Innovations in retail technology have made life easier for retail businesses and their customers
Retail business technology has undergone a surge of changes in recent years that have reduced error rates, increased efficiency and generally made life easier for retail business owners and their customers. If you’re entering the retail sector by starting your own business, or if you handle back and front office management for a business with a strong retail component, you may want to keep a close eye on some of these trends.
Retail Business Technology: Online Transactions
There’s no question that a growing number of retail outlets are taking their businesses to the Web. But there’s a difference between using a website as a marketing outlet and using it as an actual virtual storefront. Payment, shipping and order management applications are becoming a standard element of many CRM interfaces and ERP architectures. If you haven’t yet implemented a system that can process online payments and purchases, investigate your options. If your online sales outlet is fully functional, it’s time to make sure these applications are mobile-ready.
Retail Business Technology: Point of Sale Technology
Customers at actual stores typically need to bring their purchases to the counter in order to have their transactions processed. This can lead to long lines, customer frustration, and abandoned sales. But this system is changing with point-of-sale technology that can allow employees to process transactions from anywhere in the store.
Retail Business Technology: Inventory Management
Inventory management typically requires items to be examined at the loading dock, entered manually into a database, and removed from the database after a sale. Traditional inventory systems are expensive and prone to error, but newer applications can allow database access through mobile, handheld devices and scanners.
Handheld barcode scanners and terminals with wireless LAN capability can allow employees to access a regional inventory database from wherever they are, so they can help customers locate and purchase items that may not exist in a given store.
Retail Business Technology: Security
Wireless LAN systems can also improve real time functionality and accuracy when it comes to individual product tracking. This can help retailers reduce shrinkage, or the percentage of items lost, broken or stolen between the receiving dock and the point of sale. RFID tags, or radio frequency identification tags, can also be linked to a wireless network and can help employees locate specific inventory items prior to sale.
How have these technologies and others affected your retail business? Are you experiencing better inventory control, stronger security or improved customer relationship management? Leave your comments in the section below.