Vice President of Business Enablement
Disruption, interrupters, apocalypse – those buzzwords from 2017 are probably on the list of things you’re sick of hearing about. Now that Business Insider has reported that U.S. retail is growing $200 billion year-over-year, maybe the bad news will settle down once and for all and you can focus on a retail strategy that includes technology planning, real estate planning and people planning.
The silver lining in all the doomsday news of the past year is that it has highlighted opportunities to better connect with consumers. As a result, we know many stores that are currently evaluating their technology capabilities as part of their retail strategy for the upcoming year. Replacing, refreshing and reinvigorating seem to be top themes.
As you take a look at your equipment and the software that you’re running in your stores, ask yourself if it’s holding you back from growing your operations or hindering customer interactions. Before you decided to scrap it all and start from scratch consider whether there are opportunities to perhaps tweak some key areas instead of reinventing the wheel.
While Neiman Marcus has its own innovation center to develop cutting-edge technologies most retailers simply do not have the budget or resources to allocate to innovation at this level. Partnering with a firm who specializes in technology planning can essentially provide you with your own innovation center and give you a resource to help you sort through all your options.
Real Estate Planning
When the final numbers come in for 2017 and it’s time to evaluate your store locations to see which ones are performing well and those that are struggling, it can be overwhelming to manage all the decisions and logistics that go with it. Since store closings are part of a healthy retail ecosystem to keep the market in balance, and they can be just good business, we see many retailers getting creative as they work to right size their footprint. Kohl’s for example, decided to downsize and rent out unused space.
If store closings, remodels or openings are on the horizon for you, it’s a major undertaking to deal with the project management of all the different moving parts and sorting through the technology you’ve invested time and money into. Sometimes it makes sense to engage with a technology partner to manage the project from equipment configuration and deployment to onsite activities like installs, de-installs and cabling. Things get even more complex when you have to deal with the de-installed or surplus equipment that’s left to determine whether it can be transferred to another store, needs to be disposed of responsibly or can be sold.
It’s easy to lose focus on the people-factor when you’re formulating your retail strategy for the year. As you move forward on your plans, remember to get buy in from your store associates for any new initiatives, especially technology-related ones.
Mobile solutions are high on the must-have list for retailers because of their positive impact on both customers and in-store associates. This highly personal technology puts your sales associates in front of your customers armed with information to make them better sales people and better customer service representatives of your brand, giving your loyal shoppers a better in-store shopping experience. In the end it’s about the people using the technology – both your customers and your employees – that matters.
There are a lot of solutions to choose from if this is the direction you’re heading with your retail strategy this year. Consider that a technology partner can save you time and money in the long run to make sure that you choose the best mobile solution to fit your needs.
Find the Right Technology Partner for Your Retail Strategy
Planning is the easy part. Executing your retail strategy is not quite so easy. And if you’re like most retailers we work with, your business keeps asking you to do more with fewer resources.
That’s why many retailers turn to Mainstreet project management services to help them with everything from picking the best technology to complement their operations, to deploying new technologies, or to managing the technology side of a store closing. Check our many services we offer retailers.
Contact us to learn more about how we can make implementing your retail strategy easier for you.