Time flies! Tomorrow is going to be a whole new year already. We hope that you have finished writing your New Year’s resolution for yourself and your business, as business owners and operators. If you still don’t know what to include in the New Year’s resolution to make your sports & outdoor retail stores thrive in 2021, how about starting with adopting a POS system? Still not sure? In today’s article, we’ll present you with the 5 reasons why you need a POS solution for sports & outdoor retail to ensure a fruitful 2021.
Proper merchandise management system
One of the biggest challenges facing sports & outdoor retail happens during the process of digitalization. According to Marcel Altenfelder, Managing Director of Intersport Wohlleben, merchants in the industry see the aging merchandise management system as the greatest “growth brake”. A merchandise management system consists of inventory management and product management of warehouses and stores. An obsolete merchandise management system leads to the poor performance of keeping track of the stock level and the stock-flow. And the ultimate consequences can be unimaginable. That’s when a POS solution for sports & outdoor retail comes to the rescue.
- Optimize the stock level. Inventory management is like a balancing game. Having excessive stock puts your business at the risk of having to spend extra money on storage for dead stock. On the other hand, having too little stock on an item can lead to running out-of-stock in the middle of your peak time. An inventory (or even better, a multi-warehouse inventory) management system allows you to keep track of demand in all sales channels and set inventory levels accordingly. With that, you can easily decide when to purchase new inventory strategically.
- Forecast demand. You can review the sales reports to know your item sales by day, week, month, and year to identify any trend or pattern. It facilitates data-driven decision-making on when to stock up what.
- Manage stock in real-time. An inventory management system is capable of updating data on the basis of real-time synchronization. With that being so, when a customer buys a product through any channel, the stock level is deducted in the warehouse assigned to that channel. The available item number is automatically updated on all touchpoints, in real-time.
- Product sales insights. With this functionality, retailers can identify dead stock, slow-moving stock, and best-sellers by looking at comprehensive reports including data from all channels. Accordingly, they can make timely decisions to get rid of dead stock, intervene slow-moving stock, and double down on best-sellers to ensure your inventory’s return on investment rate.
Robust e-commerce functionalities
A recent statistic has shown that 52% of online shoppers turn to Amazon for apparel. “People are going to Amazon first in many cases, in terms of searching for a product, so it’s a very enticing retail channel for any brand out there.”, said Matt Powell, Vice President and senior industry analyst at The NPD Group.
Things are even getting worse as the huge sports manufacturers are also turning to Amazon. In the summer of 2018, Nike announced it would sell through Amazon, meaning that the shares at its retail partners were sent down. Such a move from Nike proves that e-commerce is becoming so vital to the sportswear market that it makes a huge player like Nike realizes the need of focusing more on direct-to-consumer networks.
According to Powell, the small and medium-sized sports & outdoor retailers are prevented from building a robust e-commerce business because they don’t have enough cache. And as e-commerce is becoming common, it makes those merchants become vulnerable. Particularly, the specialty sectors including biking, outdoor, skiing, running, are under huge pressure at the moment. What they need is a POS solution for sports & outdoor retail.
With a POS system that integrates with e-commerce platforms, merchants can:
- Build a well-functioning commercial website.
- Create an omnichannel shopping experience.
- Enable click-and-collect.
- Equip staff members with all the tools and assistance they need for their tasks.
- Integrate with the inventory of e-commerce platforms in real-time for efficient inventory management.
- Expand e-commerce offerings.
Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms include Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.
Valuable customer insights
In this data-driven world that we’re living in, true customer insight is the key to success. The more you know, the more force and resources you have to make an insightful strategy for your business. Having a mature digital system that provides valuable customer insights helps sports & outdoor retailers stay relevant and ahead of the competition.
Despite the importance of cultivating customer data, retail businesses in the sporting goods industry are still struggling with it. Particularly when 63% of all small and medium-sized retailers haven’t had a suitable digitalization process yet. That leads to the reality that the sports merchants still lack standardized interfaces and the gathering of the necessary information. To tackle this dilemma, a POS solution for sports & outdoor is necessary.
With a POS system, gathering customer data has never been easier. Retailers can collect personal information from a customer right at the counter and have a POS manage those data properly. There are various entrances to gather and gather customer information with a POS:
- Loyalty program
- Review of each customer’s cart history, past purchases, wish list, etc. thanks to AI facial recognition
- Mobile consumer apps
- Order list
In POS, it’s convenient to create, edit, and add customers. With that, customers can easily give out their personal information which might not be given otherwise. Such data facilitate personalized content, offers, and teasers that encourage customers into the store or shop online.
Furthermore, at the end of the day, business owners and operators can have a full, comprehensive customer report with precise insights. Accordingly, they can identify their best buyers to give them more benefits, or recognize potential customers but haven’t purchased anything yet to support them even better.
Frictionless customer in-store shopping experience with advanced technologies
With the rapid emergence of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar sports & outdoor retailers are facing the challenge of keeping customers engaged in the physical stores. A POS solution for sports & outdoor can be the key to solve this problem.
A commercial consumer app is more and more favorable to enhance customer in-store shopping experiences. It helps strengthen the relationship between sellers and customers, and boost sales performance.
Any kind of consumer app will do the job. However, a PWA (progressive web app) consumer app, backed by POS, is particularly helpful to optimize the user experience. PWA is the hybrid of a regular website and its mobile app. Thus, it has the good traits of both a website and a native app. It loads faster, requires updates less frequently, is less expensive than a native app while reaching a large number of users just like a website. Such a powerful application allows buyers to:
- View product information simply by scanning barcodes
- Order temporarily out-of-stock item
- Get personalized product recommendations
- Conveniently do self check-out, which helps both sellers and buyers save time
AI facial recognition
Just like its name suggests, this technology is powered by AI. By ‘scanning’ and ‘remembering’ each customer’s face, AI facial recognition allows retailers to store the personal information of their store visitors. With such an advanced feature, sales assistants at the sports & outdoor retail stores can take advantages in many ways:
- Get the notification at the very moment a customer walks into the store.
- Review existing customers’ information including customer name, type, visit and purchase history, and their spending.
- Identify potential customers who have visited your stores but haven’t bought anything yet to assist them better.
- Identify new customers to suggest joining the loyalty program.
- Be alert about known shoplifters for better security.
A customer screen is no stranger to both sellers and customers. However, the new era of customer screen has come: An interactive customer screen. Just as promising as the name, customers can interact with the second display in various ways:
- Review their shopping cart before paying
- Check items stocks
- Receive a last-minute product recommendation
- Digitally sign
- Type email to receive e-receipt
- Leave rating with the store
Moreover, an interactive customer screen will also be an effective tool in centralizing the management of advertisements over their store chains. Shop owners can set up advertisements to display immediately on all customer screens over their multiple stores remotely. They can do so by uploading photos or videos, or by adding a Youtube URL.
Flexible payment integration
There have been more and more payment methods coming to the market to fulfill the distinct needs and demands of customers. That’s why sports & outdoor retail in particular is trying to offer as many payment options as they can. Moreover, with increasing concern about the security of transactions lately, a POS solution for sports & outdoor retail is more important than ever.
Payment integration deems one of the must-have features to look for in an outstanding POS system. Such an essential feature helps:
- Speed up the check-out process by providing a seamless experience.
- Reduce human errors and make it easier to deal with return, exchange, and money-back guarantee.
- Secure transactions with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance.
- Offer contactless payments to minimize human interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are numerous payment gateways that POS solution providers are partnering with. Some worth mentioning are Paypal, Moneris, Authorize.Net, iZettle.
A POS solution makes a great New Year’s resolution!
As we’re reaching the end of today’s article, New Year is also coming close knocking at your door. To seize every opportunity that 2021 will bring to business owners and retailers like you, a POS solution is necessary. Adopting a POS solution for sports & outdoor retail comes with 5 main benefits:
- Proper merchandise management system
- Robust e-commerce functionalities
- Valuable customer insights
- Frictionless customer in-store shopping experience with advanced technologies
- Flexible payment integration
Feeling convinced and want to give it a try? You can totally start with ConnectPOS – a leading cloud-based POS software for omnichannel retail. It costs you nothing – ConnectPOS offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card needed. If you’re satisfied after the trial, there are 3 simple, straightforward pricing plans to choose from. Even better, you can also “DIY” your own plan to suit both your business’s distinct needs and demands, and your pocket as well. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us now!
We wish you all the best in 2021!