Steve Methvin, VP of Ecommerce and Retail Technology, Bozzuto's
Digitalization has brought about unimaginable changes in the retail landscape. With technology by their side, retailers have been able to enhance customers’ shopping experience both in-store and online. This has not only positively impacted their growth lines but also intensified their market competencies. For instance, the arrival of digital point of sale (POS) systems in the retail shops have not only quickened the process of shopping for buyers but also optimized the record-keeping procedure for accounting officials. Furthermore, robust POS systems have simplified and streamlined inventory management. And today, after almost half a century since the introduction of the first POS, different versions of POS systems are emerging with unique features and functionalities. For example, the new POS systems not only enable customers to see their transaction records but also track their previous purchases, discounts, and receive several personalized updates.
Alongside this, the evolution of the retail space has paved the way for several developments in the marketing sector. Earlier, magazines, newspapers, and flyers were the most feasible options for businesses to reach people and advertise their products. However, the emergence of ‘digital media’ has changed the way marketing operates. It is now a sophisticated system of buying and selling. Today, customers have the choice to either visit brick-and-mortar stores to purchase products or can shop online, or use a combination of both to buy a product of their choice. Multiple retail shops today, have introduced the online ordering services along with in-store pickup from the closest outlets.
Need for Robust POS Systems
Currently, several challenges are revolving around the retail space. In particular, the size of POS systems is substantially large, and retailers often find it hard to accommodate these sizeable machines in the store. These systems take up a tremendous amount of space and need continuous human labor to operate them. Also, POS systems require updates very often. That means, even if we do install newer systems, the old ones have to be continuously updated to keep the sales data intact. Not only does this add up to the in-store machinery cost, but it is also difficult for the staff to manage because they already have a lot on their plate.
At the moment, most of the POS systems at Bozzuto’s utilize a Windows operating system. We have very recently updated them to the Windows 10 platform. While this does give us expanded capabilities, it also drains a good amount from us. Moreover, these in-house infrastructures are equally challenging to handle. Unlike the easy-to-use applications, the POS systems require a lot more work and staff engagement, which requires further training.
All in all, retailers are only as effective as the data they use—whether this is for inventory selection, tracking sales, or customer communications. When making decisions on product selection, looking at metrics from all channels is key, and that is where having a robust POS can make all the difference.
Understanding Your Customers
While thriving in a customer-oriented market, it is paramount to be available for them at all times. Going by the rapid change in the lifestyle, today, consumers buy food products four-five times a week. The demands are more elaborate and varied, as well. In order to make an individual a regular customer, retailers need to ensure that they can cater to the customer’s needs at all times and in every possible way. At Bozzuto’s, we are continually introducing newer products and ensuring that our supply chain can respond quickly to the market needs. Here at Bozzuto’s, we also make sure our inventory is stocked up with high-quality seasonal and perennial products.
The Future of POS
The retail marketing domain is very volatile. At the beginning of this decade, we saw the growth of e-commerce and technological adoption into target outlets and supermarkets. Today, we have come to crossroads where not only has the technological advancement deepened but has also become more diverse. This is has made the leaders of the retail domain believe in the power of technology and hence, convinced them to invest more time and capital. In the next 12-24 months, I think there is going to be a continued increase in the adoption of technologies like automation and robotics. The proliferation of more self-checkout and self-billing technology into the stores will also reduce human labor.