Digital technology is no longer the preserve of a few pioneering retailers but rather it is something every business needs to invest in.
Without the right digital technology, it is hard for any retailer to overcome the current challenges faced by the sector. Unfortunately, it’s easy to be wowed by impressive technology, which isn’t necessarily right for your business and could result in a costly mistake.
Before you invest in technology for your business, think about what will help improve your most fundamental operations, like handling payments. This is one area that is sometimes overlooked but you shouldn’t underestimate the benefits technology like retail electronic point of sale (epos) software can give your business.
Offering exceptional customer experience
Retail has moved on from simply selling goods and has evolved into a process that puts great emphasis on the experience customers have when interacting with your business. This takes into account elements like the convenience and value you offer at every step of the customer journey.
A great customer experience can set you apart from your competitors, especially if you operate in a market already saturated with choice. Retail epos software can help improve the customer experience you offer in a number of ways.
Many businesses are now multi-channel, which means customers are likely to interact with retailers in several ways. Even a single purchase may involve them using both online and offline channels. According to a KPMG study, 35 per cent of online purchases were later returned in store.
This means all your channels need to be seamlessly integrated, so you can consistently deliver a great experience. An integrated Epos system will make it easier to access information from other parts of the business, so you can deal with customer queries more easily.
For example, you will have real-time access to stock information across several channels, so if a customer can’t buy what they need in-store you can tell them where they can get it instead. Several retailers now go a step further by offering to order items that are unavailable in-store and getting them delivered, free of charge, directly to the customer’s home.
Customers are also increasingly expecting their experiences to be personalised. This means you have to understand them on an individual level, rather seeing them as an anonymised mass. Epos systems can give you access to data you can use to get to know your customers better. For example, you can use information on past purchases to give them personalised offers on items they are likely to buy.
Google and Econsultancy recently carried out a study where they asked leading marketers how they are using data to put the customer first. They found that 89 per cent of successful businesses acknowledge it is critical to their growth that they anticipate customer needs and provide assistive experiences along the customer journey
Offering a great customer experience will help improve customer loyalty and therefore boost your sales too.
Insights to improve how you run your business
An integrated epos system can also give you access to valuable data you can analyse to draw insights on how to improve your business.
For instance, it’ll make it easier to accurately identify your bestselling products and which ones are not doing as well, so you can be more strategic when you replenish your stock.
You’ll also be able to identify your peak periods more easily, so you can plan for them in future.
By integrating with your accounting software, your financial information will also be more accurate and you’ll be able to keep an eye on your profit margins in real time.
Integrating with your CRM software can help you reward your most loyal customers and even pre-empt their needs. You’ll also be able to quickly access customer information like their billing address, so you don’t have to waste time manually entering details.
Most customers now expect businesses to offer several payment methods both online and in-store. Trying to bolt on new payment methods to a legacy system can be clunky and frustrate both your staff and customers. With an epos system, you can offer customers multiple payment options, so they are less likely to turn to a competitor who can cater for their needs when you can’t.
Every retailer needs to assess how digital technology can help improve their business. It is no longer realistic to rely on traditional systems, while others are using technology to improve and grow their business.
Andy Richley is marketing manager at Khaos Control