With retailers navigating increasing financial pressures and evolving customer expectations, Trust Retail’s Mike Dotson believes the key to success lies in software

Demands on retailers are evolving; customers want seamless in-store experiences, store leaders face margin pressures and operational decisions rely on larger and more complex data sets.

Given these challenges, retailers have an opportunity to shape a brighter future for their stores, employees and customers.

While there has been a delay in retail technology innovation, we’re now entering a post-pandemic era with new possibilities.

It’s time for retailers to ditch the ‘new normal’ and lead the way towards a ‘better normal’ in how they handle their products, stock their shelves and serve their customers.

Here we explore five ways in which your business can benefit from updated inventory software.

1. Margin enhancement 

Automated stock checks from manufacturers to store loading docks are now the norm, but relying on manual processes and convoluted interfaces in store can be arduous.

In 2023, out-of-stocks and overstocks incurred approximately $1.4trn in costs – more than the combined retail GDP of Latin America.

Updating in-store technology can help inform store associates where and when to reshelve before missing a sale by utilising dynamic shelving and gap checks.

With modern inventory management, shopworkers spend less time checking shelves and more time filling them.

2. Optimised working capital

In theory, the buying process is simple: stock comes in, customer buys, retailer reorders, repeat.

Yet this process is often inconsistent and inaccurate, fuelled by manual data-entry mistakes, rushed processes and inconsistent data between head office and stores. Here come rotting vegetables, a shortage of needed medicine or a few too many ‘Happy 4th Birthday!’ cards.

Today’s technology can provide real-time data feeds and predictive forecasting, which can help boost topline growth.

Modern inventory management software, with simple interfaces, real-time data feeds and predictive forecasting, can increase topline growth by up to 8%, according to a report from ECR Retail Loss.

3. Personalised pricing and promotions

Imagine a customer walking down the high street choosing between your store or a rival retailer. Ping! A push notification appears on her phone with a voucher for a product she loves.

If this customer is anything like the 83% of customers that want personalised shopping experiences, according to McKinsey & Company, she’ll be turning left to redeem that voucher.

Advancements in technology have meant that stores can be stocked with exactly what the customer is looking for. Real-time data, accurate stock. Happy customer, happy business.

4. Efficient workforce

Your staff are at the heart of delivering excellent in-store experiences.

Yet these staff feel increasingly undertrained and overstretched. And the high turnover of retail staff (60% yearly churn ungraciously nicknamed the Great Attrition, according to McKinsey & Company) exacerbates issues of knowledge transfer and efficiency in task completion.

Your store staff have technology at their fingertips all day long, so ensure you are making the most of this.

Offer in-built training and make sure the systems are user-friendly so that data entry mistakes are a thing of the past. 

Satisfied customers result from greater product availability and more attentive store staff.

5. Agile operations

Downtime in retail can be costly, with one hour potentially leading to a circa £4m hit to the bottom line, according to an ITIC survey. Yet retailers still rely on disparate, antiquated systems.

Updating old tech can be a costly process, but board buy-in will be easy to win if you invest in software that is purpose-built for future-proofing businesses.

Look for solutions that promise high uptime, robust security and real-time feedback between stores and head offices to ensure that your firm is adaptable to changing market and consumer needs. 

Making short-term investments now will make long-term gains for the future.

Mike Dotson

Mike Dotson is managing director at Trust Retail 

Trust Retail provides innovative retail solutions that transform retail purchasing journeys and store operations. Get in touch to learn how we can increase your bottom line.