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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 22, 2014

Traits independent retailers need to compete

The hardest thing for independent retailers trying to build a solid customer base is competition. Shoppers are used to going in to big box stores for everything from DVDs to computers. One expert offers his top tips to help indie retailers compete.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What traits do independents needs to incorporate to become more successful?

Jason Becker, RICS Software: Independent retailers need to be curious. Willing to adapt and change long standing business practices to meet modern demands. And, they need to make data driven decisions through the retail management software they select to run their business.

Kristina: There seems to be a lot of comparison with independents comparing themselves to the Amazon's, Walmarts or other 'big' stores. It doesn't seem like a fair comparison, do indies need to stop doing this?

Jason: Not at all. In fact, I think it's very healthy for independent retailers to look to "best of breed" big stores to best understand what tactics they are employing to run their business. So long as retailers are able to distinguish what is a trend and what is a tactic that's going to move their business forward.

Kristina: Can you give us an example of a trend smaller retailers have jumped on when they didn't need to?

Jason: A few years ago we had what we affectionately call now the "Apple epidemic". Our clients were requesting iPhone and Touch POS options by the bunches. When probed for why they were interested in that option, many retailers weren't able to back it up with a business case. Instead it was...well, if Apple is doing it...I want to too. What many retailers failed to come to grips with is...their stores aren't Apple. The comparison of store volume and therefore need for such line busting POS options, just wasn't necessary. Not to say that independent retailers shouldn't have mobile POS options; however, why and how you intend to utilize the devices are just as important as having the devices. That's just one example of the due diligence that needs to go into researching a big box trend before it's employed in the store. The wonderful thing about modern retail technology is that it's really come a long way in the last decade to democratize the retail Tiers. Software functionality that was once only available for customized Tier 3 retail is now being built into affordable and scalable software such as RICS. The tools and strategies are available to independent retailers to thrive in this modern economy - so long as retailers are curious enough to learn about and embrace them.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce tips, ecommerce trends, RICS Software

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