Omni Retail: It's All About Connectivity and Performance

LS Retail | 19 February 2015

Omni Retail: It's All About Connectivity and Performance
More and more retailers are embracing digital technologies, which are expected to increase to 50 percent of in-store sales in the US by year-end. Digital’s effect is positively impacting store traffic, conversion, order size, and loyalty. Retail leaders have a tremendous opportunity to harness the power of digital, ingrain it into the DNA of their organizations to enhance the customer experience and, in turn, their bottom line. Still, as was made crystal clear in numerous presentations by retail and IT experts at this year’s NRF “Big Show” in New York, a noticeable divide separates shoppers’ digital needs and expectations from the experiences retailers are actually able to provide them. Bridging this gap requires a comprehensive strategy that looks beyond the rigid confines of “in-store” and “online” to embrace a much more integrated approach, one that places digital at the heart of the modern retail shopping experience. To innovate in an omni-channel world, retailers need to get rid of the constraints of thinking by channel, but also must test and learn concepts — and pay attention to what’s happening outside of the retail industry. One problem retailers have traditionally had is consistently being late in giving consumers what they want. The seamlessness of mobile is still not in place, and there's a lot more progress that can be made to bring it up to par with the desktop experience David Bakke, retail expert for MoneyCrashers, says ensuring quality is one of the biggest challenges for retailers adopting an omni-channel sales strategy: “If you quickly put together a mobile app in order to increase your sales, but it doesn’t function properly, not only will the customer not have a good experience, but it will damage your overall brand in your other channels,” says Bakke. An intriguing piece assembled by Software Advice, an online resource for point-of-sale technology, shows that many retailers have been slow to adopt Web-based software. This is apparent when comparing the retail sector to other markets, where buyers’ preferences for Web-based software rose tremendously in recent years. In the human resources market, for instance, over 70 percent of buyers wanted to evaluate Web-based software applications. Retailers are coming along, though. According to “Software Advice,” 42 percent of software buyers wanted to replace their existing POS or other retail software. Software replacement was most driven by buyers’ needs for more robust functionality (37 percent). Customer-driven functionality (e.g., CRM, loyalty programs) was requested by 49 percent of buyers. Many retailers are offering free in-store Wi-Fi and mobile-friendly retail websites optimized for different kinds of personal devices. Wal-Mart, eBay and Amazon have already created convenient mobile customer experiences. “Software Advice” expects retailers’ preferences for Web-based products to increase, especially as price-conscious buyers become more familiar with the cost-savings typically associated with Web-based systems. Mobile and hand-held devices will be the driver of this dramatic retailing trend. A few pertinent numbers:
  • An estimated 65 % of the world will be using a mobile phone by 2015;
  • Over 80 % of internet usage will be through handheld devices;
  • In the next three years, global e-commerce sales made via mobile devices are expected to top $638 billion. This is about the size of the world’s entire e-commerce market just a year ago.
This fundamental shift is also taking place in the restaurant sector. Many of us have by now visited a restaurant using tablets for ordering and/or paying. Earlier this year, “Software Advice” found that over 15 percent of buyers wanted POS software that was compatible with iPads and other tablet devices. At the same time, 54 percent of restaurant patrons said they would be willing to use a tablet device to place an order, pay their tab or both.

Millennials, who grew up on the Internet, are rapidly spreading and ingesting information about products. By the next decade, the millennial generation is expected to displace baby boomers as the US’s biggest consumer buying group, generating a projected $1.4 trillion in spending by 2020, according to Accenture research. Millennials are of particular interest to retailers and restauranteurs, as they climb onto the ‘bandwith‘ bandwagon.

This is where LS Retail’s line-up of omni and mobile solutions comes into play for those in the retail and hospitality fields. Our LS Nav update for 2015 has many user-friendly features for customers and shop owners alike. We’ve already described one useful new feature, “Click and Collect,“ in an earlier blog on our website. LS Retail’s updated LS Nav POS is a fast, dependable and powerful POS application with a graphic user interface, working online or offline for optimal resilience with constant online benefits. POS now stands for Point of Service. Only a one-click process is needed to install a POS on a new device. All settings of features and processes are done centrally. They are then distributed to terminals with zero need for input at the store location. LS Nav POS offers the traditional stationary POS terminal and a mobile POS with which staff can finalize transactions. The Mobile POS gives the staff not just a transaction closing device but can empower less-experienced salesperson by giving them access to relevant information about the customer, items and price and offers available. The POS global search engine makes it possible for even the novice store staff member to find items and all relevant information. Now sales staff can take the POS device with them to the customer instead of sending the customer to the POS device, thereby creating a great customer store experience. With the new exciting LS Omni channel, customers can create an order when they want and where they want. The POS device in the store is used for collection of the order by the customer or shipment to the customer. The POS support simple and easy controllable processes. Staff are led through processes to guarantee productivity and quality of service. All usage is logged which gives management the ability to analyze and practice loss prevention to deliver profitability. LS POS can be used with both keyboard and touch screen equipment, and offers features that make sales transactions easy to set up, manage and process. LS POS sets new standards for speed, ease-of-use and error-free processing of retail sales. That’s all for now.  More to come shortly!