The importance of technology at retail

The importance of technology at retail

Technology is every retailer’s favorite employee. You know, the one that comes in early, stays late, never complains about the weather, and is always eager to jump in and contribute.  Technology is the employee that makes sure your inventory is correct, the shelves are kept full, and receipts are tallied at the end of each day.  It lets the store manager focus on their customers and the competition. 

Technology is the backbone of any business. It can be anything from a series of spreadsheets all the way to the fully integrated systems that manage every aspect of the business. 

So, what technology is most valuable to the retailer and why? This question can best be answered by the retailer’s goals.  In its simplest form, retail is selling those things that people want to buy. Technology should address and support each and every need the retailer has. 

How do you use technology in your store?

An analogy: if your business was a car, the technology is the gas that makes it go. Better technology can make to go faster and be more environmentally friendly. 

This week at EXPO East I will be discussing the importance of technology in retail with other leading experts in the Technology Winners In Grocery seminar at 4 p.m. Wednesday. We will discuss more in depth how to maximize technology to help you build and grow sustainable sales and more effectively compete with the most sophisticated retailers.

Technology is everywhere in today's modern society. It touches everything. The more we understand it and embrace it, the more we can harness its power to help us in every aspect of our lives.

We will be discussing several types of technologies along with the benefits they provide. Some of the technologies we will be discussing include: POS systems, order management systems, employee time management systems and retailer accounting systems.

One key aspect of technology is that it allows you to set and then measure goals. For example, if you have a goal to increase sales by 5%, how do you know when you've reached your goal? It's easy to look at the cash register at the end of the day and calculate a 5% increase in sales. However, that doesn't take into account what it took to earn that 5% increase. Did it require more labor? Did you sell more products? Did you miss any sales due to out-of-stocks, etc? More importantly, how well did you satisfy your customer’s needs? While it's possible to calculate answers to all of these questions manually, it can be very time-consuming. As the complexity increases, the accuracy decreases.

Technology can make this simple. With the right technology, support, and know-how, you can accurately predict the amount of sales expected during a promotion. With the right technology you can better manage inventory, improve product assortments, reduce out-of-stocks, maximize promotional effectiveness, etc. Technology lets you better satisfy your core customers by allowing you to focus on their needs.

A key area of our discussion will also center around the integration of the different systems mentioned above. This is where the true strength of technology in retail becomes evident.

Join us Wednesday afternoon in Baltimore.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Daniel Lohman logois the owner of Category Management Solutions (CMS) which provides innovative strategic solutions for natural and organic CPG companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage.

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