5 Business Strategies and Tools Retail Merchants Need

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Regardless of size, retail merchants have a variety of tools designed to make operations run more efficiently. Here are the best five strategies and tools.

In today’s business world, technology is developing at a rapid pace. That means the only way for retail merchants to stay in the game is to harness the power of the business tools available to them.

Whether you are a small or large retailer, you have at your fingertips a variety of tools designed to make your retail operations run more efficiently. Here is a look at five – CRM, POS, online payment options, social media, and consumer tracking – that can make your business more efficient.

Customer Gifts for Building Loyalty

Offering gifts to your customers can be a great source of building long-term relationships with your customers. You will see a rapid increase in repeat customers using this effective strategy.

There is a variety of gifts for customers that you can choose from. It will not cost your business a lot but it will bring a lot of customers in return. This is a must-have strategy for retailers, both online and offline.

Finding the Right CRM for Your Retail Operation

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools help build a loyal customer base and increase repeat traffic through key elements such as integrating allocation and replenishment and connecting key operational areas – retail, customer, and field services.

However, you need to make sure your CRM solution is specific to retail and that you utilize all the tools that your software has to offer. It’s easy to overlook the tools that are sitting right in front of you.

Integrating POS Software into Your Business

Point-of-sale (POS) software automates the movement of inventory in your brick-and-mortar or Internet store. This allows you to manage inventory, sell inventory via sales orders or point-of-sale transactions, track customers, and handle accounting.

A good retail point-of-sale system eliminates unnecessary work, improves customer relationships, and saves you money by providing automatic stock reordering, up-to-the-minute sales reports, and fast, accurate customer checkouts.

Offering Online Payment Options

Keep in mind that consumers prefer to have a variety of options when paying online instead of just using their credit card.

Rather than update packaged software and perform regular backups of your accounts receivable data, you may want to check into an online accounts receivable service. Find one that allows you to offer a variety of online payment options to customers and that handles all the updates and maintenance for you.

Putting Social Media to Good Use

How well do you integrate Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook into your marketing strategy?

“There has never been a time in history where a retailer, without much capital, can fully engage with customers and potential customers at this level,” suggests writer Michael Datton in his article “Getting started with social media.”

How important is social media? Study shows that “9.2% of shoppers who visited a retail site from a social media site made a purchase. Moreover, 77% of all social network traffic began with Facebook.” And e-commerce is expected to continue to grow, with mobile sales projected to reach 49% this year.

If your retail operation is not putting social media to good use, you are missing a big opportunity to reach new as well as current consumers.

Using Security Cameras and Mobile Phones for Tracking

Do you want to monitor shopper behavior and track where consumers spend their money? Many retailers are doing via security cameras and mobile phones.

Physical stores competing with online shopping are at a disadvantage. They haven’t had the ability to track consumer activity until now. However, some have begun using security cameras to “track how people move around.” Moreover, others are testing facial-recognition software that can identify shoppers’ gender and approximate age.

Monitoring foot traffic via shoppers’ mobile phones is another emerging retail tool. England-based Path Intelligence sells a phone-tracking technology called FootPath that follows shoppers around malls in Europe.

Whether your retail operations are brick-and-mortar, online, or both, there are tools available to improve operational efficiencies. It’s a matter of deciding which business tools work best for you.

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