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Retail Recap 2013: What this means for your business next year?

November 12th, 2013

Category: Managing Retail Costs, Online Retailing, Point Of Sale Systems, Retail Business News, Retail Business Tips, Retail Innovations

20775814_sYou know it’s a good sign when retail sales are showing an increase of 2.9% in September 2013 compared to the same month in 2012. Might it signal we’ll enjoy strong Xmas trading this year, helping retailers end the year ‘with a bang and not a whimper?’

It’s almost mid-November and time to reflect on what has shaped up as the important signposts this year. Significantly, how will these markers influence how you run your business next year?

Retail innovation strong in 2013

While there have been some ‘nice’ increases in retail sales in 2013, it’s nothing to write home about. However, it’s a different story if we’re talking about innovation in retailing. This has been significant. It was the year of the pop up store trend, the rise and rise of fast fashion and the incredible success of concept stores (think Apple). We’ve also seen the re-emergence of eco-friendly retailing plus a big focus on shopping local (think growers markets sprouting up all over suburbs and towns).

Technology interlinked with consumer power

You can’t talk about innovation in retailing without looking at the increasing impact of technology in in 2013, namely the growing muscle of online retail pure players and influence of social media, creating a true paradigm shift where consumers call the shots and retailers have to follow.

However 2013 is the year bricks and mortar retailers are truly embracing this ‘shift’ as can be seen with traditional retailers like Harvey Norman, Officeworks and Dick Smith pocketing profits and enhancing their brand and positioning clout with an online presence.

Omni-channel retailing takes centre stage

This has also led to an increasing focus on omni-channel retailing, no longer a buzzword but a fact of life in 2013 with savvy retailers integrating their ecommerce sites with social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest; selling their wares via online third parties like eBay; taking advantage of digital signage trends and tackling email and mobile marketing with enthusiasm.

Focus on Customer Relationship technology

Underpinning omni-channel retailing are retail CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems that let retailers mine consumer data like preferences and buying history in order to better tailor the right offer at the right time using the customers preferred marketing channel (mobile v email) and/or social platform (Facebook v YouTube).

Retail Challenges in 2013

Some major challenges came to the fore in 2013 which will continue in 2014 and these are:  increased competition from international bricks and mortar operators; continued strength of online retailing due to consumers becoming more tech savvy and payment gateways becoming more secure; continued high staff wages and high rents; increased marketing costs, and of course instability in global economies.

How can you prepare for 2014?

The outlook for the retail sector is positive with financial analysts like “AMPs chief economist, Shane Oliver predicting retail sales growth will increase by up to 5 per cent next year”. However, with the above challenges in the mix, it is imperative to get all your retail ducks in a row if you want 2014 to be a success.

Ensure your POS can cope with modern retailing

The days of running a retail business (especially a multi-store operation) on gut instinct and intuition alone are over. Retailing challenges 2013-14 are too complex. There are too many factors at play which is why you need a rock solid foundation on which to support your business decision-making.

And that foundation is your retail POS management system! Get that right and everything else follows.

So what are the particular edifices of a retail system that will help you tackle 2014 challenges head-on?

It comes with the fundamentals integrated centrally: You retail system should offer sophisticated and integrated automation across merchandising, POS, stock management, replenishment, customer relationship management and financials. These help you manage operating costs and investments efficiently and effectively, so they don’t bleed into your profits.

It provides you with fast insight, daily, weekly, monthly on store performance (including online) such as gross profit, best and worst performers, stock turns, GMROI (Gross Margin Return On Investment) and much more. This sort of readily available insight will help you proactively manage your business to ensure you are consistently meeting sales targets, and to help you take appropriate and timely action when performance is under par.

It comes with a built-in CRM system: Today it’s all about consumer power and this means personalisation. If you want to personalise offerings you need to be able to collect information about customers at the point of purchase whether instore or online. Utilising a Retail CRM system provides access to your customer’s history and preferences so you can easily tailor unique offerings, promotions and campaigns.

It comes with integrated ecommerce capability: Yes you want to offer shoppers another shopping avenue. However, it shouldn’t create more work for you. An integrated ecommerce system means no double-handling – for example, new items added to your instore range automatically appear on the online store as soon as they are available, and automatically disappear from the online store when they are no longer available. Your online store also needs to come with connectivity to your customers’ preferred social platforms. The biggest benefit to adding an online store to your bricks and mortar business is that you can show your current range to many more potential buyers, some of which will purchase them online but others will now be more compelled to visit you instore – to “touch” and compare products before making the purchase.

Conclusion

While retailing will see an increased focus on offering something unique or distinctive in 2014, like Nespresso coffee havens or Sydney’s, Greenwood Plaza rooftop garden, there is a more compelling need to run retail operations prudently and astutely in 2014. While the future outlook is more sunshine than rain, the challenges are nevertheless mighty. Without a robust retail management system, you won’t get far.

To that end, it would be a good idea to find out more about the CONTROL POS Retail Management System now and thus be ready to implement a new system in the post-January quiet time.

To do that, you can either research CONTROL here or complete the online contact form requesting more information.

Alternatively, you can contact me directly on phone1300 646 536 or email: bernie@crecom.com.au

To your retailing success in 2014!

Best regards

Bernie Hogan
Managing Director
Creative Computing Retail Business Solution