The theme of connectivity is not a new one. And the snowball development of technology means that we are all more connected than ever. But what does that mean for you and your business? Has your customer base now expanded past your neighborhood and into the farthest reaches of the globe? Is connectivity all about connecting to more and more customers?
Well, that’s one way to look at it. With the advent of the internet we can now connect to customers around the globe. But is that practical from a profitability standpoint? Am I really going to tap into the Ukrainian Sperry Top-Sider market from my family footwear store in Indiana?
Perhaps. But probably not. Connectivity for the independent brick and mortar retailer is more about connecting all of your efforts to harness technology together. This means more than simply connecting your in-store inventory to your website. It means connecting your customer database to your marketing efforts. It means allowing all your store data to flow between the applications you choose to help advance your business efforts.
While there are a multitude of programs and technology companies that provide services to help you become a more successful retailer, there is one thing they all have in common. They all rely on connecting to your business data (inventory, sales, and customer) to help you leverage the power of their technology.
Your POS and inventory system is the central nervous system of your business. So deciding how you will connect to current and future unknown technology partners is critical when choosing a POS and inventory management system for your store. Some companies will offer an all-encompassing system. POS, accounting, and ecommerce, all in one independent, eco-sphere of data. But what happens when you want to connect that data to a new service or application outside of that sphere? What happens when the newest channel of retailing shows up and you determine you can’t compete any more without being connected to it?
The key is deciding that your business data will reside in a system that can serve as a hub to any program or application that you want to connect to. The ability to connect your POS and inventory management system through an open API is the way independent retailers will successfully compete now and in the future. Sell on Amazon, text your customers, fully automate your Accounts Payable functionality, or share a gift-card program with other business. And remember, we don’t even know what the next big new thing will be! But we do know we’ll need a way to connect. Interested in learning how RICS can help you become a more connected retailer? Schedule a demo with us here!