In the 21st century, it is evident that digitization is here to stay and improve every step of the way. With a more significant percentage of the world’s population becoming internet users, digitizing your retail business is becoming more beneficial and important. It is no longer a trend shared within larger companies alone – and in recent times with this pandemic, millions more are now hitting the world wide web for all their needs during this period. About 3000 independent stores plan on going digital by August 2020. By the end of the year, the number will increase to 7000 e-commerce stores. So how can you digitize your retail business, especially after the pandemic? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Go digital with employee management tools
Are you still caught up in the old way of monitoring your employees’ presence at work or their clock-in times? If your business is still operating under the old-school supervision techniques, it is time to replace notebook clock-in times with a more reliable digital management tool. This is an easier way for your workers to pick up shifts and request time off while eliminating paperwork involved in this process. It is an efficient way to run a business without having to worry about planning schedules. Besides, it opens up an opportunity to focus on growing your business while ensuring your works are efficient and productive.
Use barcode scanners to record inventory
Using spreadsheets and clipboards to take stock in the store can be a very arduous process; it is a laborious chore when you have to count your inventory manually. A digital solution, such as inventory counting apps, moves your business from being mundane to extraordinary. Sometimes, the POS machine(s) you already have may come with stock count functions. Fortunately with this, you will not need to invest in barcode scanners. On the other hand, if yours is a large retail business, you may need more than a few scanners to simplify your stock keeping tasks. Indeed, these machines significantly reduce (or eliminate) human errors, save time, and help you maintain precise inventory records.
Order online, pick up in-store facilities
It will be a great idea to create a digital platform where customers can order items online and pick up from the store later; it is also known as the ‘Click and Collect’ service. Doing this eliminates queues that usually swell up at the cash register- which is a health hazard. By diversifying shopper operations, customers who choose to order online serve themselves, and all they have to do before leaving the store is to validate the payment against the item. This option works well for those who may not wish to pay extra for delivery services. It also works well for you because it saves you more time to concentrate on other work areas. Major retail chains such as Walmart and Target use this system to serve customers; it has become one of their significant innovations loved by customers. A slight variation to this procedure is for your customer to scan an item in the store, pay for it using an online payment platform, and to check out without joining the queue at the till.
Invest in signage
Signage comes in varied forms depending on what your exact needs are. Billboards, window displays, vehicle graphics, and even digital ones are various signage options you can explore. A simple search on “sign store near me” would give a list of many businesses near you that are ready to offer a solution to your signage needs. Finding the right signage solutions can help you attract more customers.
Digitize financial tasks
How does your financial department transact business? Do they present you with bulky printouts to study accounting reports and other financial tasks? You can invest in accounting apps to automate such tasks for you. Examples of some well-known accounting apps are Xero, Sage Intact, Wave Accounting, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Desktop for Mac. Instead of printing out invoices, you can explore the options of providing digital receipts for clients and customers alike. Paperless payment options usually dwell on mobile devices because they are designed to perform that way. Applications such as Venmo and Play Pal are the most used digital platforms.
Optimize Google My Business by using SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is quite a technical area, and you may need to employ an expert to do this for you. Google My Business (GMB) primarily works by optimizing your business location to appear in a Google search. If a client types “grocery shops near me,’ the search results must include your business. Click and Collect Services work well with this option; it dwells heavily on SEO because every online content you develop should boost traffic and rankings in an organic search. It could be videos, articles, or others. Whatever that content is, it will become an efficient marketing mix for your business. The downside to this option is that GMB is more effective for companies physically situated in an area.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the core of any business. Without this crucial element, companies will not last. Unfortunately, CRM is an under-utilized feature for retailers, but the pandemic has helped cast more light on it. Primarily, businesses love to retain customer loyalty and are ready to do whatever it takes to boost operations. Email marketing makes it easier to be in constant touch with a section of customers who may be too scared to shop in-person. By always being in touch with them and updating this group on new stock, upgrades, and personalized messages, customers will remember you.
This year has optimized many businesses worldwide as more turn to digitization. Even before the year draws to a close, many more continue to record a boom in online sales. For those who never gave it much thought, digitization has become the order of the day and the new normal for retail business. Interestingly, many more are building innovative business modules to suit the era. Most importantly, customers are the driving force behind this move.