How the Face of Retail is Changing

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The face of retail is fundamentally changing. The days of brick and mortar stores are not yet over, but they have a number of other shopping avenues to compete with in today’s market. Online shopping giants like Amazon and eBay have substantially turned our attention and demand to the world of digital purchasing. This has meant more and more physical stores have had to close their doors. Online retailers have competitive advantages such as 24-hour purchasing, quick delivery and return options, as well as lower overhead without their store fronts and retail staff.

However, hope is not lost for brick and mortar shops. These retailers need to embrace new trends and technologies to attract their customers back into their stores. By taking a closer look at their initiatives, it will highlight how retail stores are adapting and thriving in this age inundated by online retail.

Digital Price Displays

When you go into a traditional supermarket you will see paper price tags aligned to each item on the shelf. When an item is on sale, you will often see a yellow or red piece of paper placed over that item’s original price. If you are a large supermarket with a wide range of inventory stock then changing prices on sale items or normal items can take several days. Now, with digital price displays, a supermarket can do a sweeping change to all inventory stock in a very short amount of time. Not only is this good for flash sales, but it is also advantageous if you are running low on certain inventory stock items.

Robots in Retail

It sounds futurist, but robots are coming into retail spaces and it’s becoming a huge point of difference. Robots can be a welcome and intriguing addition to a retail store. Robots are being used to put inventory stock on shelves. They ensure the shelves are promptly stocked, check for misplaced items and ensure that new inventory is ordered if stock runs low. Robots are also used to answer queries from customers and they can point them in the right direction.

A Quiet Hour

Retailers have the opportunity to serve their community in a public space that is not available for those who prescribe only to online retail. For parents who have autistic children, or for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, going into retail environments can be overwhelming and overstimulating. However, being out in public is an important part of everyday life. In response to this, stores like Countdown in New Zealand or Coles in Australia have recently adopted a quiet hour.

In the store they dim the lights, turn the music off and they remove big items from aisles such as employees (or robots) who are stocking the shelves. This minimises sensory stimulation for those with autism or sensory issues. It has had great success in providing an inviting place for new customers and has a positive impact on the community.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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