Comprehensive guide to tech in the retail industry

Over the last six months, ITProportal has published a series of articles to help new and existing retail outlets get to grips with some of the challenges with tech in the retail industry.

In this overview guide, we’ve collected all the articles’ links together with a brief synopsis so that you have the entire series together in one place.

Over the last decade, retailers have had to deal with a variety of challenges which have impacted on retail turnover.

One game changer has been the ongoing evolution of online shopping and the integration of technology in the retail outlet. Retailers that felt that online shopping was 'just a fad' have suffered to their detriment, many of which are no longer with us.

The more forward thinking retailers, embraced the technology evolution and online paradigm to increase their turnover by finding an extra income source and using their online offering to enhance their high street outlet. However technology integration has not come without its own challenges.

The synopsis below contains a series of links to our digital articles on the different aspects In our comprehensive guide to technology in retail outlets. Below each link is a brief synopsis on the content contained within each article.

Chapter 1 - Modern technology in retail outlets

Chapter 1 of our retail series consists of five articles that provide insight on the importance of integrating your retail outlet with an online offering. We then take this concept and examine how other online technologies such as the cloud can boost and streamline the business procedures within your stores.

The next two sections in this chapter focus more on in-store technology such as a CRM and WiFi and how companies are using these two technologies for competitive advantage rather than a burdensome must have. The chapter is then ended by the final section, which examines tragic consequences to getting your technology integration wrong.

How online retail can save the high street and boost turnover

Many see the death of the high street as a foregone conclusion, but transferring the principles of online retail to physical stores has been a major key to revitalising the industry.

The high street retail model has ceased to work due to the success of online shopping and the broad reaching grip of the recession; or so the mainstream media would have you believe. T

he fact is the high street isn't dying, it's evolving. The continued success of John Lewis, Apple, Argos and others is down to their evolution of the old high street retail paradigm to one that fits with and complements the new online retail world.

This article shows how a combined offering of online and physical outlets can boost in-store sales.

How to gain a competitive edge cloud computing

Over the last decade, cloud based offerings have matured and can provide retailers with substantial benefits.

In this section, you will gain an overview of the technology and insights into the different types of cloud service offerings and where they can and are making a real difference to the fortunes of a retailer.

How the integration of tech and the personal touch can increase customer loyalty

Technological systems are fundamental to the modern business, but winning customer loyalty still requires a personal service.

Over-reliance on technology or total reliability on shop front staff have created major problems to retailers. In this section, using customer relationship management (CRM) software as an example, we share lessons which show how customer knowledge combined with a good CRM software will ensure loyalty and increase sales.

Five tips on how to use WiFi to promote your business

Let's face it, their isn't a retailer who hasn't experienced the problems of providing free WiFi to customers. However the more savvy retailers have used free WiFi provision to double, triple and even quadruple their marketing power. This section shares some of their secrets.

How technology can damage your business

There is no doubt that technology can greatly enhance the fortunes of a retailer but the wrong technology can do immense damage. This section, completes this chapter by sharing some lessons learned from John Lewis and examine three critical questions that must be passed before the adoption of new technology.

Chapter 2 - Dealing with cash loss

Chapter 2 consist of two articles close to the hearts of all retailers and that is how to reduce reconciliation mistakes and prevent a blame culture. These two section articles will provide you with an overview of the technology available to help deal with two of the major recurring problems in many retail stores.

3 Ways to beat cash counting blues

Unfortunately, for many retailers, closing time isn't time to go out into the world, it's time to count the day's takings, reconcile the till and balance the books.

This section examines the pros and cons of a variety of tech and non-tech methods to ensure the books balance at day end and provide a better work/life balance for staff.

How to beat the cash loss conundrum

Cash till discrepancies are a common occurrence for the majority of retail stores. These discrepancies will happen for a variety of reasons such as wrong amount entered, wrong change given, or perhaps even deliberate falsification.

However many of these discrepancies can be limited through the use of technology. This section looks at what some of the latest technology is capable of and the ease of use of special cash counting tills.

Chapter 3 - Social media engagement for retailers

Moving on from technology that can be used to increase business, customer loyalty and reduce reconciliation discrepancies, we now provide a series of articles that focus on how social media has rapidly become a major income source for many retailers. In the early 2000, it became essential for every business to have their website.

Now, over a decade later, social media has become the new essential business must have for customer engagement. In this series of chapters, we look at what social media is and how to best engage with it.

Social media for your business - the conundrum

Although social media seems easy to engage with, many retailers have failed dismally through their lack of education. In this chapter, we provide an overview of three major social media sites, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, together with some essential tips to engage with potential customers through these sites and which sites should be used. This chapter also provides you with further links to chapters that can better help you engage in social media.

How to use Twitter effectively for business

After reading the overview chapter on which social media is best for your business you may still be unsure as to the various benefits? In this chapter, we focus on the strengths of Twitter and provide tips and links to other chapters that can help you build your business profile and customer engagement using Twitter.

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How to use YouTube for effective customer education and engagement

Over one billion users use online streaming - reason enough for businesses to get involved with sites such as YouTube. Moving on from the Twitter chapter, it is worth you obtaining a better understanding of alternatives such as YouTube. This chapter provides an in depth look at online videos, the type of effective content and where Youtube in particular can be useful for customer education and engagement.

Beginner's guide to Facebook for business

This chapter rounds up the Social media section, with a look at how Facebook can best benefit your organisation. Why do some corporate Facebook pages waste time and resource while others evoke loyalty and attract customers? This chapter provides you with an overview on how Facebook rates content and provides some in-sight on why companies such as Coca Cola have an effective Facebook presence compared to other corporations.

Chapter 4 - Retail Outlet Tech Security

In the previous chapters, we've shared insights in how technology has benefited retailers by reducing shrinkage, increasing customer engagement using social media, and by using the latest technology to provide better customer loyalty and boost sales.

We conclude this mini online booklet with a chapter on how to protect your technology investment at your retail sites. In this final series, we look at the types of technical attacks available to bad guys and several easy ways that you can protect your retail business from attack.

Why your EPoS is your worst enemy

This section provides an overview for non-techies of the most common attacks on retail systems and provides you with an understanding of the basic terms used to describe attacks in the risk and security business.

Strategy guide to defend against the three most common EPoS enemies

This section builds on the previous section by providing an overview on how to defend against the most common security threats (physical and software attacks) in the retail sector.

How to beat malware malaise at the point of sale

Malware-based attacks accounted for a quarter of all successful data breaches. This sections expands on the strategy guide by focusing on how to protect your retail systems from the most common malware attacks.

How to defend against physical attacks on your PoS system

Moving on from malware or software based attacks, this section provides an insight on the most common types of physical attacks on PoS systems and simple ways that your staff can prevent their compromise.

One secret that allows hackers access to the majority of retail systems

We conclude this mini online book with one simple thing retailers can do to vastly reduce compromises to their in-store offerings. The secret is to do with passwords and the article also provides some well-known methods to create easy to remember but difficult to crack passwords. After reading this short article it is worth developing your understanding further by reading many of Paul Cooper's insights into the variety of security breaches that impact on systems today.

Summary

This overview set of links will provide all retailers with basic understanding to technology in a variety of areas used to promote in-store business. There are many other challenges that we have not written about such as how to smoothly migrate your entire technology from one store to another, connectivity challenges and integration.

If you would like to see further articles added or have interesting insights and comments that you would like to add on retail technology today then please do add your comments below.

Special thanks go to Nate Chai, who has worked within several retail outlets and at Lanix UK Limited.