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Three Essential Tech Tools Every Small Retailer Needs

Many merchants shy away from technology out of fear it will detract from the human touch they bring to their store. But the human touch is in fact what brings a store to life. Technology is simply an asset to the human influence that ultimately is the heartbeat of a store. Instead of letting technology give you pause, let technology give you time, insight and the ability to be the best at what you do.

A number of systems and tools exist that aim to do just that. Retailers should consider how the following technologies can offer value to their business operations:

  • Point-of-Sale: Point-of-sale (POS) is essentially the hub — or home base — where much of a retail store is operated and managed. Savvy merchants lean on their POS daily for insight on sales, inventory, employees, customers and more, while some — though hopefully not you — have yet to introduce this key technology-driven asset into their business. In addition to simplifying daily operations, a POS also provides seamless and secure transaction processes for merchants – something vital to retailers of all sizes. Identifying the right point-of-sale should be based on your entire store needs, including but not limited to how you want to manage customer loyalty, employee hours, omnichannel engagement, inventory and of course, sales.
     
  • Traffic Foot Data: Brick-and-mortar retailers traditionally rely on sales data to identify trends and predict customer behavior, but this data only shows one piece of the overall health of their business. Foot traffic data helps retailers staff their store more efficiently, measure marketing effectiveness and calculate their in-store conversion rate, which illuminates additional insights into sales trends they need to succeed and grow. This is a valuable technology all brick-and-mortar merchants can benefit from, whether they are an independent bicycle store, coffee shop or apparel boutique.
     
  • Anti-Fraud Tools: Whether it's accepting bitcoin, welcoming sales via social media or collecting online payments for in-store pick-ups, there are countless avenues for consumers to pay for their end-goods nowadays. As a result, anti-fraud tools are becoming increasingly important for merchants to incorporate into their sales strategy. While some companies specialize exclusively in e-commerce payments, others aim to cover all bases where their products are used. Retailers must recognize the impact fraud can have on their business and aim to protect their customers and stores alike before this becomes an issue.
     

Trends change, consumers shift and time is not always on a merchant's side, but speed and precision are essential strategies for retailers of all sizes when it comes to managing their businesses. Welcome the advantages that technology can bring to your retail operation; or risk falling behind competitors who embrace the edge that it gives them. More timely and more accurate store management benefits every retailer.

Find more ideas to strengthen your customer relationship in CNA's 2018 Guide to the New Realities of Small Retail.
 


 

From the Author
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder and Publisher of RetailMinded.com, an industry publication that has been recognized worldwide for its leading retail insight. With a core concentration on independent retailers and small businesses, Reyhle is a frequent guest and contributor to various media outlets that include The Today Show, Forbes and countless B2B publications. Additionally, Reyhle has been the spokesperson for American Express's Small Business Saturday since 2014 and is the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw-Hill. Reyhle writes regularly as a retail thought leader for various industry resources that include Entrepreuner.com, Fiverr.com, Forbes, IBM and more, as well as having taught Retail Management at Columbia College for eight years as part of their adjunct faculty. Reyhle is also the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Learn more about Reyhle at RetailMinded.com.

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