In most parts of the world, retail businesses are struggling to make a profit. People are cutting back on what they’re spending. A recent poll conducted by the Motley Fool found that 38% of Americans intended to spend less. This is bad news for retailers who at the same time are seeing the cost of their overheads soar.
Not surprisingly, in this commercial environment, many entrepreneurs are reluctant to spend more of their hard-earned profits on modern technology. But it’s those who do who are most likely to survive and thrive in the current climate.
It is the resellers who will end up working most efficiently, meaning their profit margins will be the highest. Giving them the opportunity to cut their prices just a little more than their competitors. With value for money now being the primary factor people consider when deciding who to buy from, being the most efficient business is now critical to success.
But you have to buy the right technology and introduce it in the right way. This is the subject of this article.
A taste of the benefits that the right technology can provide
Before we delve into how to decide what type of technology to invest in, let’s take a look at what’s available:
Point-of-sale digital technology: this technology offers the opportunity to repurpose old tablets or iPads and use them as cashiers (POI)
· Stock Control Software – The right POI program can be connected to your stock control system, so when something is sold it is immediately reordered. Or, if you prefer, flagged so that someone can manually look at the sales history for that product and other factors to decide whether to order them. Always having what consumers want available while ensuring you never have more money than you need tied up in inventory is hugely good for the business.
· Digital Screens – For decades, these screens have been essential tools for retailers. They are used to perform many functions behind the scenes. Retailers are increasingly using advertising and promotions that are displayed on digital window signage and electronic sandwich panels to entice passers-by into their stores. They are also replacing the posters with electronic versions. As well as the implementation of touch screens that allow customers to get their questions answered or to return goods without the need to speak to a member of staff.
How to be sure that new technology will be cost effective
The above is just a taste of what’s available, and as you can see, implementing these technologies in your stores has the potential to be beneficial. But it’s still important to analyze the numbers to make sure investing in them is indeed feasible for your particular business.
You have to calculate the ROI. Use this article to help you do that. Remember to factor in the running and maintenance costs of the equipment. Plus any training your staff may need.
Ways to make investing in technology easier financially
If you like the look of a particular technology but don’t have the money to implement it yet, don’t give up on the idea. Instead, look at ways to spread the costs. You could get an equipment loan or rent what you need instead of buying it outright.
In some places, companies get together to buy things at a discount. The fact that they are buying in bulk gives them the bargaining power to save money.
Becoming a beta tester is another way to cut costs. Most companies like to test their technology in real-life settings, using beta testers, before making it more widely available. When you’re willing to give them in-depth feedback and access to your data, they usually won’t charge you anything for the equipment.
Invest time to keep up with innovation
The world of retail is in a constant state of change. So is the technology that is available to resellers. As a result, you have to keep up. You don’t want to give your competitors an edge by being the latest adopter of a technology that can help you work more efficiently.
Regularly review what’s available and evaluate whether adopting an innovation will benefit your business or not. You should also review any technologies you have previously rejected. There’s a good chance that the price has come down or that the way your business has evolved means the savings are high enough to make adoption cost-effective.