How Has the Internet Changed the Retail Industry?

The Internet is continually evolving and changing the way we do business in this world. It is now practically mandatory for a retail store to have an online presence. Having a website with your location and contact information is important but more and more retailers are also offering their products to be purchased online. Beyond e-commerce, social networking has redefined how we do business as well. Retailers are realizing the value of offering their fans and followers exclusive deals online because it increases customer loyalty and, in turn, increases profits. All of these changes have affected the expectations of consumers and in order to capitalize on these changes, it is important for retailers to cater to these new preferences. Here is a rundown of ways in which online culture has affected traditional brick and mortar stores.

Information is power

Knowledgeable sales associates are vital to retail stores. This is the Information Age and nearly all customers expect that if they have a question about a product, then the employee helping them knows the answer. If the associate doesn’t know, they better be able to find out quickly. When a customer can click on their smartphone and find out more information than a person in front of them can offer, why would they bother visiting your store? Customer service is more than just a friendly smile – it is a willingness to learn and to know the important points about your product.

Short Lines

There are plenty of people nowadays who will see a long line at a store, put down their merchandise and buy their choices online instead – unless they find something else they like better along the way. With the option of shopping at home, in one’s pajamas, retail stores have to make additional effort to make shopping at their store pleasant. Making sure that lines move quickly and efficiently is a key strategy to doing so. Having point of sale software that allows you to streamline the purchasing process will reduce wait time for your customers. Otherwise you risk losing customers to online retail, where you cannot guarantee they will end up buying from you once they’ve done their search.

Comprehensive Inventory

Making sure that you have sufficient inventory in stock for your customers is another important shift in this online world. If you are out of something in your store, you can point customers to buying it online. But unless you actually order the product for them, there is no way to guarantee that sale. And unless the customer is very specific about getting your particular product, chances are even if you offer to order it for them, they’ll politely decline and insist that they can order it themselves when they get home. By the time they get home, they may have decided they don’t really need your product. Or they may decide to shop around and find something else they like. This is another case for a good point of sales software for your retail store. A good POS system can track your inventory, alert you when you need to reorder and also keep track of what is selling quickly and what is not. You’ll find that you can offer a much more satisfactory experience to your customers when you have the right tools helping you manage your store.