From the time a customer walks into a store, to the merchandise and innovative displays they see, the services they receive, till the time they pay and leave, smart retailers thoroughly think through and plan out the entire navigation and shopping experience.
All these aspects of planning, supply chain execution, merchandising, and marketing culminating in a sale and a satisfied customer, which all retailers vie for, is what retail store operations are all about. “The cost incurred by the average retailer in in-store operations accounts for a major portion of the selling and general expenses. Any opportunity to optimize this function entails a significant impact on cost management as well as customer satisfaction,” says a report by TATA consultancy services.
Therefore, making store processes more efficient and customer-centric have direct long-term business benefits. At a time when shopping behaviours are largely influenced by technology, retailers are additionally adopting some ‘new-age store operations’ to keep the today’s digital customers coming back to the stores.
For instance, prominent stores across USA, including Lord & Taylor, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, among others, are using Beacons to push targeted messages to shoppers on their smartphones. Messages such as personalised coupons, latest products, and updates on what other people are buying. These immediately create a buzz and translates into an immediate uptick in sales.
Beacons are low-cost hardwares that can be easily installed in retail stores. They utilise Bluetooth technology to transmit instant messages to smartphones in the immediate vicinity, thus enabling effective and relevant communication between the shopper and the store. Additionally, while beacons can can transmit data, they cannot receive data. Thus, beacon technology per se does not pose a threat to users’ privacy.
A report by BusinesInsider says that beacons influenced over USD4 billion worth of US retail sales in the year 2014, at the top 100 retailers, and predicted that this number will swell ten-fold by 2016!
Sharing a remarkable case study of Jumbo Supermarkets, Drs Joost van der Lann, director, Retaileconomics, is all set to further equip retailers in India to what motivates the shopper to visit store and uptick sales, in a Knowledge Series workshop at the upcoming India Food Forum 2016 business event on 19th January at Mumbai.
A retail veteran who provides consulting services and training to retailers, suppliers and service organizations, van der Laan has worked with major retailers and consulting firms, including PwC, Nielsen, A T Kearney and Ahold, among others. The workshop will develop retailers’ capability to deliver solutions that will engage and inspire shoppers to buy and make their stores profitable. His talk will touch on topics ranging from category management, assortment and presentation, price, productivity and integrating retailers’ websites with stores.