For years now, the retail and restaurant industries have been heavily influenced by customer service-centric innovations such as e-commerce, online ordering and loyalty programs. Most experts have said for small mom-and-pops to survive, they must adopt technologies that deliver the same or better experiences as their online competitors. Today, this advice is even more relevant. If you have merchants—retail or restaurant—who haven’t yet adopted technologies that give them an online footprint, it’s time for a serious discussion. Here are the steps you’ll have to walk them through.
- Obtain or implement the right software. First thing, retailers need an e-commerce platform and restaurants need online ordering software. In both cases, the obvious goal is to put goods online and make it convenient for customers to shop from home. There’s a decent chance you’re already selling POS software that includes online capabilities, making the upgrade for your customers reasonably quick and straightforward. In the event you lack online capabilities, your customers might need a third-party integration. Restaurants will need a website for accepting online orders or partner with services such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. In either case, there must be integration with the kitchen so the staff can easily prepare orders to specification.
- Do marketing. The next step is letting customers know they can place orders online with marketing. If your merchant has been collecting email addresses from customers, it’s time to put them to use by messaging people with the news. This CRM functionality is often baked in. In addition to a dedicated message, merchants should also consider targeted social media ads that spread the word.
- Create a fulfillment strategy. When customers do place an order, it’s important merchants have a fulfillment strategy. Many e-commerce platforms will include integrations to USPS, UPS, and FedEx to make it easy to ship products quickly. Retailers can also consider a BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) strategy. BOPIS, also known as click-and-collect, gives customers the convenience of online shopping but allows them to avoid shipping delays by picking up the items at their convenience. There are also no costs for shipping, which saves the customer or the retailer money. In addition, BOPIS brings customers into the store for potential upsell opportunities. One recent study shows that 85% of shoppers make additional in-store purchases when they pick up items they purchased online.
- Consider payments. When a purchase occurs, the payments portion of a transaction must be secure and streamlined. For in-store purchases, use payment terminals that can accommodate gift and loyalty cards, as well as NFC transactions. For flexibility, consider mobile payment devices that can be used for curbside pickup of goods.
- Engage with customers. Online customers leave a digital footprint in the form of their email address that makes it possible to engage with them post purchase. Leverage the list to offer loyalty incentives. Use shopping histories to conduct satisfaction surveys, offer sales for similar products and more. In no time, the customer list will become a merchant’s most valuable asset for driving future sales.
Without e-commerce or online ordering capabilities, it might not be possible for merchants to survive in the long-term. For assistance in quickly delivering these types of solutions to your customers, contact Ingram Micro’s DCPOS expert, Angie Lawrence
VIEW VIRTUAL EVENTS