How Technology Can Improve in-store Retail Experiences
- May 11, 2021
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Software development is a crucial part of digital transformation that businesses in Singapore are slowly embracing. Retailers that were once content with traditional methods of handling their stores, are realising that incorporation of digital solutions are no longer optional. Due to the lockdown imposed during the pandemic, customers shifted to e-commerce drastically. According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2020, 49% of customers in SouthEast Asia do their shopping in a store, whereas 51% do it online through their mobile and other devices.
However, here are some stats that show the potential growth of in-Store retail experiences:
- 4 out of 10 online customers are dissatisfied with their experience (source)
- Retails sales in Singapore are constantly on the rise with an annual 6.2% growth in March, 2021 (source)
- Total retail sale value in Singapore for 2021 was $3.5 billion, out of which 11.8% was through online sales (source)
Singapore government’s SME’s go digital programme includes the Retail Industry Digital Plan which aims to make going digital easy for customers. The government is doing their part, and it’s time small and medium scale retailers started reaping the benefits of software tools by partnering with IT & Software solutions companies.
Majority of retailers still have plenty of room for improvement. Software development solutions for retailers can have several forms. From inventory management tools to customer loyalty apps, the possibility of growth and efficacy are limitless with the right technology.
Types of Software Development Solutions for in-Store Retailers
A list of some common software tools for retail stores are briefly explained below.
Point of Sale Software
Point of Sale in businesses is the area where customers pay for the purchased goods or services. It goes without saying that with the right hardware and software tools integrated into a POS system, businesses can make drastic improvements in a lot of areas. An ideal POS software would efficiently record all transactions, easily locate price of products, keep inventory updated, etc. While mega marts and super store retailers have POS systems that can carry out these tasks, many medium scale and small retailers are yet to incorporate POS equipment and tools.
Customer Loyalty Software
Customer loyalty software can help businesses engage and retain their customers better post transactions. By providing freebies or discounts to customers who have achieved certain sales targets, businesses can enhance consumer experience. A customer loyalty software would include features like keeping a track of purchases, gamification, customizable rewards, etc.
Customer Feedback Software
Customer feedback plays a crucial role for business growth and customer satisfaction. A customer feedback software could be simple like selecting an emoji face that rates customer experience, or it could be more detailed and intricate. Sometimes the customer may have grievances that they want to highlight to the management. On the other hand it is also possible that customers will mention the factors which made their experience favourable. In either case, a customer feedback software will prove to be an efficient tool in the overall development of retail stores.
Inventory & Space Management Software
An Inventory & Space Management software helps in allocation of goods at a walk-in retail store and keeps a record of the stock. This makes it easier to maintain store organization. Inventory management software tools come with a notification system to update the management about restocking of different products. It also provides insight about fast-selling goods. On the other hand, effective Space Management gives your store an appealing look that keeps the customers coming back.
Payment Processing Software
The technology allows retail stores to align their sales with different payment methods and bank types. It’s primary features include- allowing instant online payments, accepting credit and debit cards, generating instant invoices, tracking and recording all invoices, and resolving disputes with banks or customers.
Omnichannel Store Software
Omnichannel businesses are those that operate both online and offline. Many e-commerce businesses eventually open up physical retail store stores to cater to the customers that like to have an in-store experience. On the other hand, retail businesses are rapidly creating online web/mobile apps and other technological solutions to have an online presence.
Software tools for omnichannel retailers provide features that enable complete transparency for the customers. For businesses, the usual features such as seamless transactions, data analysis, customer loyalty, etc. are integrated online as well as offline.
Perks of Incorporating Software Development Tools in Retail Stores
Looking for a reason to employ technological tools for your retail store? Well, there’s more than one.
This is perhaps the biggest advantage of retail software. Automation can enhance retail store experience in 2021. Irrespective of the size and type, businesses have several complex processes that need to be carried out for the store to function smoothly. Automation enhances the smoothness of these processes. Whether it’s inventory management, employee performance monitoring, sales and returns records, a retail software can be customized to provide automation that caters to every need.
Finessing Customer Service
Retail software tools are tried and tested catalysts of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Modern customers are educated, aware, and more demanding. With the amount of competition in every business, retaining customers and engaging in healthy relationships requires effort. Therefore, investing in tools that help with customer feedback, loyalty programs, and other aspects of customer management is a profitable decision.
Accuracy, Insight, Analysis
Conventional methods of keeping up accounts and maintaining inventory bring with them the possibility of human error and excessive time consumption. Automating processes with software tools not only minimize the possibilities of error, but also provide insightful information. Technology like big data, machine learning and AI can help retailers gather information about their customers. This information is very crucial to the overall growth of any business as it tells sellers about consumer behaviour, demographics, market trends, etc. Automation is the key to improving retail operational efficiency.
Process of Creating Retail Software
Retailers wanting to digitalise their store with the right software tool should follow these steps to make rational and profitable choices.
1. Partner up with a Software Development Agency
Looking into available options before deciding on a specific company to work with is an important task. Keep in mind that software development and maintenance is going to be a long term process. Instead of going to different agencies for different services, it’s better to partner up with a reliable company that can fulfill your needs in a time efficient manner. Hipster-inc is a reliable digital solutions company that has a track record of reliable and efficient services. Get in touch to discuss your needs. We specialize in customized software solutions to fit the needs of every business, no matter how big or small.
2. Create a Budget according to your Plan
Planning and budgeting is important with every initiative. Decide the features that you want to integrate into your retail software systems. The required features should be compatible with the available budget. Pick the types of retail software tools you need. If you cannot find a common tool to carry out the required features, there’s no need to worry. Software developers can customize the tools to fit your needs. The entire process of planning and budgeting is crucial, so do not make haste and give it sufficient time (2-5 weeks).
3. Execution and Testing
While the developers work on your desired retail software products, there needs to be a consistent channel of communication. It’s best to have someone from your own company dealing with the nuances that get in the way of creating the right digital solutions. Someone with a technical background and intensive knowledge of your requirements should keep both the parties involved in a loop. When it’s time to test out and equip the products, you should have someone in your team that has some knowledge of the product functionalities. In addition, all store employees should be made aware of the technological advancements you plan to bring in. They should be given the basic training for handling of these tools.
And finally, retailers should keep in mind that the task is not finished once their software tools are tested and ready for use. For purposes of maintenance and updation that is common with digitalisation, a long and stable partnership with the IT solutions company should be maintained.
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