In retail today, there is a vast range of options available to enhance or update your technology. According to Gartner, worldwide retail tech spending will increase 3.6% to $203.6 billion in 2019.
So how do you choose the right product for your business? Which partner will provide the best support post-purchase?
In this article we take a look at the decisions you need to make before starting the process. We then look at how to determine the right supplier.
Define Your Criteria To Maximise ROI
Firstly, what do you want your new technology to do for your business? If you’re a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) planning to invest in an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system, for example, you need to work out which EPOS features will add most value. There are lots of available features, such as increasing payment methods or developing customer loyalty card schemes. Other features like optimising inventory management or producing accurate accounting reports can streamline efficiencies.
Once you have ranked in order of importance, it’s much easier to evaluate the technology and what it offers.
Identify Your Key Stakeholders
You also need to establish the main players in your project. For EPOS technology, this would be you, your customers, and your staff. Ask yourself how a new system would benefit your stakeholders and grow your business. For example, for customers, you might want to reduce the time spent queuing for purchases. For staff, a key feature benefit might be creating a digital stock room search. The key to long term success is a system that is easy to use by staff and that ultimately improves customer service.
By identifying the important stakeholder benefits upfront, you ensure you have all critical information.
Your Supplier Checklist
This is something of a chicken-and-egg process: do you choose the product or supplier first?
Above all else, working with the right supplier to install and support your new system is vital. Happily, with the range of retail EPOS technology available on the market, you should be able to find the best system for your business.
A value-added reseller (VAR) is a good option for several reasons. VARS are technical experts and tailor systems to meet your business requirements. They also leverage their relationships with software authors and manufacturers to add bespoke features.
However, to make sure a VAR is a good fit for your business, you should ask some important questions:
• Do they have a proven track record in your area of commerce and your size of business? If you’re an SME and the supplier tends towards larger-scale, multi-store installations, consider whether you will be a priority customer
• Ask for references: both new and long-term customers can give you useful insights from their experiences. You want a supplier that sticks to planned time frames and minimizes disruption in your day-to-day operations
• Fully research the implementation process. How does the supplier manage the installation of customized options? Understand the level of technical support provided post installation. How are upgrades managed? Will they be able to support you through business expansion and changes in the industry?
Choosing the best supplier is the beginning of what will hopefully be a lasting partnership. By defining your retail technology criteria in the early stages and asking all the right questions, you’ll be in a great position to form a long-term alliance that will help your business go from strength to strength.
Richard is the Co-Founder of Talent Locker and is an experienced Retail/Consumer Technology Leadership recruiter
If you’d like to work with Richard to find outstanding new resources then contact him now to get started.