There’s no doubt about it. From online grocery orders to pop-up Instagram shops, ecommerce is a fabulous vertical for many consumer goods. So where does that leave retail? Is retail doomed?
The short answer: no! Retail isn’t dying, but it’s evolving into a fundamentally different form. In the past, brick and mortar stores could do just fine as generalists - offering a little of everything. But ecommerce totally disrupted that system. Today, retailers see the greatest success not as jacks-of-all-trades, but rather as specialists. Whether that specialty is product, experience or audience, payment service providers need to guide retailers toward the niche they can thrive in.
While ecommerce may offer an unlimited selection, there will always be consumer needs that online shopping can’t touch. For specialized purchases, retail has a clear advantage. Amazon may have a selection of 100 different kayaks, but that doesn’t help you make the right choice for an upcoming trip. In cases like these, there’s no replacement for a knowledgeable, experienced staff member. If your merchants can develop reputation of helpful assistance and product expertise, they’ll have an unbeatable edge over the online giants. By reframing the experience as more than price alone, retailers can build customer loyalty even when they can’t always meet a lowball online price.
“Local” is the touchstone for today’s consumers. Just consider the death of the suburban shopping mall, a direct result of shifting consumer preferences. Consumers don’t want generic, nationwide brands and big-box department stores, Instead, they value local community and personalized experiences.
In this niche, local retailers have a major advantage over large brands. These small businesses are seeing growth well above general industry averages. Local wineries, local restaurants, local pie shops: people love to support businesses to which they feel a personal connection. Now is a great time for small businesses to jump on this trend.
In some verticals, consumers will always be better served by retail shopping. Sure, some people will use high-tech, online grocery ordering. But most folks will still find themselves hitting the grocery store on the way home from work. And there’s really no online alternative to dashing into the c-store to grab a hot coffee while filling up the tank. These market segments will always need a retail presence. However, it’s important to help your merchants find ways to optimize their POS processes to maintain an edge over their competition.
For small retailers, every penny counts. Consider whether your retailers’ POS systems are helping or hurting their bottom line. Does their POS system help your retailers provide an efficient, personalized shopping experience? Or does it inconvenience customers and staff with inflexible hardware and limited payment options?
By migrating your merchants to POS tablet systems and mPOS solutions, you can help them build on their strengths as local, flexible and responsive businesses. Feature-rich POS tablets help retailers manage a full range of purchasing, promotional, and business management needs, an added bonus for cash-strapped entrepreneurs.
What’s more, with these versatile systems, startup costs are lower than ever. Consider SoftPoint’s hospitality line, PaySafe’s retail solutions, DishOut’s campus commerce and Verifone’s Carbon for QSR, to name just a few. With the right POS infrastructure, your merchants can thrive in today’s retail market.