Running a retail business can be an incredibly daunting task. What we find when working with our clients is that they don’t have the right tools in place to handle what they’re doing. I mean, they have ways of accomplishing the end goal but they spend countless hours doing manual work instead of automating their business.
When I say “automation”, most people (including me) think of complicated setups and trying to make your business fit someone else’s systems. What’s amazing is that there are tools out there that can work for your business instead of the other way around.
Just like a mechanic would never dream of doing their job without their tools, a retailer shouldn’t either. But how do we identify which tools are right for us?
We put together a list of essential tools that every retail business needs to succeed. Have questions? We’d love to be in touch in ways we can help.
Inventory Management and Point of Sale
Your inventory is the foundation of your business. Without it, you have no sales and with no sales, you have no business… this is obvious enough, right? What’s crazy is how hard it can be to accurately track inventory, what you have coming in, and what’s selling. You might be able to get to one or two of these numbers but getting the big picture can take running 5 or 6 different reports.
Our recommendation: Lightspeed POS
Lightspeed is a phenomenal POS system that works out of the box. Rather than go through complicated setup, you can define your categories and begin putting in items right away.
Most importantly, Lightspeed is the top player for retailers that want to take inventory management seriously. This means that creating a PO doesn’t have to be a daunting task but instead can be as simple as adding a vendor, adding your items, and double-checking your cost.
From the front end, Lightspeed’s actual point of sale is easy to use and can be taught to a salesperson in a matter of minutes.
Doing custom orders or layaways? Lightspeed Retail gives you the ability to create what was once a complicated process directly in the POS transaction. From there, we can bring in our items and immediately pick up where we left off with the customer in finishing the sale.
If Lightspeed isn’t a good fit, we love the flexibility and customization of Springboard Retail. It’s built in reporting is the best on the market and it can be customized to fit any retail business.
Streamline offers services to help retailers find and adopt tools like Springboard and Lightspeed. If you’d like to chat about how we can create a custom plan for you, you can apply for our Retail Roadmap HERE. We’ll work to understand your business and provide you with a clear path forward.
At one point, a brick and mortar eCommerce store were a “nice to have”; your customers didn’t expect it but appreciated if it was there. Now it has become an expectation that they can engage your brand online.
Choosing the right platform for your business is pivotal. When deciding, you want to focus on two things:
Platform abilities: What can the platform do? As you scale, can it handle your growth? What about making simple design changes?
Ecosystem: It’s likely that you’ll want to use apps and plugins to make your site work like you want. Is there a large ecosystem built around your platform so you don’t have to pay thousands and thousands for custom development.
Our recommendation: Shopify
Shopify is the biggest and best eCommerce platform for independent retail businesses. We love how easy it is to use and that there’s literally an app for everything. To add to that, their plans start incredibly cheap but you can scale up to literally running an eCommerce platform doing millions a month.
Shopify’s theme store is almost limitless so whether you’re working with an eCommerce design team (LINK) or doing it yourself, you can get started easily.
Lastly, it integrates perfectly with Facebook Pixel to make running custom audience and retargeting ads seamless. When shopping for an eCommerce platform, we really can’t recommend this enough.
A common misconception among retailers is this idea that email marketing is dead or even on the decline. The truth is, lazy email marketing is dead. Sending blast emails to list of people who don’t know you is one thing but here’s what is working: Marketing Automation.
Our recommendation: Klaviyo
By using tools like Klaviyo, retailers like you can engage their existing site visitors and customers in unique ways to add value and increase revenue; all integrated with your existing tools
Now when I say “automation”, it might seem a little overwhelming. What I’d love to do is breakdown the kinds of things you can do with Klaviyo (or other similar tools).
First, at the very minimum is an abandoned cart sequence. This means we’re sending a series of emails to those that add items to their cart but don’t make a purchase. Of all the things you can do, this one is guaranteed to increase revenue. At a minimum, you can usually do a basic email through your eCommerce platform but through a marketing tool we can get a little more complex.
Next, we can do cool things like customer re-engagement. The goal here is to take people that have previously made a purchase but haven’t purchased in a while. Through Klaviyo, you can integrate your eCommerce platform to automatically send these out to your past customers. For example, someone that bought something but didn’t buy for 3 months, we could highlight a similar collection (meaning if they bought a dress you can automatically highlight your “dresses” collection).
Basically, through Klaviyo, retailers can create everything from simple email sequences up to complicated, robust, emails based on customer behavior.
Finding and adopting the right tools can be quite a task. We’re confident that for most retailers, these tools will be a powerful combination that can help you realize your potential. Need help implementing these? We’re glad to connect.
Streamline Retail is a retail consultancy that helps independent retailers grow by adopting better tools like POS systems and growing online through eCommerce design and development.