How an outdated retail system could be destroying your business
The retail management system you use is at the heart of your business efficiency. It keeps operations smooth, connects all parts of your business, and helps you deliver services and experiences that meet and go beyond your customers’ expectations. Still, many retailers operate outdated technology. Often, these patched-together systems can’t sync information properly, are hard and costly to maintain and don’t allow retailers to deliver the services that consumers demand. Although many retailers are afraid of the investment required by a new system, outdated tech may be already costing them more than a complete technology overhaul. Some red flags to look out for if you are using outdated technology are:
You can’t offer click and collect or curb side pickup
Click and collect – also known as BOPIS, for Buy Online and Pick up In Store – is one of the most sought-after services by consumers. Curb side pickup has been around for a few years, but it surged in popularity during the pandemic. Both options are expected to remain in high demand with shoppers, as they bridge the gap between ecommerce and physical retail, and are both highly convenient and – when needed – contactless. Click and collect also holds benefits for retailers, as it has been shown to lead to larger shopping baskets as customers add unplanned items when they go pick up their purchases.
You don’t give customers visibility into the inventory
Today, two out of three consumers check if the item they are looking for is available before they head out to shop, the IBM Institute for Business Value reports. If you don’t give visibility into what products are available in your stores, customers may not make the trip to your store at all. Yet, only around one third of retailers give customers access to accurate product availability across store locations, and 45% offer no access to inventory at all, according to data by Sapio Research. It’s not just consumers that don’t get the visibility they need. Less than 15% of retailers give their store associates effective inventory visibility across channels, according to BRP research. This means that sales staff can’t, for example, tell customers whether an item they desire is in stock in another store location, or instantly offer a suitable replacement.
It’s complex and time-consuming to change prices or implement new offers or promotions
When you are running your business on several separate systems, even basic activities like running promotions and changing prices can become complex and costly. Even changing prices can be difficult, when your IT setup hinders you. Auto Milovanovic, a specialty retail company selling spare car parts, used to keep its price tables on separate databases and Excel documents. Finding or changing prices was very time consuming – and since the process was manual, mistakes happened.
You spend a lot of money on system maintenance.
In a recent study by Stripe, almost 70% of UK developers said their businesses are being held back by outdated and custom-built technology systems. Over 17 hours a week (almost half of a working week!) are wasted on system maintenance tasks, including debugging, patching old systems and fixing bad code. Stripe estimates that outdated, legacy systems have a negative impact on global GDP amounting to around $300 billion per year.
To achieve effective digital transformation, retailers must ditch the disconnected, outdated systems that are limiting their visibility and their ability to compete, and upgrade to a unified commerce platform. Unified commerce unites all parts of the business within one common platform, which is used across the enterprise, across physical and online stores. When all your key business information – from customer data, to products, and financials – is stored in a single place, it can easily be shared in real time across the whole company.
LS Central offers retailers an award-winning unified commerce platform solution.