Black Friday is a huge event in the retail calendar. This year has not been kind to many retailers, so now is the perfect time to boost sales with some enticing discounts. As Black Friday becomes even more popular in the UK there will certainly be stiff competition from many retailers trying to encourage consumers to their stores with marketing and top discounts.
Consumers become more demanding every year, they want: good prices, quick delivery, and a fast, smooth transaction. From a retailer they expect:
- The same prices and experience in-store and online
- A stock-check facility before they visit a shop, so they aren’t wasting a visit, and to reserve items to make sure they don’t sell out before they get there
- To be kept informed about their online order via email or text
- Up-to-date stock information
- Delivery choices – next day, click-and-collect, free delivery, delivery to a pick-up-point etc – 31% of people consider never using a retailer again if one delivery is late
- Shopping (online and in-store) to be seamless and fast – 75 per cent of users expect sites and apps to perform faster than they did three years ago
- Good customer service that has an up-to-date record of a customer’s transactions
These points are all even more pronounced during peak times like Black Friday. Especially stock levels, as products will be selling rapidly and may often sell out – customers will be desperate to know if their desired items are still in stock. If you can offer real-time stock levels you’ll be way ahead of most of the competition – less than a third of retailers offer customers a view of their stock levels across all store locations, 45% offer no access to stock at all. A surprisingly small number of retailers (20%) use a system that updates in real-time.
In order to fulfil customers expectations, retailers need to make sure their systems are synchronised in real-time and processes are automated so that there is up-to-date information across the whole business for staff and customers. Connecting together EPOS, eCommerce, Accounting, CRM, Marketplaces, and Stock will ensure at any technology touchpoint the most up-to-date information is available.
This may seem like a big task to undertake, but it’s not as difficult as it seems, particularly if your business is running cloud-based systems. In the past you may have had to have each system integrated separately, but now there are systems like Talisman’s TIDE, which act as a middle platform to connect retail systems together swiftly and at a low cost.
You may not have time to connect and automate your systems before Black Friday this year, but what about all the peak times that will happen again next year? Make sure you’r ready for those – not only will it make the day-to-day running of your business easier (especially in busy periods), the benefits of real-time, synchronised systems will delight your customers.