An important element of the supply chain is the retail. Retail is the place where the products and goods are sold to the end users. Retailer purchases goods and products from producers in large quantities and in turn sells them to consumers in smaller quantities.
It is very important for the retailer to communicate with the supplier as well as the consumer. From the producer, the retail should know the following:
- Retailer should know when a new product is getting launched or whether the producer is introducing a new variant for the existing product.
- Retailers should get a regular training from the manufacturer about brand new products and fresh technology.
- Retailer should have information well in advance about any impending pricing change.
- Retailer should also know about sales forecast from producer for given line of product.
Consumer is also as important for the retailer as the producer. From the consumer, the retailer should know the following:
- What attract the consumer to a particular retailer?
- What are good and bad points about a particular retailer?
- How did they hear about a particular retailer?
Retail Management Information System
If the retailer is on top of above information, then he would be able manage his business efficiently. In the current scenario, large retailers have their shop across physical geographies. For them, it becomes very important to centrally manage all shops. Retail management information system precisely does this with help of hardware, software, database and various modules.
The objective of the retail information systems is as follows:
- An information system should provide relevant information to retail manager regularly.
- An information system should anticipate needs and requirement of the retail manager.
- An information system should be flexible enough to incorporate constant evolving needs of the consumer market.
- An information system should be able to capture, store and organize all the relevant data on a regular and continuous basis.
- The retail Information systems should be aligned with strategic and business plans of the organization. Therefore, it should be able to provide information, which supports and drives this objective.
Characteristics of Retail Information System
The retail information system should have following characteristics:
- Retail Information systems Information systemsRetail Information systems should connect all the stores under the company’s
- Retail information system should allow instant information exchange between stores and management.
- Retail information system should handle the various aspect of product management.
- Retail information system should handle customer analysis.
- Retail information system should allow the store manager flexible pricing over a financial year.
Role of Retail Information System
Retail information system should support basic retail function like material procurement, storage, dispatch, etc. It should allow the manager to monitor sales of product mix and daily sales volume. An information system should help in inventory management.
Variety of Retail Information System
Retail information system is applicable to different types industry within retail management. An information system can be developed to manage fashion store, pharmacy, a grocery store as well as a toy store.
Indian Retail Sector
Indian retail sector has been growing by leaps and bounds in last decade or so. One research suggests that it will grow to $ 785 billion by 2015.
Technology is and will play an important role in the Indian retail sector. Various groups in organized as well as the unorganized sector has taken to IT for supporting this growth.
Customer service in Retail
Customer service is one-on-one between a salesperson and a shopper. The customer experience is the customer’s entire event of shopping in a brick and mortar retail store, from the moment they arrive in the parking lot all the way to the time they are back in their car. Note that the customer experience does not have to include customer service.
With online retail growing every year, retailers with physical stores are discovering that they have let their customer service decline over the years and, as a result, the entire shopping experience for their customers has kept them from coming back.
The unique advantage brick and mortar retailers have is that they can control the entire customer experience within their four walls. But how do you do it? That’s the key.
While many retail organizations think that retail salespeople are the only ones who need to excel at retail customer service, anyone who answers the phone, who is at a buy-online-pickup-in-store desk, a warehouse worker or a driver—in short, anyone who serves a customer—needs to know not just a philosophy of others first, but the exact steps to deliver it again and again.
You have to think like a shopper. After all, it’s their journey, not yours. You have to gather behaviors your shoppers exhibit when they start to think about purchasing. You want to think about:
- What influences them first? Movies, blogs, videos, articles, brands, etc.
- Where do they get recommendations? Social media, review sites, online retailers, etc.
- Where do they first engage with your brand? Your website, your social media, your store?
- How do you engage them, and what do you want them to do next? Buy from the site, go to your store, sign up for your newsletter?
Next, note what the middle and end of the shopper journey looks like:
- What do they experience as they arrive at your store? The physical details of the condition of your store including lighting, music, overall cleanliness.
- How long does it take to have someone speak to them? Seconds, minutes, hit-or-miss?
- What is the first thing shoppers hear from your associates?
- Does your staff engage shoppers before pitching the merchandise?
- Are your staff little more than warehouse workers fulfilling orders?
- Is there a method in place to help customers purchase more?
- What is your send-off to the shopper? Silence, bid farewall, thank you?
- How do you follow up with customers? Social media, email, text, etc.