The modern day point-of-sale (POS) has evolved to become more than just a transaction processing tool. Technology has advanced since the original cash till, and today, the POS has business benefiting features that retailers can really use across processes. Let’s focus on one of the most important benefits of the POS which provides value in intelligence and decision making – data collection.
While most retailers over the last few years have started collecting data at the POS, it’s those who are actually processing this data in the right way and drawing insights to enhance their businesses are getting ahead in the retail arena. Below are 3 important aspects of POS data and how it can be used.
Inventory and stock optimization:
When the POS is used to record data about inventory, it enables retailers to stay on top of stock levels thus making it easier to track items — from ordering through the point of sale (and even returns). This further aids in better inventory forecasting, purchasing, and this is also useful in retail marketing decisions. Some of modern retail POS software provide some important features related to inventory such as conducting inventory counts, managing returns, automating re-order points, checking stock levels at stores, among others. Analyzing the inventory data collected at the POS can enable retailers to have the right product at the right time.
Enhancing customer experience:
The POS software can be used to collect customer information while registering customers, look-up already registered customers, capture their feedback, track the frequency of their visit to the store, and also monitor their ticket size, the kind and quantity of products they generally purchase. All this data can be processed to draw powerful insights to analyze shopper behavior and their buying patterns thus allowing retailers to personalize customer experience along with having the right inventory at the store. Further, the information can also be fed-back to the store-staff at the POS to enable cross/up selling. Also, having the inventory data will allow the store associates to proactively let shoppers know about the availability of certain products. These efforts can enhance the overall customer experience.
Improving staff performance:
The POS software can be used to collect data related to sales staff. Some of the valuable metrics in addition to total sales could be basket size in-terms of price and quantity, walk-ins converted to registered customers, customers issue resolutions, and so on. The data can then be processed to learn about employee performance and understand the areas where improvements are required in terms of training and also recognizing the achievements of the store employees. In addition to this, factoring in the staff to sales ratio is an essential parameter to decide about the staffing needs for the store.
For starters, more than half (52%) of consumers are likely to switch brands if they don’t receive personalized their communications. Moreover, fifty-eight percent of consumers say a personalized experience is essential when purchasing from a particular company. Those are numbers retailers can’t and must not ignore!
If retail brands are vying to thrive and prosper in this forthcoming New Year, ‘customer focus’ is crucial. As a majority of brands will go customer-centric, one of the aspects that will stand-out as the differentiating factor will be the level of personalisation that they provide. Here are few important factors that will help retailer to take their retail personalisation to the next level.
Before diving right into personalisation, the first step is to understand the customer and then plan as to how to go about the personalizing his/her experience. For that it is important to collect data and as far as possible, the right data. And the easiest way to do that is through loyalty programs and for which brands can encourage customers to register at the point-of-sale (POS) with an in-built CRM system. The end goal of personalisation in retail is to create high-value customers who will stick to the brand and carry out repeat purchases.
While an omni-channel experience isn’t a necessarily a personalized experience, it is a mandatory building block on the path towards creating a personalized customer experience. After all, a personalized experience cannot be offered if customers are treated differently if they use different channels for interacting with the brand. The very essence of omni-channel is creating a seamless and consistent experience for your customers across different devices both online and offline. They key to omni-channel is providing a consistent and personalized experience to every customer regardless of where they’re interact with the retail business.
Retail brands need to harness the power of technology, necessarily, as an enabler for optimizing their operations and processes to achieve a superior customer experience. It is with the help of technology that retail businesses can be equipped to capture and assimilate data for basing their personalisation strategy. Also, it is through technology that retailers will be able to implement omni-channel into their business. The right omni-channel retail solutions which encompass multiple modules including a retail POS software with an integrated CRM solution, as well as an omni-channel analytics solution, and many more can help retailers integrate, consolidate their business data and processes and implement the necessary strategies to offer a personalized customer experience across all channels.
Personalisation needs to go beyond than just marketing and sales – it has to truly be at the core of the business, influencing and driving every aspect of it. With the right combination of plans, processes and technology, retail brands must be ready to push their boundaries and innovate and grab every opportunity that comes their way to enable their businesses to take retail personalisation experience to the next level.
The impressive growth of pop-up retail can be seen in the fact that it was a zero dollar industry in 2003 but flourished into an 8 billion dollar industry in 2013. Pop-up continues to drive innovation and offer several strategic opportunities thus adding a new dimension to retail.
Some of the strategic opportunities presented by pop-up retail:
1. Retailers can target a niche audience.
2. Chance to experiment with an economic alternative to full-scale retail set-up.
3. Allow retailers to test new products, concepts, and markets.
4. Derive valuable consumer insights economically and with minimum inventory.
5. Retailers can create buzz and imprint their products on the customers’ minds.
6. Tap into “massclusivity” and stimulate consumer curiosity with elements of surprise and urgency.
7. Clear old inventory and stock.
8. Aggressively promote merchandise around a finite duration of time such as season, festival or holiday.
9. Create a learning center for customer
Retailers have been quick to explore the popup retailing concept:
– In 2003, Target pioneered the pop-up model with a 1,500 sq.ft. store in New York City that for showcasing designer Isaac Mizrahi’s women’s clothing over five weeks.
– Nike created a Runner’s Lounge in Vancouver with free massages, snacks, drinks, and the opportunity to test their new line of shoes designed exclusively for running.
– Collaborating with global brands – Adidas, Levi’s and Sony Ericsson, MTV promoted limited edition apparel and high-tech electronics by setting up pop-up stores in German cities for a week at a time.
– Exploring the idea of a traveling pop-up store, Gap fashioned a school bus with 60’s themed apparel and accessories.
– E-commerce retailer, Bluefly.com opened a brick-and-mortar store in New York to unload slow-moving stock in a temporary boutique.
To set-up a successfully running pop-up store or site, retailers need to employ the right pop-up technology. Web-based point-of-sale (POS) and mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) integrated with customer data and inventory management tools using the right retail software will enable the pop-up store staff or self-serve kiosks to answer customer queries and access real-time information about product availability and provide superior customer experience. Retailers must ensure strong security measures at the pop-up locations for protecting transaction data going across the network while providing connectivity.