No matter how well your business did in 2019, you can always do better in 2020. One of the easiest ways to increase the effectiveness of your business is by making smart investments in technology. In many cases, those investments might not even involve spending a penny.
To make your job easier, we’ve put together a list of seven tools you can use to take your retail business to the next level.
1. Smart POS system
Is your business still relying on an old-fashioned payment system? More than half of US retailers find themselves in this exact predicament.
By moving to a smart POS solution, your business will enjoy a number of benefits, including cost savings, better customer experiences, and robust reporting and analytics functionality.
Plus, leading POS systems are extensible by design. You can connect them to a number of apps and other tools to get an even bigger return on investment.
2. Project management tool
If you’re like most retail business owners, you most likely rely on email to coordinate projects and keep the team organized and in sync. When you’re collaborating on a document or spreadsheet, figuring out which version is the most recent can be difficult; it’s not uncommon to end up working off outdated drafts, duplicating work, or trying to reconcile two different sources of truth.
There’s an easy fix: Using a project management tool such as Trello enables you to bring a kanban-like experience to project management. Create columns to organize work, create cards for every task, and move the cards from column to column as you make progress. It’s a super easy way to manage projects that several employees are working on—even across time zones.
3. Workplace messaging platform
Your company’s chat room can be kept private, only accessible to your team and authorized users. Instead of having to track someone down to ask them a question, coordinate shift coverage, or round up everyone to share updates and announcements, the entire team can stay connected and up to speed from any connected device.
4. Video conferencing solution
Rather than driving to your other locations to meet with managers, partners, or potential clients, you can use a video conferencing tool such as Zoom to have “face-to-face” meetings remotely. This can save a lot of time and reduce travel expenses while communicating in a much more personal way than email, text, or a phone call.
5. Accounting software
If you are still managing finances by spreadsheet or by hand, you’re losing hours that could be spent on more productive tasks. Not only are you more likely to make errors, but you also miss out on the efficiency, data visualization, and reporting capabilities that software can provide.
Upgrade to a modern accounting solution like QuickBooks to streamline financial management. Keep in mind that leading POS solutions can integrate with popular accounting tools, thus enabling you to get an even bigger bang for your buck.
6. Social media management
Social media can be a relatively inexpensive way to drive brand awareness, engage your audience, and attract new prospects. Without the right tools in place, however, social media management can be time-consuming and inefficient.
Instead of logging into each of your platforms separately to post content and engage with users, take advantage of a social media management platform like Hootsuite to monitor and engage with followers and other accounts. You can also automate your social publishing and schedule the majority of your content ahead of time. That way, you can ensure social channels are active without spending time manually managing each account.
7. Marketing automation
Does your retail company have a blog? Do you run email marketing campaigns? If your answer to either of these questions is yes, consider moving to a marketing automation platform such as HubSpot. These platforms enable you to easily manage content and automate email marketing with advanced tools such as segmentation and A/B testing to increase the effectiveness of your outreach. The more you can automate your marketing, the more time you’ll have for other activities—knowing that your customers and website visitors are being nurtured and engaged with in the background.
Ready to overhaul your retail business’s technology stack?
When we think of who can benefit from business productivity tools, retail might not be the first industry that pops into mind. However, retail businesses can benefit tremendously from investing in modern technology.
There’s no sense in running your business any harder than it needs to be. Instead of relying on outdated systems and manual processes, leading retailers are increasingly investing in modern tools designed for the business world.
Simply put, adding the right tools to your small business’s toolbelt will make your company more effective and more competitive. Your team will be able to get more done in less time and stay on the same page—translating into a better customer experience, happier employees, and a healthier bottom line.