Connecting brick-and-mortar stores to a brighter future

It’s a tough time for the high street. Brick-and-mortar stores must evolve to survive and prosper, but how do they transform to win business from today’s customers?

Stroll through any town centre and it’s evident high street retail is in freefall. Almost 2,500 shops lost were from top 500 UK high streets in 2018, and that doesn’t include independent stores1. In fact, chain stores are disappearing from UK high streets at the fastest rate in at least nine years as shoppers switch to buying online and rein in spending. At the same time, retailers are having to work with lower staff numbers in order to keep costs down, and margins are being squeezed to remain competitive with online prices.

So, how can technology help brick-and-mortar retailers adapt and compete?

‘We’re open – come in”

Most retailers know they need to invest and have clear priorities.

  • “Provide a quick and efficient point-of-sale process.”

For resellers, these are the themes that retail customers want to discuss and find solutions for.

Winning customers with a Connected Retail Solution

Today’s customers expect nothing less than a seamless omnichannel shopping experience. Browsing, buying and delivery has to be on their terms. Right now, the major supermarkets lead the way in uniting the online and in-store experience. Customers can go online to see if items are in stock, choose delivery or in-store collection. And if the item isn’t right, returns are equally effortless. This is a model that wins customers, and the good news is that all types of brick-and-mortar retailers can make it work for them too with a Connected Retail Solution. With a single platform uniting hardware, software and support services, valuable new connections are created between people, assets and merchandise, opening up new opportunities.

Digital technology is the uniting force

Connected Retail brings interconnection to all areas of the business, from front of store, to warehouse and distribution, seamlessly integrating the online and instore experience. It provides end-to-end control and visibility of operations, and enables retailers to offer the level of service, choice and convenience that today’s customers expect. It’s powerful and transformative, and it’s proved effective for leading names, such as Laura Ashley.

Reimagining the in-store experience

With a Connected Retail solution up and running, the in-store experience can become truly customer centric. It enables retailers to provide a more responsive service to customers, empowering staff to answer questions faster, locate products quicker and accelerate check out. Staff are equipped with a handheld device, which provides plenty of ways to surprise and delight customers. With real-time information at their fingertips, staff can look up detailed product information, cross-sell related items, automate loyalty programme enrolment and take payment with mobile POS. It brings a new dimension to stores, encouraging customers to come back time and again.

Inventory management made easy

This front-of-store transformation is powered by an equally positive transformation behind the scenes. For example, Connected Retail changes the game when it comes to inventory. With barcode scanning and RFID, retailers gain visibility and control from dock to shelf. It can streamline stock counting and shelf replenishment, expedite gap scans, reduce out-of-stocks and maximise accuracy. With 66% of retailers2 believing they’re behind the competition when it comes to having the right items in stock, inventory could be a great conversation starter with prospects.

Directed work increases efficiency

With inventory sorted, retailers can leverage another advantage of Connected Retail – integrated voice direction. This brings speed and accuracy to order picking, enabling staff to pick more orders in less time, and it eliminates paper. You can see how user-friendly and efficient it is in this video. With so many retailers low on staff, maximising productivity is a key focus. Connected Retail technology can determine how many workers are needed to run the store and fulfil orders. At the same time, retaining the best staff is another challenge in an industry known for high churn. The latest technology can help staff perform at their best – good for retention and the bottom line.

Offer online services with confidence

A Connected Retail Solution also positions stores to deliver the convenient, error-free e-commerce services that customers demand. With inventory tamed and visible, retailers can offer more flexible fulfilment options, such as Buy Online, Pay In-Store (BOPIS) and home delivery. And they can feel confident about fulfilment as the technology brings exceptional levels of accuracy as this video shows. There’s predictability about how long orders will take to fulfil, so when promises are made about pick-up times, you know you can keep them.

Honeywell Connected Retail Solutions – leading the way

Honeywell’s Connected Retail Solutions bring together proven expertise, hardware, software and support services, all backed by a powerful data engine. With a superb reputation in retail and DC technology, Honeywell is perfectly placed to support retailers of all types and sizes. And the experienced team at Ingram Micro are ready to help you maximise any retail opportunity.

To find out more about Honeywell Connected Retail Solutions and Ingram Micro’s services, get in touch with us on 0371 973 3699 or email dcpos-uk@ingrammicro.com.

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SOURCES

1 – Guardian Online https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/10/more-than-2400-shops-lost-from-top-500-uk-high-streets-in-2018-banks

2 – 2018 Global Retail Research Study – How Digital Transformation is Shaping the Retail Landscape. YouGov 2017.