What makes luxury retail a challenging business?

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Luxury products have always been one of the most admired and sought after products. So much so, that consumers of such products take pride in their possessions and are often considered to be of a higher class. They and their products are the ‘talk of the town’ most of the times in social gatherings and people like to be associated with such class conscious, brand loving and luxury seeking consumers. Luxury products therefore had few options and demanded a high cost of purchase deliberately tailored to a select set of consumers.

But now times have changed thanks to rapidly changing consumer mindsets and the very idea of “luxury” is evolving. The old-fashioned ideas that defined luxury as aspiration, high status, exclusive, wealthy, don’t really paint the exact picture of what customers perceive about luxury products. One of the drastic changes over the recent years is that the new age luxury isn’t for showoff.  Similarly other values that luxury brands exclusively attributed to, such as better quality and style, precise workmanship and great designs, are not exclusive any more to luxury.

Consumers’ tastes are evolving. There is an indisputable appeal for new products and services along with more choice of options yet having the flavor of uniqueness and exclusivity. This has given rise a various breeds of brands such as specialised ones and those that are highly customised to customer demands, thus increasing competition.

Further, along with changing tastes, customer shopping patterns and buying behaviour have undergone a tremendous transformation. Traditionally, luxury shoppers heavily relied on physical retail to fulfil their desire for luxury goods. But now, multiple channels have come into the game and customers willingly switch between channels to get what they want. Seamless demand fulfilment across channels necessitates the reduction of various issues such as decrease in quality or other losses that are caused during the course of the supply chain. While older shoppers are still playing a significant role in the luxury market spends, millennial’s and Gen Zs are predicted to account for the larger growth in the coming years. Moreover, their new spending habits which are faster, more frequent, brand-conscious and trend-driven while being highly influenced by digital platforms.

All these are the modern day challenges that luxury retail businesses, especially the ones still depending heavily on the heritage and traditional processes are facing and there is one way out. They need to transform their retail businesses to omni-channel and employ the right omni-channel retail software to exceed their customer expectations and fulfil their business goals.

Top 5 Questions To Ask Before Investing In Retail POS Technology

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As technology continues to thrive around the world, businesses need to reevaluate their offerings and operations. In retail, the POS is where the ‘business promise’ is realized by the customer. Today, it represents much more than a system to process purchases and can be used as a powerful tool to fulfill both customer and business expectations. So here are the key checks to be made before ringing in a new retail POS system:

Does it provide true integration with enterprise data?
Julia, a customer, approaches the POS terminal to complete her purchase. Paul, the cashier, feeds in Julia’s name or swipes her membership card to access her buying history. The system interface now displays her purchase patterns and past sale analysis. Paul makes recommendations basis the most frequent bought items, preferred modes of payment, and current offerings on her loyalty credits and identifies promotions to cross/up-sell. If a product is not available in-store, he views, ships and tracks products directly from other stores or the warehouse to Julia’s desired location. Through an integrated POS system, Paul accesses real-time enterprise CRM and inventory data, store sales reports, product performance and business analysis. It empowers him to fulfill customer expectations and thus drive demand optimally.

What about omni-channel functions?
Consumer expectations are not just getting the right product at the right price at the right place at the right time, but also the right interaction and the right service everywhere! An omni-channel point-of-sale system streamlines business operations across physical and digital retail platforms. Customers value instant connect with the brand and staying informed, updated and engaged seamlessly across channels. So, while shopping in-store or on a smart device, they are greeted with personalized communication on products, prices and promotions. Retailers also manage multiple touch-points through a centralized supply chain and intuitive system interface. The capability to delight customers across multiple channels lends to a bigger market share and favorable social quotient. The sustained engagement and accessibility also fosters loyalty and distinction from the competition.

So is it completely mobile?
Often times, even the best shopping experiences are ruined by long queues at the checkout counters. In the age of instant gratification, the sight of a long waiting line would deter walk-ins and even lead to basket abandonment. Installing more POS terminals is an impractical solution in terms of added expense, floor space utilization and viability during low rush hours. mPOS technology extends the functions and capabilities of the POS system on smart devices, as an application. It helps in-store staff to approach the customers, consult them basis their CRM profile and conclude the purchase from anywhere in the store. The invoices are electronically transmitted with enough time left to receive valuable feedback from customers. Happy customers often spread the love to other prospects and drive demand. Saving in-store floor space and using cost-effective smart devices optimizes operational costs further.

But will it support business growth?
Retail is growing, markets are expanding and opportunities are abundant. Considering the time it takes to set-up or upgrade enterprise technology software, it is essential to ensure the POS system is future-ready. It needs to be easily scalable and secure with the flexibility to adapt to different markets and industry dynamism. The ROI increases steadily with low administration costs and virtual system updates across the enterprise. The POS system processes are seamlessly automated across channels, providing centralized control. This helps deliver uniform brand experience, uncompromised customer service with complete operational visibility.

Vendor or partner?
Implementing technology is a long-term commitment which requires equal collaboration between the solution partner and the retail organization. While a software vendor might support to the point of implementation, a solution partner will share business goals towards innovation, growth and profitability. It is vital to choose a solution partner who has created a solid foundation in the industry with the experience of working with retailers of similar size and scope of operation as you. Your investments are better protected with a company which has reached the scale to support you globally but keen on continual customer satisfaction to accommodate your unique requirements. The solution partner should be able to dedicate expert teams with in-depth best practices knowledge. This helps structure the implementation, training, consecutive project phases and support in line with the business projections.