On the face of it, retail is a simple business. It’s about having the right goods at the right time, in the right place and at the right price for customers to buy.
Yet in practice, retail is anything but simple. And with the changes to stores, technology and customer buying habits, it’s become even less so.
IN THE OLD DAYS…
Around 25 years ago, retailers generally traded through one channel. Either stores or through a catalogue. Some retailers may have done both, yet the channels themselves and the business processes that supported them were managed in silos.
Then came the internet. This put newly-empowered customers in the driving seat. Customers were more informed. They had access to product information, ratings, reviews and prices. This changed the dynamic in the customer’s favour.
Customers wanted to buy online and collect or return in store. If something was out of stock in store, they wanted to order it for delivery at home, at their workplace or to a locker. New buying behaviours were born, along with a new vocabulary.
There was ‘omni-channel’, the blurring of online and offline channels. Also ‘showrooming’, where customers researched purchases in-store and then bought online. And the opposite, ‘webrooming’, where customers researched online and then bought in store.
IN THE OMNI-CHANNEL ERA…
To support the omni-channel demands of their customers, retailers are expecting more from their vendors. They are expecting next-generation point of sale and joined-up back-end systems.
I would argue that the front-end and back-end all comes together in the mobile point of sale (mPOS). These mobile devices act as an electronic till paired with a card payment device. As they are internet-enabled, they can also act as a webshop, making your entire inventory accessible in store.
Depending on what you sell, to whom and how, mPOS can bring ‘endless aisles’ in store with curated selling via a tablet or kiosk. There’s no need to lose sales if the item is not in stock. Your staff can bring the full range of goods from your website in-store by helping customers place online orders for delivery later. Cross-selling and up-selling to customers is also much easier via mPOS.
TO FIND OUT MORE
For more information about omni-channel or for a free consultation on your particular needs, contact us.