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Why Integration is Critical for Retail

Many retailers are aware that their disparate systems are stopping them from taking advantage of market opportunities and therefore impeding business growth, however they are slow to implement new technology to solve their problems and deliver expected services in line with latest customer demands.1

The range of complex issues related to operating a retail business are not simple to resolve, however one thing is certain. To nurture loyalty, and achieve year-on-year improvements, delivering seamless customer experiences across all channels is absolutely essential. That’s because the trend for consumers to use digital devices to find products, review them and compare prices both online and in-store is increasing at an unbelievably fast rate. More than you might think.

The latest figures on Australian consumer digital behaviour will be, frankly, quite frightening for some retailers. Current online shopping trends are ignored at a retailer’s peril. Now, nearly three quarters of Australian shoppers interact with a retail brand well before they arrive at the store. 30% of digitally-influenced shoppers are using mobile devices, and up to 31% are using digital while they are in the store. Consumers who use digital while they shop are 30% more likely to spend more in-store, and convert at a 20% higher rate compared to those who do not use such devices.1

Like yourself, most retailers know they need to improve their brand’s online and in-store experiences, and connect all touch points in order to keep up with consumer expectations. But many are not acting fast enough to service changing demands. Typically, retailers are being held back by their legacy systems.

Though some would cite budgetary, resourcing and staffing reasons for not tackling their system-related issues, most are failing to act due to common misconceptions and long-held beliefs. Retailers tend to think of store technology investments as ‘POS’, and do not see many viable options for innovations that deliver value beyond the traditional system functions. There is fear of adding new technology around the POS, as the perception is that it will make their in-store systems more complex, costly, and difficult for staff to learn and use, so they find it hard to envision the return on investment.2

With this self-fulfilling prophecy, sales outcomes are generated as a linear result, with an ongoing compounding effect. Retail leaders are much more likely to consider replacing rather than fixing their current systems, concentrating on the longer-term vision, and achieving far higher ROI. This also means they are able to quickly adapt, change and grow according to shopper demands, reaping the ongoing rewards delivered by innovative, customer-centric systems. With a shorter-term outlook, the laggers agonise over the expense of tacking on new capabilities to an old platform, forever trying to catch up, and incurring greater costs over time, with less value gained.

With such strong opposition to considering new technology as a practical solution, many retailers are unaware of feasible, affordable alternatives to deliver better customer services more efficiently, and believe they will be in their current situation for quite some time. Unfortunately this mindset is preventing a large proportion of Australian retailers from providing a seamless and personalised customer experience across all their shopping channels, and gaining the associated productivity and sales increases.

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your legacy in-store POS systems – or think it’s not viable for every in-store staff member to quickly and easily see customers’ online behaviour, previous purchases and order information – your business is almost certainly not keeping up with buyer demands, and your competitors are gleefully capturing your customers.

With investment in smart, customer-centric strategies and integrated systems, you can connect all your operations and provide highly visible business intelligence to your staff in real-time. The opportunities are almost limitless. If your POS talks your e-commerce system, which is also united with your merchandise planning, product inventory and supply chain operations, with instant access to information from anywhere at any time, the efficiency gains will be massive. Most importantly, you will be enabled to understand exactly who your customers are, the products they like, and predict what they are likely to buy next. You will be able to recognise, reward and service customers in the way they demand – and your sales will explode.

Significant gains for store sales can be driven from digitally-enabled technologies that are simple to use, efficient and far more sustainable in the long term. These solutions are available right now.

We can show you how. We understand retail – industry trends, supply chain operations, merchandise management, store processes – and your challenges. We have the expertise, the strategies and powerful technology solutions that will help your business grow.

Contact us for a confidential discussion about your business needs.

Sources:

  • 1. Deliotte Digital Report 2015, ‘Navigating the New Digital Divide’, Digital Influence in Australian Retail.
  • 2. Benchmark Report 2015, Kilcourse B and Rowen S., ‘Commerce Convergence: Closing the Gap Between Online and In-Store’.
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