RETAIL SURVIVAL - 7 WAYS TO CUT COSTS

01 May 2012

Retail success is all about adapting quickly to changing conditions. Holding off until ‘normal’ conditions return isn’t an option – this is already the ‘New Normal’. Now is the time to get really focused on your customers and to get the basics right. Futura Retail Solutions explains how good retail habits and continued small improvements to systems and processes will give you the edge.

Save Money1. Deepen your understanding

Only by knowing why customers choose your designs and are loyal to your brand can you replicate success. That means asking questions, ensuring preferences, value and purchase histories are properly logged and capturing information at every touch point - the till, online and increasingly with mobile devices across the store.

2. Commit to accurate data

Eliminating inaccurate data and duplication is essential if you want to see your true stock position, avoid disappointed customers, lost sales and ineffective promotions. It’s a crucial area to get right and by including data capture in the sales process you can use technology to your advantage and liberate staff to focus more on interacting with customers.

3. Create ‘value based’ promotions

Use your customer purchase history, to see the best selling products and then segment your customers by age and preference to improve your offers, ensuring they are meaningful rather than wasted. Create ‘value based’ offers to tempt customers with compelling promotions that cannot be missed and maximise customer spend.

4. Speed up processes

With so much to do, ‘workflows’ to automate the follow-up of simple tasks, or to alert staff when a decision is needed can be really beneficial. Modern retail management systems will allow you to create ‘event driven’ workflows for specific users or tasks, with on-screen prompts and guidance, and these will ensure processes are completed correctly and accurately. It is another way to help you remain on top of your game – while reducing costs and operational errors.

5. A nudge in the right direction

Getting tough on inventory to minimise stock exposure, reduce capital outlay and costly markdowns is your priority. Use short-term profit reports to identify top sellers and worst performers, and react faster to customer trends. Try to balance the optimal amount of stock, in the right location, automatically. If you need a nudge in the right direction, intelligent stock replenishment will spot opportunities for allocations between store to web and inter-branch transfers, before placing new orders.

6. Increase POS security

Discounting, refunding and quick price changes at each till keep customer queues to a minimum. Meanwhile, to improve security upgrade your tracking and authorisation levels to get stronger access control and simplify settings to highlight suspicious user behaviour.

7. Get Focused

By using the tools you have to improve efficiency and cut costs, you can focus on doing the basics extremely well. Revisiting these good habits will help you buck the trend. By refocusing, focusing on understanding your customer and using IT to improve processes and efficiencies, you can realign your business for the New Normal – and you’ll be far stronger when better times return.