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Annemarie Jonsson | 30 April 2024

Enhancing in-store experiences: the power of unified retail management software

Enhancing in-store experiences: the power of unified retail management software

Despite consumers’ increasing preference for online shopping, the 2024 State of Retail and the Consumer report by the National Retail Federation found that 80% of purchases still happen in-stores. As a retailer, being able to deliver the kind of quick and seamless shopping experience customers expect is essential for creating a loyal customer base. But things can get complicated if you’re still using many software solutions to manage your business, you likely don’t have the visibility you need into your data, making it almost impossible to keep up with consumer demands and maintain a good quality of service.

That’s why many businesses are choosing to switch to a single, comprehensive retail management system, which allows them to unify all the different parts of their business in one platform. If you’ve thought about introducing this kind of technology into your retail business but aren’t sure how it will affect your customers, here are six benefits to consider.

1. Simplify the returns process

How frustrating is it when you go to a store to make a return for something you bought online, only to be told: “Sorry, we don’t carry this item at this location.” Modern consumers expect the same level of service no matter where they shop with you; that also means that if they buy an item online, they also want the opportunity to return it in-store, to a location that’s closest to them. According to research from Happy Returns, 67% of consumers say that in-person returns are their number one preferred return option.

But if you’re still using multiple systems, providing this kind of consistency across channels is a challenging feat – one that will likely lead to inefficiencies and errors that end up frustrating customers more than delighting them. A single retail management makes this process much easier by unifying your physical and digital channels, so you can connect the customer journey both online and offline. This simplifies the returns process significantly, allowing customers to return items in-store – whether they were purchased online or at another one of your store locations – increasing their satisfaction with your service and making them more likely to return.

2. Tailor the shopping experience

Customers want to make sure that the businesses they choose to shop with understand their unique needs and expectations. But using a patchwork of systems won’t give you the insight you need into your customer data; you can’t make sense of what they purchase at your physical stores, and at which locations, when, or how often, making it difficult to understand exactly what they’re looking for and how you can better cater to their needs.

With comprehensive retail management software, you can collect all your customer and sales data into a single database – no matter where you customers made their purchase – and view it in real-time, allowing you to understand what products are selling well, and which ones could use a little extra help. That way, you can devise strategies that tailor the shopping experience to what your customers are looking for. For example, you may notice a sudden spike in sales of yellow rain boots and decide to put those at the front of the store – or sell them at a buy one, get one half off deal!

3. Offer diverse services

More and more retailers are moving beyond traditional retail to differentiate themselves from competitors. Brands like Golf Galaxy offer personal fitting appointments to help customers find the right golf clubs, as well as repair services for those who need their equipment fixed, on top of their other sales. Other brands like sportswear retailer Alo offer yoga and meditation classes in select locations. But managing a diverse set of services like these also requires robust software that can help you keep track of appointments and deliver the best service to your customers.

When you use a single retail management system instead of multiple, you can easily manage all your value-added services on the same system you use for your typical retail operations - whether it’s workshops, classes, consultations, pop-up events, and more. So, for example, you can easily check in the system what customers have booked your services and allocate the necessary resources – like assigning the right stylist or reserving a room for the woodworking class – while also avoiding errors that could compromise the experience (like overbooking a time slot or losing a booking altogether!).

4. Ensure accurate stock count

One of the most upsetting things that can happen to a customer is if they walk into your store only to find out that the product they were looking for is no longer in stock. Yikes! They may even ask: do you know when it’ll be available again? But if your answer is no, they may choose to leave your store without purchasing anything, or shop somewhere else altogether.

If you’re still using manual inventory and replenishment processes, chances are that instances like this are a common occurrence. You may be stocking way more of a product than gets sold, or stocking too little, so it flies off the shelves. But comprehensive retail management software like LS Central gives you the ability to see all your inventory in real time and automate replenishment processes. This way, you always know exactly how much stock you have on hand, in which sizes, colors, styles, etc., and how much you need to reorder to meet demand. By keeping an accurate view of your stock, you can ensure the right products are stocked on your shelves and minimize the risk of lost sales due to stockouts.

5. Equip employees better on the sales floor

Have you ever been to a store and felt like you spent forever looking for an employee to help you? And by the time you found one, they couldn't even give you the information you needed? Despite modern shoppers becoming more and more independent, the customer service they receive still highly impacts their view of your brand.

When you use a single retail management solution, you can easily equip your employees with mobile devices or tablets to assist customers faster on the sales floor. For example, maybe a customer wants to know if you have the running shoes in a size 9. Because the devices all connect to the same system, your staff can access real-time product availability and help customers accordingly. No more running back and forth to look for items in the back! Employees can even make stockroom requests for items and get them delivered to the customer directly on the shop floor, or request items from another store, without taking up too much time or risking potential miscommunication.

6. Add the right mix of checkout options

In today's day and age, customers have become accustomed to completing their purchases on their own. Most retailers have already introduced some form of self-checkout into their business, but the demand for speedy service is always changing, with new innovations constantly forming on the market. Selecting a single retail management solution like LS Central makes it easy to add self-checkout options into your physical stores without the need for complex integrations. This allows you to introduce more self-checkout registers (or scale back) and not have to worry about long implementation times that might slow down your sales. Plus, you can introduce mobile self-scanning options in almost no time at all, like ScanPayGo, which lets customers use their mobile phones or a retail-provided device to scan items off the shelves and pay for them directly through the app. This makes it easier for you to let customers checkout their preferred way, and depending on your customer base, you can offer a mix of traditional and self-checkout options or rely solely on self-checkout technology – whichever is the right choice for your business!


Wondering if LS Central is right for your retail business? Let’s talk. Contact our experts to discover the difference a unified retail management system can make.

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