Supplier Panel Talks Retail Needs

Earlier this year, a team of suppliers met to discuss the strides retail is making in today’s e-commerce market. They discussed topics such as customer expectations and the increased need for updated inventory accuracy. All of this was focused on getting closer to real-time retail, the practice of providing customers with the goods they want, when and where they want them. With the current boom in e-commerce, it’s important that retailer can utilize the most recent tools and technological improvements.

Ways to Satisfy Today’s Customer

A big topic here was customer patience. Many customers avoid in-store lines by shopping online, and if they’re shopping online, they expect an on-time delivery. Customers know what is available to them—they are aware of how fast their orders can be processed and delivered.

Retailers have been working with their own space to meet these needs. Some stores have taken away unnecessary space and converted them into fulfillment centers. This extends the companys’ reach, and cuts down on delivery times because an item no longer has to come from farther away.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping too. RFID lets retailers track what they have throughout their supply chain, and all at the item-level. This gives retailers increased visibility as to what they have on-hand and lets them find items quickly.

Chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Taco Bell are taking advantage of the technology that their customers already have—their phones. Using mobile order-ahead-and-pay, a customers’ order is available when they arrive at the store. In under a year, Starbucks has moved from zero mobile orders to 7% of their orders completed this way.

Working with Technology to Enhance Customer Experience

Then, the discussion let to the actual, in-store customer experience. Generation Z says that they prefer shopping in-store rather than online, but a big requirement of that is mobile device facilitation. Young consumers want part of their shopping experience to include the use of their device. It’s up to the business to provide this service.

Another trend is providing associates with mobile tools. It’s important that an associate can provide a customer with accurate information. An associate with a mobile device has access to a wealth of company and product information.

Implementing these developments in stores does require some investment. It’s no surprise then, that among retail leaders, there has been a 194% increase in mobile technology investments compared to last year.

Find the right retail solution for your business here.

This blog post was based off of an article from STORES magazine. View the original.

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