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  • Writer's pictureAnantaya Pornwichianwong

Challenges retailers are facing these day and how to apply technologies to overcome

Recently, the retail industry has been radically transformed due to the arrival of advanced technologies and the digital era. The monopolies are losing their power, and small businesses are gaining more market share, especially in the online market. Increasing numbers of industry players mean consumers have more choices. Every company is competing to win customers by providing even better and more exclusive experiences. Retailers need to keep pushing to satisfy ever-evolving customers.

The issue we didn't face in the last decade might become the key challenge in the present. Online shopping platforms increase customers' expectation of a seamless experience from online to offline. New trends emerge every day. Also, AI and data technology led to the expectation for more personalized services. Furthermore, customers don't hesitate to leave the service with a standard that doesn't meet their expectations.

Sertis would like to take you through 4 issues that retailers in this era are facing and how to tackle the issue using technologies. Let's see which and how technologies can help us overcome these challenges.

1. Customers expect seamless experiences from online to offline.

One of the issues modern retailers are dealing with is customers expect omnichannel services. In this modern day, online platforms have reached their maximum capabilities thus far. Offline stores have transitioned to online platforms, whether creating their own website or setting up their stores in e-commerce platforms. However, offline stores should still be significantly taken into account as statistics show that 90 percent of purchases are still made in-store.

Customers' purchasing behaviors have changed. They might view the product online and make a purchase in a store in their neighborhood, or the other way around. This means that retailers can't neglect any of each channel and customers also expect that they can move seamlessly between online and offline and that retailers should facilitate and make their transitions as smooth as possible.

How to solve the issue using technology?

To overcome this challenge is to let data help you to understand your customers as much as possible, and utilize that insight to create the experiences that each customer wants. Data is the key to creating fluid online and offline experiences. Data should be collected from every touchpoint to understand individual customers, product trends, factors that influence buying decisions, and relationships between customers and the brand. This data can be turned into insights to improve customer experiences in every aspect. For example, retailers can predict customers' needs and provide suggestions using personalized product recommendation systems on online platforms and then, according to the insight, optimize the shelf placement to highlight the in-demand products.

Learn more about solutions from Sertis that help you understand your customers and create a seamless experience:

2. Customers need more exclusive experiences

Apart from seamless experiences between online and offline channels, customers nowadays need even more exclusive experiences. Due to the advancement of technologies and data, the bar of customers' expectations is rising. For instance, some customers expect that the store will recognize who they are and their purchasing history to serve their needs without further inquiries. Some may buy a lot from an online platform and want to be treated as a VIP when they visit an offline store, while some make the wrong purchase from an online store and want to have it exchanged at the store in their neighborhood in 30 minutes and expect that the store gets noticed and has everything ready for them.

How to solve the issue using technology?

Building a live and updated customer database that is accessible throughout the organization is a solution to this problem. Retailers often have a massive amount of raw data scattered and unlinked in the system. We can tackle the issue by developing an organized database that contains all customers' records that are linked together displayed in one dashboard, and is accessible from all departments. The system should notify stakeholders when there is a problem occurring with specific customers. This solution will solve the situation mentioned above because the shop assistant would get a notification about the coming customer beforehand and provide impressive service and experience.

Learn more about solutions from Sertis to improve customers' experiences:

3. Rapidly-changing consumer trends affect inventory management

99 percent of retailers lost their sales due to insufficient fulfillment capacity in their inventory management. An average of 22 percent of sales has been lost due to a lack of fulfillment capacity to serve customer needs in time. In the era in which social media rules the world, some products just go viral overnight and the demands quickly reach a peak. Retailers' key challenges are to find an effective inventory management system that meets the fast-paced consumer trends and reduces the cost of overstocks and the missed opportunities from stockouts.

How to solve the issue using technology?

An easy way out is to expand the inventory and double staff but it might be an unbearable cost and not a long-term solution. AI and data technologies play an important role in intelligent inventory management. The demand forecasting system identifies emerging trends and products. Inventory forecasting and optimization, AI ordering, and store replenishment solutions help develop optimized stock plans by analyzing consumer trends and situational factors. These solutions, as a result, eliminate the insufficient fulfillment capacity issues.

Learn more about inventory management solutions from Sertis:

4. The promotions don't attract customers.

Promotions and campaigns are the keys to retail success. Statistics show that promotions drive 15-50 percent of sales. However, the main problem is they can't create a strong promotion strategy that influences customers' decisions. The major challenges are, firstly, they set the wrong price, whether discount too shallowly to tempt or too deeply that cost too much. This is the decision that lacks quality data resources. Secondly, they run too many promotions at the same time which is confusing. Also, only a few of them really work and others don't lift enough sales to compensate for the loss. Lastly, too frequent promotions and promoting the products that have the weak potential, don't uplift sales, and also drain profits.

How to solve the issue using technology?

Quality data is the key to solving the problem. Retailers should implement data solutions to overcome those three challenges. Promotion analytics help you create a strong strategy by analyzing purchasing history and situational data to decide which product to promote. Promotion effectiveness solutions determine which promotion works by quantifying sales uplift compared to a predicted baseline and developing a predictive model to predict the uplift on different incentives to maximize the promotions. A/B testing is also a great tool to identify effective promotions, reduce the cost of mistakes, and increase sales from the right promotions.

Learn more about solutions from Sertis for a stronger promotion strategy:

In this competitive landscape, if you don't conquer what is holding you back as soon as possible, you will end up being left behind. Start now with retail intelligence solutions from Sertis. We provide customized solutions for your business by leveraging AI and data to enhance operational efficiency and overcome all challenges.

Learn more about solutions from Sertis:

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