“Best Practices for Physical Inventories” + Special Video by Heartland Retail (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

“Best Practices for Physical Inventories” + Special Video by Heartland Retail (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

What is a physical inventory? An audit of a store’s inventory to confirm that what the point of sale says you have on hand is actually there, either on the store floor or in backstock. They help identify things like discrepant transfers, fulfillment errors, theft or products that were never received in or received incorrectly. While frequency can vary depending on size of your store, seasonality and staffing, performing one full physical inventory (PI)—or count—every six months is generally recommended. Because you’ll want to freeze your store’s inventory while doing so, schedule PIs after hours or on a day you are closed (remember to communicate any closures to your customers ahead of time!). Traditionally, PIs were done on paper or spreadsheets, but affordable, mobile technology has made this once dreaded task far more efficient for many retailers. Necessary Materials Mobile, cloud POS with inventory managementiPads (one for every member of the PI team is ideal)Bluetooth scannersA few empty baskets or boxesSanitizer to wipe down hardware in between usesWater and snacks Preparing the Store Dividing your store into scannable “batches” keeps both the physical space and operations organized. Draw a map of your store, including front andback of house.Section off manageable areas, including all fixtures:tables, shelves, racks and display cases—the smallerthe batches, the higher the accuracy.In the days leading up to the count, give your store aliteral sweep.Check for products under racks, in forgotten binsor dressing rooms, behind the cash wrap and everydark corner where something could be hiding.Tidy your backstock, making sure apparel is foldedand products are in the appropriate packaging.Confirm that everything is scannable: Every itemmust have a...
“Why Contactless Payments Are the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

“Why Contactless Payments Are the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by dowell The future always promises uncertainty. That said, all indications are that contactless payments are ingrained in brick-and-mortar retail for the long haul. Without massive unforeseen disruption, the COVID-assisted trend towards cashless, fully contactless checkout will gain further momentum. The 1,000 customers we surveyed in our State of Contactless Payments 2021 Report only confirmed our belief in contactless payments as an essential feature of retail businesses. Eighty-three percent of those customers have used contactless payments in the past 12 months. Furthermore, 57 percent will choose a business with contactless payment channels over a competitor without contactless payment options. We know that health is one driver of contactless payments. Mastercard, which has a crystal-clear view of consumer payment habits, saw a 40 percent increase in shoppers’ contactless payments amid the pandemic. We also know convenience is swaying customers to embrace contactless. Our data suggests that consumers have no plans of ditching contactless payment methods, even post-pandemic. Pandemic or no pandemic, shoppers like the convenience that tap-and-go, mobile wallets, apps, and other contactless channels provide. We firmly believe that contactless payments are the future of buying. We have the numbers to back it up. Related story: The Store of the Future: How to Evaluate the Value of Autonomous Technologies Customers Are Using Contactless Payments, and Nobody’s Forcing Them to The 83 percent of customers who used contactless payment channels in the past year did so under their own volition. Nobody forced them, and yet they chose to go contactless. Critics might say, “big deal, they tried contactless once. People will try anything once.” It’s a fair point. However, as we dug deeper into the data, we...
“Trek and Locally Hit the Road Together” by Mike Massey via Locally.com

“Trek and Locally Hit the Road Together” by Mike Massey via Locally.com

Consumer Behavior is Changing One of the most inescapable business themes of the past decade is the evolution of consumer shopping behavior. Nearly every business news story about consumers involves the application of new technology to everyday life. Whether it is something as simple as reserving a table for dinner or as complex as renting a vacation home in a foreign currency on the other side of the world, internet-based technologies have raised the bar for what’s expected in day-to-day commerce. Locally was founded by a group of retailers in 2013 to address the gap between what evolving consumers expect and what’s needed for local retailers and their suppliers to thrive. Identifying the Problem for Retailers When we read stories about how these changes have affected various industries, physical retail is often held up as an example of an industry that has failed to stay current with technology-based solutions. Stores have limited hours, significant physical location costs, a smaller assortments of merchandise, and usually require shoppers to get in a car and come to them. It’s easy to see why pundits would expect physical retail to be toppled by a more modernized shopping paradigm. Still, these issues are not insurmountable, and physical retail continues to play a major role in shopper behavior (arguably the largest). Stores like Apple and Lululemon that have combined digital and physical retail have absolutely thrived in recent years. It seems that having physical locations near customers is less of a problem than creating digital connections to shoppers. Locally has served as a natural extension of our business – and aligns perfectly with our goal...
“Why Inventory Management Matters” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

“Why Inventory Management Matters” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

It’s not easy to keep inventory in line. You analyze sales trends to make decisions. You review margins, sell-thru, and return on investment to evaluate profitability. You create buy plans, propose reorders and cancellations, and you suggest markdowns. All this just to keep your inventory in line. Inventory management is crucial to thesuccess of your business. Why? Because accurate purchase order planning is a necessary step towards optimal profit. Inventory influences sales.Sales drive business.Business creates profit.And profit measures success. Having the right product at the right place at the right time is the reason why sales occur, making it crucial to use all the information at your disposal to make inventory management decisions. When you’re not selling merchandise, you’re losing money. Period. The longer you hold on to merchandise that isn’t moving out the door, the more moneyyou are losing. In this article, we will share the 7 best practices on how best to manage your inventory, putting you in charge of you store’s success. When you’re not selling merchandise, you’re losing money. Period. Plan before you buyUse your data to plan out your assortment rather than reordering using the same quantities you always have for convenience’s sake. In the long run, profits beat convenience. Take the time to analyze which items are profitable and use past numbers as a guide to forecast future demand. Only after thoughtful data-driven planning should you start writing purchase orders. If you’re in the process of ordering merchandise for a particular season, use historical data as a benchmark for pricing decisions and sell-thru rates. Too often, merchants get stuck pricing seasonal or trend-driven...
“Top 5 Must-Have Features for a New POS System” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

“Top 5 Must-Have Features for a New POS System” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

A point-of-sale system must do more than process transactions. Your retail technology should enable you to collect, organize, and analyze data; maximize relationships with customers and brands; and create efficiencies. If you are in the market for a new POS, make sure these 5 features are included in your solution. Comprehensive Inventory Management and ReportingWhy have a POS if you’re still manually managing inventory? Figuring out what is on hand, what sold, and what you need to buy should be automated. You don’t have time for anything less.Consider: Sales and inventory go hand-in-hand. Look for a solution that includes features such as model stocks, purchase order suggestions, markdown management, and configurable reporting options. Aim for a cloud-based POS to enable real-time visibility into store performance anytime, anywhere. A good POS keeps you focused on what you do best which is making sales. Top 5 Must-Have Features for a New POS SystemIntegrated Payment Processing Customer Management ToolsWhy continue using complicated gateways or working with credit card companies that hide fees or change your rates all the time? Additionally, customers now bring big expectations for an easy checkout. Don’t let payment processing be a point of friction in your sales process. What drives your customers to your store/website? Do you know how to cross-sell? How are you maximizing follow-up opportunities? If you don’t have this information, you’re limiting your potential sales. Consider: Using an integrated payment processing will remove unnecessary fees, steps at check out, and save you time. Plus, customers get a simpler, better, and faster touchless checkout. Connectivity to BrandsQualified and Quality SupportDo you work closely enough with your...
“Five Keys to Unlocking Omnichannel Success” by Heartland Retail (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

“Five Keys to Unlocking Omnichannel Success” by Heartland Retail (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

87% of consumers are interested in apersonalized and consistent experienceacross all channels. Coupled with the fact that 71% of retailers planto offer their customers the ability to “start thesale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere,” andit’s obvious that no brand can afford to resist theomnichannel movement as the retail environmentcontinues to shift. Digital technologies are influencing the customerexperience across all channels. To compete, retailersmust rely on robust technology that allows themto collect the data most relevant to their business,integrates with best-of-breed retail technologypartners and gives them a 360-degree view of theirenterprise in real time. Merging this data, personalization and inventory visibilityacross all channels is necessary to create a seamlessexperience and optimize the omnichannel environment.So, here are five keys to unlocking omnichannel success: 1) Personalize Everything With eighty percent of consumers saying they aremore likely to do business with a company that offerspersonalized experiences, it’s obvious that the abilityto personalize customer interactions is critical toharmonized retail. Retailers must consistently collect customer data, learntheir preferences and engage in relevant conversationsacross all channels. Personalization enables brands andretailers to demonstrate that they know the customer,enhance the effectiveness of their marketing andincrease spend and loyalty. Having the right systemsin place can help support those personalizationinitiatives by enabling associates to access customerprofiles with shopping history, and create personalizedrecommendations through the data. 2) Create a Seamless Experience Customers now expect the same experience andquality of service whether they’re shopping in store,online, through a mobile app or any other channel.This is especially critical considering that so manyconsumers shift channels multiple times throughouttheir shopping journey. Almost half of all in-storepurchases stem from an online review, and more than45% of...