How can the retail industry manage increased in-store sales?
Retail sales in physical stores continue to record a mix of profit and losses as the world returns to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. While some brands have seen increased retail sales in physical stores, others continue to struggle to attract physical customers and have moved their entire business online.
In the US, retail sales increased more than expected in October thanks to increased purchases of motor vehicles. The Commerce Department stated that retail sales rose 1.3% with economists forecasting sales accelerating at 1.0%.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s retail sales rose in October as eased pandemic restrictions have enabled more movement and increased spending. In Singapore, retail sales increased by 11.2% in September while Malaysia’s retail industry jumped 96% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2022.
Despite concerns about supply chain issues disrupting Christmas sales, many retail stores are now going all out to ensure they can make the most from the festive period sales. However, there are still several challenges stores face when it comes to retail sales.
Aside a shortage of workers, retail stores should ensure they are able to meet the demands of the modern customer. This includes the ability to provide the perfect shopping experience.
According to Perry Krug, Director of Shared Services at Couchbase, one major challenge facing retailers is how to converge the benefits of personalized, quick, online shopping experiences with their brick-and-mortar stores.
“Recent data suggests growth in in-store sales of non-food items last month, which demonstrates the ongoing appetite for bricks-and-mortar retail experiences from consumers. And with a widely predicted challenging period ahead for all businesses, retailers could look to introduce some of their key online benefits within their physical stores, to help them stand out from competitors,” commented Krug.
Krug pointed out that some retailers are already using digital agility to do just this. For instance, British clothing retailer Crew Clothing recently introduced a fully mobile sales solution that removed the need for fixed point-of-sale setups and drove faster, more personalized experiences.
Running on a high-performance database, Krug explained that the solution saw Crew staff use handheld tablets to deal with sales, refunds, and customer service requests. Crew soon implemented the solution across 100 of its retail stores, letting staff support customers from anywhere on the shop floor.
Krug also highlighted that with all the information and applications necessary for doing their jobs literally in their hands, Crew staff found themselves with extra time to attend to customers, instead of standing behind a desk. The shop floor could also feature larger displays and hold more stock.
“As cases like this show, instantaneous and personalized shopping experiences needn’t be the sole preserve of online retailers. On the contrary, there’s nothing stopping brick-and-mortar retailers from bringing some of the online shopping’s best features in-store,” added Krug.
While there is no denying that e-commerce sales are still proving to be more profitable for businesses, there should also be an emphasis on physical retail stores. Brands continue to increase their investments in improving the online shopping experience, however some attention should also be given to physical retail stores, especially if customers are still prioritizing them.
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