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Alfa Sartori | 10 April 2023

Want to get more customers in your store? Open a café or a restaurant

Want to get more customers in your store? Open a café or a restaurant

Online shopping has revolutionized the way we shop, providing a vast array of items right at our fingertips from the comfort of our homes. That's why attracting customers to physical stores requires more than just a good product selection. Retailers are now embracing the concept of retail/food service mash-ups to enhance the in-store experience and draw customers in.

By offering real-life experiences and creating lasting memories, stores are providing something unique that online shopping cannot replicate. This strategy has gained popularity across various industries and budgets. In particular, luxury brands like Ralph Lauren and Alfred Dunhill have elevated the shopping experience by offering stylish bars and restaurants where customers can relax and socialize while surrounded by the brand's aesthetic.

In addition, adding a food service component can extend the amount of time customers spend in-store, increasing the likelihood of additional purchases. Retailers like Ikea have capitalized on this concept by providing Swedish restaurants within their stores, encouraging customers to make a day out of their shopping experience.

The trend isn't limited to high-end retailers; grocery stores, from major chains like WholeFoods, to Freshmart to local markets, were among the first to embrace the concept of in-store dining. By offering fresh, convenient meal options, these retailers cater to busy consumers looking to combine their shopping and dining needs in one trip.

Other brands have sought creative partnerships to shape special experiences for their customers: Uniqlo, the casualwear brand, joined forces with both Starbucks cafés and the Museum of Modern Arts. Customers can now browse Uniqlo clothes while sipping a hot drink and enjoying a work of art.

Shop and dine

The fusion of retail and hospitality is not just a passing trend; it's a strategic move that provides tangible benefits for retailers looking to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market. By integrating dining experiences into their stores, retailers can tap into the growing consumer demand for memorable, in-person interactions while also boosting sales and foot traffic.

More verticals = more challenges, but also more opportunities

Managing both retail and hospitality operations under one roof presents its own set of challenges. One of the most critical aspects is implementing a robust Point of Sale (POS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution that can seamlessly integrate both aspects of the business. This is where solutions like LS Central shine, providing retailers with a versatile management system capable of handling the complexities of multiple verticals.

With LS Central, which extends Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft’s #1 ERP solution globally, the retailers can streamline operations, ensure consistent financial data across all departments, and gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This comprehensive software solution enables retailers to optimize inventory management, streamline ordering and procurement processes, and improve overall efficiency.

Furthermore, by leveraging a unified POS and ERP system, retailers can enhance the customer experience by offering seamless transactions and personalized service. For example, with integrated loyalty programs and customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities, retailers can reward loyal patrons with exclusive offers and promotions tailored to their preferences.

In short, it's clear that merging retail and food service elements represents a significant opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. By leveraging innovative solutions like LS Central, retailers can effectively manage both aspects of their business, drive customer engagement, and ultimately increase revenue. With the right tools and strategies in place, retailers can successfully navigate the challenges and capitalize on the benefits of this evolving trend.

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