Updated: Aug 8, 2019
The Toys “R” Us bankruptcy filing sent shockwaves throughout the retail sector. However, the news that Toys “R” Us was struggling was nothing new. The company was taken private in a $6.6 billion private equity buyout back in 2005, with the aim of turning the company around. Unfortunately, the rising debt proved too big of an issue.
This breaking news has come as part of a larger trend that many are calling the retail apocalypse. The rise of e-commerce, combined with a shift in consumer preferences has made for distinctly unattractive economics in traditional retail. In spite of this, if we take a closer look and really analyze what’s going on, it’s not all doom and gloom. For example, retailer T.J. Maxx (TJX), is growing and thriving. According to the Wall Street Journal, “TJX gets almost all its sales from its roughly 3,800 physical locations and plans to open 250 stores this year. Its revenue and profits are climbing, and it envisions expanding to 5,600 stores worldwide over time.”. What about Apple? Who bet big on brick and mortar stores, and it paid off incredibly well.
According to Quartz not only did the Apple experience “strong double-digit growth in visitors and revenue,” but its stores continue to have the highest sales per square foot in the retail industry. Additionally, a significant chunk of its revenue — two-thirds — continues to come from retail. Even Kuwaii are also doing spectualy well! Kuwaii is the opposite of fast fashion. It’s a high-end apparel retailer that produces beautiful, timeless clothing and footwear made locally and made to last. The first Kuwaii location opened 2012 in Brunswick, and the business doubled its size soon after that. Kuwaii opened a second store in 2014, and it doubled its business yet again.
These three example clearly show that the problem isn’t with traditional retail itself but with the inability of organisations to adapt to a new model that strategically gels with today’s society and consumer demand.
Forbes contributor and retail growth expert, Steve Dennis commented – “if we isolate what’s going on with retailers focused on delivering convenience, operational efficiencies and value-priced products, along with those retailers that differentiate themselves on unique product and more remarkable experiential shopping (including great customer service, vibrant stores and digital channels that are well harmonized with their stores such as EPOS integration), you would conclude not only that physical retail isn’t dead, you could well argue it is quite healthy”.
Conversely, the stores that are swimming in a sea of sameness — mediocre service, over-distributed and uninspiring merchandise, one-size-fits-all marketing, look-alike sales promotions and relentlessly dull store environments — are getting crushed. A close look at their performance as a group reveals lackluster or dismal financial performance and shrinking store fleets. For these retailers, by and large, physical retail is indeed dead or dying. But so are their overall brands.
How can you make sure your brick & mortar business succeeds in the coming years?
It is now evident that years of overbuilding, failure to innovate, continuously changing consumer preferences and rigid business models are creating fundamental new dynamics. Physical retail is not going away, but digital disruption is transforming most sectors of retail profoundly. If you’re a retailer in today’s market (and you intend to be around in the future) chances are, some variation of the question above has crossed your mind. The retail landscape has gone through tremendous change in the past few years, and keeping up with the industry — and your customers — can be challenging.
We must start changing the way we conduct business, especially as the world moves further into a thriving technological and digital age. At Opus Retail Solutions, we want to help you take that first step towards a digital transformation. We want to help you start building the backbone of a successful retail, both present and future. That backbone starts with an EPOS solution. EPOS solutions are fast becoming the technology of choice for any modern retailer, a choice that will start your journey towards differentiation.
As new and innovative retail solutions begin to replace and move away from the traditional ‘cash register’, EPOS solutions are ushering in a whole range of new features suitable for the modern retail environment; with the ability to store and process date that is particularly valued. Where once retailers may have had to scrutinise various sales records in order to compile information as to shoppers’ choices and habits, EPOS systems can produce reports and show growing and declining sales with ease.
Other attractive features include being able to tap into nurturing consumer retail expectations of an ‘instant’ shopping experience by printing out vouchers or offers, whilst also being able to link up communication with existing infrastructure and websites and recording of the activities undertaken by staff whilst using it. Offering a variety of new ways to improve transactions, there can be no doubt that EPOS systems are bringing change to the retail sector in making it more streamlined and able to effectively compete with rivals. A major way in which this change is manifested is perhaps just as reactive as it is proactive; retailers need to reduce the costs associated with ‘bricks and mortar’ retailing as much as possible, in order to remain viable as the bite from competitors will be felt.
One of the ways this can be done is through readjusting the thinking as to exactly how physical stores work with online activity; closer links are needed, which is something EPOS systems can provide. Instead of a business model where high street locations compete with online sales, modern EPOS systems are making it easier for the retail world to work as one. Linking with a retailer’s website, an EPOS system can provide real-time data to users as to whether local stores have products in stock and provide an easy collection point for them. Online orders can also be fulfilled more promptly via processes that can see stock sent out to online buyers from stores nearest to them, or those that are experiencing an excess of certain stocked items. Thus helping to provide the ‘I want what I want when I want it’ notion that underpins new shopping habits.
The ability to target customers more effectively is also leading to changes in the retail world. EPOS systems can register and monitor customer behaviour and spending patterns, offering incentives that are specified and personalised. A clear example of this is recognising that someone who buys a certain item is more likely to buy another similar item, and giving them a clear incentive to do so. Offering customers this sort of engagement is another part of the changes EPOS systems are bringing to retail.
Integrating EPOS solutions into your retail operations
As you can see, while a EPOS solution will definitely simplify your business, you have a lot to think about before picking one. That said, you should still be very excited about the promise of a EPOS solution. Once yours is set up and running, you can expect greater convenience, capabilities, and profit, while lowering overheads – that’s a tough combination to beat!
It’s obvious that many retailers spent more time defending the status quo and burying their heads in the sand during the past decade than they did understanding the consumer and being committed to innovation. Some retailers need to adapt and some need to transform the customer experience fundamentally. Most need to take bold and decisive action to stay relevant and remarkable in a very different and constantly evolving world.
Discover how Opus Retail Manager can help your business become more profitable. Book a demo today.
Opus Retail Manager
Opus Retail Solutions specialise in providing Retail, Wholesale, & Integrated e-Commerce Solutions through its Software suite Opus Retail Manager. Opus has been developing software for over 30 years and was one of the first Windows based EPoS systems in 1997. Opus Retail Manager is hardware independent and we offer hardware depending on client requirements, policy or budget.
The key to Opus’s success lies with its ongoing investment in Research and Development and Training to keep our Software products and services and staff world class. Services range from specifying client requirements to providing custom modifications, system implementation, training with a special emphasis on after-sales support so our customers can get the most from their system. The Company invests c £100k pa in R&D to ensure it’s software remains world-class.
The entire Opus operation is managed from Opus’s Headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, along with regional development and support offices in the UK and Russia. Opus has partners all over the world and currently ships the software in five languages. Please contact us if you would like to discuss a partnership.
Although our Retail Manager Software and services procedures have evolved over the years from DOS through Windows enabling us to stay ahead of the curve, our core objective is still to provide innovative, best in breed, easy to use and robust EPoS solutions, no matter what the industry, the size or the individual need.