No matter what your business is peddling, as a retailer, you’ve got to utilize every tool at your disposal to keep pace with your competition.
In this digital era, having the right technology can often make the difference between strong and struggling sales — a fact that’s been even more pronounced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following are some of the most essential digital technologies your retail business should be implementing. Use these correctly, and you should be able to thrive instead of just survive.
Reliable Internet Access
For all the wonderful technologies that can aid retail businesses, few of them will do you any good if your business is still relying on sub-par internet access.
For example, did you know that a large portion of consumers use their phones while shopping to compare prices or look up the details about items they’re interested in purchasing?
Having quick, reliable web accessibility at your physical locations will ensure those shoppers can do so without hassle, which, in turn, will help keep them happy.
What’s more, any technology you’re using inside your store that’s internet-reliant will be vastly improved by increased internet speeds.
An Online Marketplace
More shoppers are relying on the internet to make purchases than ever before.
If you don’t have your wares online, then you’re missing out on a large number of consumers who are looking to spend. Having an online store is critical, but make sure you implement yours correctly.
For instance, you’ll need reliable methods of bringing in business to your online store, like organic SEO and content marketing. When visitors come to your online store, it should be easy to navigate and have a simple process for adding items to a virtual cart and checking out.
Security will also be a chief concern if you’re going the online route. You’ll need systems in place to keep consumer financial information safe, particularly if you’re accepting credit cards and giving customers the option to save their details with your business.
An Improved Check-Out Experience
The more shoppers you can get through the store the more money you stand to make. Checking out, however, can form a bottleneck that slows down business and angers customers.
What you’ll need are more efficient processes for dealing with large numbers of shoppers, and technology is all set with a solution.
The in-store retail checkout systems of the future will likely include more self-checkout options, but will also be integrating contactless/cashier-less systems into the mix.
The ability for customers to pay without even having to whip out their cards will do plenty to speed up lines, and will also provide peace-of-mind to those concerned about the threat of germs while they’re out in public spaces.
Enhanced Customer Service
One bad experience can drive a potential customer away for good, so it makes sense for you to concentrate on delivering the best customer service experience possible. Once again, technology can help you set and maintain the highest standard you can manage.
In-store, for instance, you might try implementing technology like QR codes, which allow customers to scan with their phones to learn more about products, prices, etc.
Going further with an in-store mobile strategy, you might even adopt a method for sending mobile coupons to customers who frequent certain parts of your store or check out particular items.
You can build a similar level of customer convenience online. Fielding customer queries through social media is a good way to start, as it builds engagement and allows you to resolve potential conflicts quickly.
Additional online strategies include adding functions like live chat to your online store, or improving site search so customers can find what they want even faster.
Big Data Analysis
Big data analytics is a hot topic at the moment, and it’s more than just empty buzz. For retailers, using big data gives you the power to understand your customers better and revamp your approach to business based upon your newfound knowledge.
With large enough datasets, you can predict which items might sell the most and adjust your inventories to properly cover demand. You can also optimize the pricing of products so that they attract the greatest number of buyers while maximizing revenue.
Once you have enough data, you can even personalize the interactions your customers have with you in-store and online to better fit their tastes.
Keep in mind that you’ll need reliable pathways for collecting data to gain any actionable insights from your analysis, which means turning to both your physical retail and online marketplaces to start pulling information about your customers and their activities.
Give Your Business the Tools to Succeed
Technology might always be evolving, but keeping up with those changes will give your retail business exactly the edge it needs to boost sales and stay ahead of your competitors.
Be sure to integrate some of these technologies into your business strategy, and you’ll be setting yourself up for the best shot at continued success.
Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects and with over 8 years of professional writing experience, she has taken a particular interest in topics related to Business, Marketing, SEO Best Practices, and Productivity. You can follow Jori on her Twitter and LinkedIn.