Today’s retail operations professionals have been working on the shop floor through what arguably might go down in history as the greatest period of retail transformation. Many have seen older cash tills transition to touch-screen POS terminals. Some have experienced first-hand another wave of change as mobile retail solutions usher in tablet/mobile transactions.
And of course, there are constantly evolving payment methods, privacy policies and omnichannel consumer expectations … not to mention trying to anticipate the weather (and shoppers’ needs and wants) for the next football or cricket match. Right product, right time, right place! But through it all, whether serving as Retail Sales Associates early in their careers, as Store Managers or Retail Ops Directors, these professionals know success all comes back to customer satisfaction and increased sales.
No Two Days are the Same in Retail Ops
“Retail is detail.” That is the sage advice an old-school retail store manager delivered 25+ years ago to Colin Neil, formerly director of retail operations, design and store support services, Burberry. In an interview with Exsurgo, Neil, who is now with payments technology firm Adyen, said he loved his retail ops career. Like many who’ve earned their stripes in store operations, he was inspired by how every day in the store brings something new. Trends move fast, and you have to think on your feet.
Now store managers are challenged to embed a digital experience into the store space and compete with the likes of Amazon. “Luxury retailers must ensure they do not lose sight of those customers who do not stand with both feet in the digital world, who prefer to visit a store, engage with a member of the staff, physically touch and feel the product, and leave with the belief that their experience was unique and genuine,” he told Exsurgo.
It’s true that store teams are on the front lines when it comes to delivering a seamless shopping experience for consumers. Store managers now have responsibility for front-end operations such as selling and keeping merchandise stocked as well as increasingly complex back-end inventory management duties. This is often the case as the store becomes a mini-warehouse and omnichannel fulfilment centre for many retail organisations.
They need an omnichannel retail solution to give them access to dynamic inventory information and easy-to-use retail reporting. Armed with the right retail intelligence, including both product insight and customer insight, Retail Ops Directors can make better decisions on how to deploy human resources and move inventory to increase sales and nurture overall customer relations.
Bringing Tech into the Store Efficiently
Retail Ops Directors know increased mobility and accessible data are necessary to keep things running smoothly on the shop floor. Retail Sales Associates can provide better customer service when they can count on a single retail POS solution to give them the tools to do their jobs. All too often, store teams must navigate — and take time for training on — multiple software systems. There may be one for e-commerce orders, one for inventory management, another for customer relationship management and yet another for processing in-store sales transactions.
By comparison, a modern in-store omnichannel POS solution centralises data. Not only is there only one system for store employees to learn to use, they can turn to that tool for everything. They can see:
– Stock availability
– Online order status
– Product recommendations
– Customer preferences
And they can see all of this from a tablet/mobile device or from a fixed POS station. They can be at the customer’s side to answer product questions, check inventory for the desired style, make a suggestion for a complementary item or handle credit card payments.
The fast-growing, fast-fashion retailer Quiz has been on a journey to give its clientele this type of omnichannel experience. “Just like our clothes, this store is designed to stand out. Our products are designed to make women feel glamorous, so we want our store experience to reflect this by making our customers feel special and to leave them with a lasting impression,” Omar Aziz, retail operations director at Quiz, told The Retail Bulletin. The comment appeared in an article about Quiz’s flagship digital store, which opened last May in Westfield Stratford City near London.
The store offers digital kiosks where shoppers can order any of the retailer’s merchandise, regardless of what is stocked in the store. Also, a great example of implementing user-generated content, the store features a “scatter” wall of digital pictures from social media, along with images from ad campaigns and photoshoots. “By bringing the latest technology in store, we can showcase our wider offering and bring the Quiz brand to life,” Aziz said.
Crunch Fitness, a fitness club with over 175 locations, implemented Cegid’s cloud-based POS platform to gain better visibility into customer buying patterns. At the same time, Crunch improved inventory management for the apparel, snacks and other products sold at stores inside its workout centres. Before the transition to the new POS technology, “we were only capturing half of the sales journey of our members,” vice president of member services Mike Neff said in an Apparel Magazine case study. “We could tell how much a member purchased for a membership or personal training, but not necessarily that they bought water and a nutrition bar every day they worked out. … It was important to have a system tell us when and what we should be ordering and how often.”
What driving forces are shaping your Retail Operations challenges and opportunities? Contact Cegid today and let’s discuss how the new Shopping in-store omnichannel POS solution can help you manage your stores, inspire retail sales associates, delight shoppers and never miss a sale!