Excellent customer service, as I am wont to remind readers, is inseparable from easy access to – and effective management of – inventory. For the fact is consumers are so mobile, and they do a lot of shopping on their mobile devices, that they expect the in-store experience to equal (at a minimum) the online offerings of a specific retailer.
These expectations also include respect from an attentive sales force, competitive prices and a full selection of items to review, sample or buy. Remember: Failure to meet these needs will send these shoppers to another site, with nothing more than the click of a mouse.
Put another way, there cannot be delays or disappointments. Period.
That means there must be best-in-breed order management solutions, in addition to creative approaches to merchandising and inventory curation.
According to the team at SalesWarp, a leading source of inventory management solutions:
“These features – advanced inventory management technology and innovative ideas from a retailer – are critical for success in a marketplace in which global brands have huge influence.
“The other factor involves developing new merchandising ideas that expand market share. This process requires repeated testing and measurements of what works. It is an evolutionary undertaking with potentially revolutionary benefits.”
The technology factor is, alas, something too many retailers overlook, whose importance these merchants attempt (at their own risk) to deny or diminish.
That is a very dangerous – and ultimately catastrophic – attitude to take, since the only way for an independent retailer to earn the loyalty of consumers and positive press coverage is through a combination of inventiveness and reliability.
An independent retailer must ensure the availability of the merchandise it advertises, as well as the convenience (to consumers) of retrieving items from said merchandise with speed.
Give customers, in other words, the peace of mind they want; the comfort they deserve to receive.
That philosophy is an attitude that enables a business, however valuable, to become a brand, which is invaluable.
That outlet is a chance for a retailer to thrive.
(Disclaimer: I am not an employee of, an investor in or a consultant to any company referenced in this piece. I maintain a strict code of professional independence, free of conflicts of interest.)