ABT Group has decades of experience with the day-to-day operations of major companies such as  Optus World, Office Choice through to many small to medium retailers and franchises. Call us today for quick chat about how ABT supplied Pronto Xi can help improve every aspect of your retail operations.

“It’s not about simply throwing technology at the problem and hoping it sticks”

Retail in Australia in 2018 and beyond is increasingly difficult for business who are slow to adapt to changing market conditions and the evolution of customer behaviour.

However, remarkably opportunities abound for agile, customer focussed business with the smarts to use the best of breed technology across their entire operation with clever management to match these changing conditions.

Australian developed Pronto Xi from ABT Group is a favourite among rapidly growing retailers of all sizes.  Pronto Xi integrates everything from POS, stock control, online sales, customer service, warehousing, accounting and much more into a single environment.  It means better visibility, seamless operations across all business areas to help face today’s retail challenges.

Some current retail trends – the hard figures

Of the 146 Australian retailers who took part in the recent survey“2017 Technology Retailer Review”, 45% are planning on investing in POS technology in the coming months. Given you’d be hard pressed to find a small retail store or even a sandwich shop that doesn’t already have some form of electronic Point of Sale device in place, why are so many retailers making further investments? What are they hoping to achieve to justify this level of investment?

Some hints might be found in other key findings from the survey.

  • 38% of retailers are exclusively bricks and mortar
  • 8% are exclusively online only
  • 54% are omni-channel retailers

“62% of all retailers believe it’s critical to have POS fully integrated with their backend systems“

Put simply, a matchup between what’s in physical inventory as recorded in the accounting/operational systems and what’s seen from customer’s viewpoint is considered by most retailers as key to improving the overall customer experience.  This applies equally to online sales or POS stock visibility across multiple retails stores.  In addition to proper stock levels, direct connection to back end systems means day-to-day pricing as well as promotional pricing for POS and online stores is always current.  It’s important to have one “source of truth” about inventory and pricing right across the business.

Many retailers are now rolling out “click and collect” type services.  Shoppers can order online from the retailer and then collect their purchases in-store. For these services real-time visibility of actual stock levels online is critical. There’s probably no faster path to major customer dissatisfaction than having them order an item online, travel to the store expecting it to be ready for collection only to be told it’s at another store or out of stock altogether!

Recent research shows that being out of stock of in demand items can reduce retail sales by up to 10%. Faced with out of stock items, customers are likely to search for the same item from a competitor online for immediate purchase, or more worryingly for bricks and mortar retailers, in-store via mobile devices.

2017 Australian Retailer Technology Review

Multichannel Shoppers

The Commonwealth Bank’s current “Retail Insights” survey highlights the rise of the multi-channel shopper. 

These are consumers who are comfortable researching and purchasing products and services across multiple channels and platforms, while at the same time balancing the convenience vs experience.  One suggestion from senior Commonwealth Bank analysists to avoid shoppers from moving between retailers is to keep a tightly linked physical stores and online presence – one that naturally requires integration of backend, online and in-store POS environments.

Mobile apps vs e-commerce websites

While approx three quarters (64%) of Australian retailers plan on investing in their online stores, less than 40% see the need for further spending on mobile apps. Why in this? Many of the reasons are likely due to continued development in the ease of convenience of mobile e-commerce systems.

Mobile E-commerce now offers current stock pricing and availability, notifications of new promotions and importantly, the ability to share information via social media.

“Only 50% of retailers have a loyalty program in place”

Collecting customer names and address is the easy part. Working out how to best leverage that information for repeat business is critical. It goes beyond simply a plastic loyalty card to further clutter up wallets and purses.  A properly run loyalty program needs ongoing, careful analysis of the customer data collected and a clearly defined plan to connect with your customers. What have they purchased? How can I use technology to introduce them to new products and services that’s sure to interest them?  How do I reach out to my customers on my social media platform?

Pronto Xi has the advanced reporting and CRM tools identify your best customers and regularly stay in touch with them.

Commonwealth Bank research indicates that 79% of retailers who have implemented loyalty schemes have an increase in sales that they directly attribute recurring customers business brought in by such efforts.

Next time: We’ll be talking about Amazon’s launch in Australia in November 2017 and how it’s impacted retailers.  Has this created opportunities for specialist retailers? Join in the Twitter conversation via twitter.com/ABT_Group_