrency market reduces its use as a medium of exchange. Having said that, countries like China have already started coming out with their own stable cryptocurrency which is pegged to the dollar. The Singapore Government has actually had trials with a few different blockchain technologies with the aim of digitizing the economy as a whole. 

While other countries like India, who had initially banned crypto entirely have now loosened their stance on the subject with it being officially legalized again in late 2019. 

Who are the ones already doing this? 

The adoption of cryptocurrency is currently widespread in Venezuela where the value of their own national currency has been on a downward spiral. The people of Venezuela have resorted to this ‘digital currency’ or cryptocurrency since it’s the easiest store of value of their money. Convenience store owners, petrol pump owners and a lot of other retailers have also now started accepting bitcoin and other currencies.

 

The Importance of Being a Forward Thinker in Retail

You’ve undoubtedly heard that it’s a good thing to think outside the box. But what exactly does that mean, and how can it save your business the test of time?

In layman’s terms, thinking outside the box simply means to be innovative. Managing to think differently to your counterparts will ensure that you and your business stay ahead of the curve. As a

retailer, here’s why you need to think outside the box and how it can help you stay ahead of your competition

Changing Technologies

Technology has already transformed the retail industry beyond recognition – now, almost every customer is an online customer, from your teenage child to your aging parents. The end-to-end customer journey now includes online research and product comparison, and complaining about a product or service is as easy and public as sending a tweet or Facebook comment, prompting immediate action before reputational damage occurs. Where once businesses compete on price and availability, they now compete for search engine rankings and five-star customer reviews.

 

Increased Customer Expectation

The latest figures from Ovum’s global research into omni-channel customer engagement show businesses appear to be going backward in meeting customer expectations, despite efforts to move forward.

What is required is a massive cultural shift to center the organization on the customer and to deliver relevance throughout every customer journey. That requires more than the 360-degree transactional view of the customer; it demands contextual intelligence to really understand what customers are trying to achieve and the ability to support them every step of the way.

 

Competition

The threat from online competitors is leading more traditional retailers to consider embracing even seemingly outlandish technologies. This has now become a compulsion rather than a decision. If retailers don’t change with the times then they will be left behind and become outdated. Tradition offline retailers like mom and pop stores who haven’t thus far made the transition online must now explore the option.  Competition in the enterprise-class retail software field is growing constantly and if you refuse to adapt, you will be left behind.

 

Lack of Brand Loyalty

In today’s day and age, a customer is only as loyal to a brand as his last experience. Globalization has reduced the barriers of entry to most industries and retailers are now competing on an international stage.

Retail Intelligence, what is it?

 

 

 

 

The retail industry looks primed to have a decade full of innovation and creativity while striving to create a seamless shopping experience. Increased footfall and brand recall will remain the goal but the methods used to achieve this are set to change over the next decade. Retail Intelligence, like the Internet of Things, is a technology that will have a huge say in where the retail world is headed with smart shelves, digital signage, video cameras and beacons providing access to huge amounts of new data on customer activity.

Retail Intelligence is the set of tools and applications focused on the creation and management of knowledge through the recollection, processing, interaction, and analysis of information generated in all operations performed by any retailer.

Benefits of retail intelligence

With the help of the latest technologies, we can gain a better understanding of shoppers’ buying habits like where they are going, what they are purchasing, their purchase history etc. Retail Intelligence provides opportunities for sophisticated insights and immersive customer engagement. Using retail intelligence, retailers can be provided with answers for the below questions:

  • Is our sales being lost due to poor staff-to-customer ratios?
  • What percentage of visitors are leaving stores and shopping centers without purchase?
  • How many visitors are first-timers, and how many are repeat/loyal customers?

The two biggest technologies in an era witnessing a transformation in the domain of retail intelligence so that retailers can achieve the desired results and boost their business every year are: 

  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2. Deep learning 

Artificial Intelligence in retail

A powerful new digital technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI learns from data and enables complex processes to be automated independent of human intervention making them faster, more efficient and less prone to errors. With an ability to identify patterns and detect anomalies in digital information studying new insights and possibilities, AI is transforming many industries in the business world by automating manual tasks. 

Deep Learning in retail

Retailers are making use of deep learning to analyze data from both, in-store and digital, through sensor and video analysis. In this way, they are now enabled to deliver a more enhanced and customized customer experience as well as integrating brick and mortar activities into the digital world. Consumer expectations are transforming the retail landscape but as your consumer lives more of their lives in the online world, how can you make sure your brand stands out?

Now when consumers are looking for that perfect item you can use technologies like AI and deep learning to speak directly to them pushing personalized offers based on their preferences to get them in the store. Mobile and GPS enabled environments to create an engaging experience that actually helps shoppers find what they’re looking for and gives them a reason to purchase. Today’s consumers expect more from a physical environment and captivating technologies like immersive mirrors can go a long way with such tech-savvy and technologically intelligent consumers.

Pop-up Stores & it’s Benefits

 

Pop-up stores have been around for the best part of a decade now. Initially, they were used by restaurants at festivals but the industry has come a long way since then and nowadays all kinds of business merchants use the pop-up store model to gain brand awareness 

 

What is a Pop-Up Store?

A Pop-Up store, also known as flash retailing, is a temporary use of a physical space by a retailer to communicate about their brand promise to potential customers. Usually, this is done by offering customers a taste of the full retail experience that the store normally offers. 

 

How does it Work?

The pop-up store is a flexible model and has scope for experimentation. Merchants can tie-up with large retailers and set up a pop-up store offering a sample of their product at a discounted price or maybe even free. Usually, merchants do this by renting a vacant storefront for just a short period of time. 

They may choose to have a booth at a craft fair, farmers market or another event. It is also common to rent a vacant storefront for just a short period of time. 

The net spends on brand activation for pop-up stores in the U.S. was worth nearly $600 million in 2016, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), topping $740 million by 2020. 

What’s more, Pop-up stores offer an opportunity for retailers to connect with an audience that may reside in a different location to the main business. These retailers rely on brand recall and need to make a significant impression on the customers that they interact with.

 

The two biggest benefits of starting a pop-up store are: 

  • Helps in spreading Brand Awareness
  • Helps in Market Testing 

 

Brand Awareness

Digitally native brands who don’t otherwise have a brick and mortar store may use flash retailing to drive sales and increase brand awareness. Retailers use social media to create a buzz around a particular pop-up store so that they can maximize traction and visibility. Influencer marketing plays a big part in pulling the right audience. Retailers reach out to social media influencers who in turn do a brand shout out. Followers base their buying decisions on these influencers. Brands are aware that if they can make their customers experience a positive one,  they retain the customer through their online presence. 

 

Test the Market

Pop-up shops help retailers to enrich and improve your brand. An example of this would be pricing and merchandising testing. This is integral to the longevity of the business as owners want to know how customers are responding to price points. There is no better way to do this than to hear it directly from your customers.

 

Conclusion

Pop-up stores have become a lethal weapon in the marketing armory for retailers and merchants alike and if a positive approach is taken to experiment with it retailers can significantly increase their footfall. Space is becoming more and more expensive, pop-up stores provide a healthy alternative to long leases. While the concern remains that having one location as a permanent address for business enables customer loyalty, people have realized that this one location can be an online presence and not necessarily a physical store.