• The retail sector – selling to those in the business of selling

        • Grieg Millar, General Manager, Sales at Brother, advises channel partners to offer tailored solutions which address efficiency challenges to make retail sector sales.

          Efficiency is one of the priority objectives for those working in retail. Retail technology helps make various processes easier and quicker for both customers and staff.

          At a back office level, this can mean simplifying workflows with solutions such as digital stock or order-management platforms, or outsourcing processes like printer management to free up employee time.

          Out on the shop floor, touchscreen technology can allow an in-store self-service approach that marries the online and in-store shopping experience, again potentially increasing efficiency.

          Retail businesses represent a great revenue opportunity for the channel – from label printers for price tags to scanning solutions for invoice tracking. Resellers who understand the ever-changing challenges facing retail IT managers are in the best position to capture sales and develop long-term relationships.

          Understand the business – from head office to shop floor

          Suppliers need to understand the environment in which retail organisations operate, and also a business’ processes and requirements – both in the back office and on the shop floor.

          A good retail technology partner will work closely with its retail customers to build the service or solution around their specific needs, and help to implement this across a retail estate.

          Retail businesses will likely need to adjust prices, run promotions, introduce new products and recall less successful ones quickly in response to day-to-day market changes. As a result, technology needs to improve efficiency and promote effective communication between multiple shop floors, stockrooms, warehouses and head offices.

          Switch to long term contracts

          The broader trend towards integrated, useful technology is leading the switch to engaging with resellers on a contractual basis rather than simply buying hardware when needed.

          IT managers want to take advantage of resellers’ expertise, and contracts give them better access to solution design and delivery. They also give resellers a better opportunity to understand the specific efficiency challenges that retail organisations are attempting to overcome through new technology.

          Help IT managers deliver change

          Supporting change management is of upmost importance. The process should be collaborative from the outset with IT managers and channel partners working together to demonstrate ways new systems could help overcome current IT challenges.

          Back office technology, such as printing and scanning, is rarely a topic that tops the agenda in retail board meetings, and in many organisations it’s only when something goes wrong that the system is given any thought.

          There is a reticence to undergo upgrades to legacy systems because of the levels of investment required, and demonstrating the added value benefits to customers can be a challenge.

          Remind businesses that it’s well worth investing the time and money to do this – as this calculator shows, even small efficiency savings in things like printing can add up to a big positive effect on the bottom line when multiplied over a whole retail estate.

          It’s also vital that staff are trained on technology to ensure it’s used correctly and efficiently. Resellers that offer added value in managing the introduction of new technology will win favour with IT managers for streamlining the changeover process, which ultimately makes their job easier.

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