The retail industry is transforming rapidly, and sometimes it may feel difficult for retailers to keep up. Every year new and exciting in-store technology becomes available, and top decision-makers have to parse through which solutions have the potential to have a lasting impact and which others will quickly grow obsolete.
One thing is for certain—retailers cannot afford to overlook innovation. Today’s customers expect fast, efficient, and consistent customer service every time they walk into a brick-and-mortar store. Retailers relying on outdated and complex IT infrastructures cannot keep pace with the competition, who can utilize technology to elevate their service standards.
On the other hand, investing in every new in-store innovation opportunity would be a mistake. Poor IT investments can be extremely costly and sometimes prove to be a misstep even the most successful companies never fully bounce back from.
While this may all sound daunting, prudent retailers have proven in recent years that it is possible to modernize existing in-store infrastructures cost-effectively. By investing in lasting solutions, retailers can position themselves to outperform and outlast their competitors for years to come. With that said, here are three steps to consider when trying to make a fiscally responsible innovation investment:
1. Take a Look in the Mirror
Before rushing to buy something new, do some self-reflection. Sometimes more minor, time-sensitive problems pop up that are actually just a symptom of a grander issue. Until you know exactly what your company’s current strengths and limitations are, you will likely be ill-prepared to make the correct decision.
There are so many different successful retail technology companies out there that there is bound to be one with a product that can effectively address your pain points. But without knowing exactly what those pain points are, retailers can easily become lost in the options and regrettably settle on a purchase that is ill-fitting to their company infrastructure and culture.
2. Think Long-Term
Technology is constantly changing and improving. Every year throughout the technology industry, a few things get dubbed “the next big thing,” and inevitably, nobody is still using them just a few years later. Clearly, retail technology is no different.
This means that nothing should be evaluated as a “quick fix”. An investment in a technology solution should be an investment in your future. Be wary of hyper-focused solutions for use cases that just recently became relevant. Choose solutions with flexibility, otherwise they’ll quickly need replacing.
Modernizing the storefront has the potential to be a game-changer for many retailers, but they need to see the forest for the trees and ensure they are investing in something they can build on and improve for years to come, not something they’ll soon throw in the trash.
3. Partner with a Company You Can Trust
It may feel tempting to be the first retailer to jump in with a new software company. Maybe there’s a discount. Perhaps it’s a way to beat your competition to the punch. The reality is—this approach comes with considerable risk. Those companies have very little data for proof of value. Everything is conceptual. It may sound like a great idea. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea or even reliably works at all.
Retailers must do extensive research across the industry to find the right solution for their product, size and price point. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel regarding an investment of this magnitude. Find the solutions that work for others, and they’ll likely work for you too!
Innovate With Theatro!
Theatro prides itself on its ability to successfully innovate with and for its customers. In fact, for the past three years running, retailers voted Theatro as the #1 leader in technology innovation on the RIS Software LeaderBoards. This is no coincidence—what separates Theatro from other technology providers is its unwavering dedication to address its customers’ unique challenges and add value to their business.
The Theatro Mobile Communication Platform creates OneTeam across an organization– enabling improved agility, productivity and customer experiences that are necessary to win in today’s evolving and highly competitive retail market. And with Theatro’s As-A-Service subscription-based payment model, retailers can have peace of mind knowing they won’t break the bank on costly hardware maintenance and the technology won’t grow outdated or obsolete.
To learn more about how Theatro can help you drive innovation in your stores and unlock your frontline’s full potential – let’s talk. We would love to share how many of retail’s best are using Theatro to connect their teams and drive game-changing customer experiences in their stores.