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A Holistic Approach To Tech: How Retailers Can Manage Operations More Effectively


The growth of e-commerce and the development of multiple new sales channels might have created convenience for consumers when it comes to shopping, but they can just as easily create operational complexity for retailers, who are keen to deliver seamless shopping experiences. Today, retailers need to manage multiple platforms and technologies at once, and efficiently, to cater to consumer demands.


Managing several technologies across a retailer’s entire operation—from supply chain to shop floor—is not a typically simple task. Technologies that are not properly integrated can create several issues that arise from a range of factors, including slow updates, human error from manual data input and the use of outdated information. In a fragile chain of complex technology, it only takes one inaccurate piece of information to disrupt an entire ecosystem.


Retailers must take an all-encompassing approach to their technology stack—one that is connected at all touchpoints and operates seamlessly in real time. Importantly, this holistic approach to retail operations must be built on a foundation of robust, reliable and accurate technology. With an integrated technology stack, retailers can manage their entire retail ecosystem more effectively.


From efficiency and improved decision-making to the ability to deliver personalized shopping experiences, an all-encompassing approach to retail technology can help retailers manage operations effectively and provide services to customers that drive loyalty and long-term business success.



Boosting Supply Chain Efficiency


A competitive edge in the past, omnichannel experiences have now become a must-have expectation of shoppers, according to the 2022 Retail Personalization Index Retailer & Consumer Survey. This is also consistent with McKinsey’s analysis in 2021 that positioned omnichannel as “a requirement for survival” in the retail industry.


In order to facilitate omnichannel offerings, such as same-day delivery, buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and buy online, return in-store (BORIS), retailers need a highly efficient supply chain. From delayed customer deliveries to poor replenishment practices that lead to out-of-stock items on shop floors, inefficient supply chain operations can damage customer loyalty.


Shoppers demand a fast and seamless experience that caters to their convenience. To win their loyalty and maximize sales, retailers need to maintain appropriate inventory levels across all locations and provide seamless order fulfillment.


Traditional supply chain practices require warehouse staff to manually track inventory movement. It results in a time-consuming process that is prone to human error and incorrect readings. As a result, retailers are provided with inaccurate and often outdated data. This can negatively impact retailers’ decision-making related to inventory, order procurement, stock distribution and reallocation. This can further result in unnecessary transportation, storage costs and poor replenishment, leading to out-of-stock items.


Equipped with a range of supply chain technologies that communicate in real time, retailers can gather relevant and accurate data that empowers them to make smarter decisions, faster. Integrating inventory and order management solutions within the same ecosystem, for example, can create real-time visibility of products, allowing retailers to make more informed decisions related to stock.


If an item is selling fast, retailers can identify it early and reallocate stock transport to ensure adequate replenishment. What’s more, with integrated order management, shipments can be automatically generated based on orders received from different platforms, allowing retailers to deliver products quickly and efficiently.



Top-Tier Customer Experiences


According to Statista, 94% of customers believe a positive shopping experience makes them more likely to shop with a retailer again. Convenient and tailored shopping experiences are not only crucial to boost consumer loyalty, but also to make shoppers spend more.


In fact, 80% of business leaders believe personalized shopping experiences can lead to increased consumer spending. However, 50% highlight that gaining access to accurate data to personalize shopping experiences is a challenge.


By connecting a range of customer-centric applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), clienteling and point-of-sale (POS), retailers can not only meet shopper demands but remain adaptable to their evolving needs. With each of these technologies operating together, retailers can gain access to a wide range of information at the touch of a button and deliver high-quality shopping experiences seamlessly.


From sizes to product preferences, CRM and clienteling software can allow staff to quickly access information and personalize each interaction they have with a customer. Integrating these technologies with a mobile POS application, all hosted on a tablet, retailers can tailor interactions with customers; provide exclusive discounts and personalized offers; and complete transactions in a streamlined and highly efficient manner.


Ultimately, this can significantly reduce the time customers spend waiting in checkout queues and improve the overall shopping experience. Customers leave the shop floor feeling valued, having received a bespoke and streamlined experience.



Leveling Up Predictive Analysis


To make the most effective decisions, retailers must take each area of their business into account. From warehouse racks to in-store shelves, retailers need to have clear visibility of their entire ecosystem in real time.


An all-encompassing approach to retail technology enables retailers to generate this visibility through automated reports such as monthly analytics, forecasts and recommendations based on historical data. This can help retailers make accurate predictions about consumer trends more effectively. For example, they can identify bestselling products around a specific event, such as Black Friday, and increase stock around those items to increase sales.



The Takeaway


With fastidious customers, tighter pursestrings and razor-thin margins impacting the retail landscape, the market is becoming increasingly competitive. Those who can make their operations highly efficient are likely to drive more profitability.


An integrated technology stack offers retailers a great opportunity to simplify their retail operations and manage them more effectively while providing a wider range of options for their customers. This allows them to remain flexible to changing consumer demands, future-proofing their businesses while also driving customer loyalty for long-term success.


Source: forbes.com

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