The retail industry is the bridge between manufacturers and end consumers. This industry is concerned with the process of selling finished goods and services to consumers through multiple channels and platforms.
The retail industry has the simplest revenue model. The profit made is proportional to the difference between the cost price and the selling price.
The digital transformation wave has affected every sector and process of business, and the retail industry is not alienated. Like all other business models, the retail world, too, needs to be responsive to digital disruptions.
Retail store managers have many hats to wear. The most important operations of the retail industry include-
It is time that store managers look forward to revamping the processes with modern tools and technologies. This will help them improve operations, cut-down operational costs, stretch profit margins, create a positive impact on customers, and scale up the stores.
Here are the five key aspects that will bring out a tremendous transformation in the retail industry.
The new dawn of consumerism calls for enhanced consumer service. Customer loyalty plays a significant role in the retail world. Loyal customers can become your brand advocates and pull the competitor’s crowd towards you. The sure-fire way to inculcate loyalty in customers is focusing on manifesting a great customer experience.
A robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can assist retailers in serving their customers better. CRM helps to capture valuable information, including demographics, preferences, patterns, and more. This information can be utilized to segment the market and target a specific group of customers.
We are living in an era of social media. The huge user base of social media platforms has immense potential for boosting customer experience. The retail brands can tap this potential to interact and instigate trust among their target consumers. From What’s app business to in-app messaging, multiple channels are available to gain, delight, and retain customers.
Also, retailers now have intelligent analytics to track their consumer behavior. By tracking the trends that consumers follow, retailers can develop schemes and strategies to inflate sales.
Inventory management has been a source of burden to retailers since immemorial times. The technology that accurately tracks inventory has arrived to rescue retailers.
The software we have so far is potent enough to capture the data like how much stocks are sold out, how much is remaining, how many were checked by visitors, and which items need replenishment. This data is enough to remove the burden of counting remaining items manually or scan barcodes for hours to keep track of stocks.
Technology for curbing the inventory losses due to theft, vendor fraud, and human errors is also manifested. With this technology, unique sensor tags can be incorporated with every item in the store. These tags have a unique number that is integrated with the inventory management software of the store. Items with the tags, when scanned, reveal if the amount for that item is paid or not. This way, stores can monitor security by scanning items at the checkout place.
Another technology we have in the retail realm is RFID. This is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification. A device called an RFID reader is pointed towards a particular shelf, and data about all the items on that shelf is obtained.
When we talk about smart packaging, one might wonder if packaging really has anything to do with smartness? Yes, it does, especially in today’s times where everything is upgraded to be smarter.
The traditional approach to packaging was to make it visually appealing.
But this is not the case with present-day packaging. The new smart approach considers factors like – freshness, convenience, clear information, safety, and storage-friendly. The appearance of bar code scanners is also a trait of smart connected packaging.
Even packaging is not excluded from the influence of digital transformation!
The retail industry has many voids that can be filled with automation. Automation has greatly helped to have recurring sales with innovative solutions like self-checkout kiosks and auto-delivery of the products (with subscription model).
Retail robots are another revolutionary invention in the industry. As robots march through the store, they can detect damaged or expired items without failure.
The most prevalent automation and AI tools used by retailers are real-time chat and interactive chatbots. Quick resolution of issues and instant answers to customer queries are the perks provided by chatbots and live chat integration.
Technology won’t do any good until implemented properly. However, once the stores successfully establish all the tools and technologies in place, retail industry operations will become more efficient.
A proper orientation among tools, technologies, and human staff can definitely cut down operational costs and make processes smooth-running.
When processes become accurate, faster, and convenient, stores are likely to gather more customers. More customers, more sales, more profits – and this is the triple-core of the retail industry.
The monotonous nature of jobs can be turned off, employees can contribute more towards value-creation, and overall productivity can surge.
Technology will continue to evolve and change the ways the business operations are carried out. The above-mentioned areas are the most vulnerable aspects of disruption to occur.
Since customers are the heart of the retail industry, newly adopted techniques must be beneficial for them, and all other benefits will follow eventually.