Technology key to retail growth

The retail sector is one that feels the pinch the hardest when consumer spending slows. But the future is not as depressing as it might appear.

Technology key to retail growthBy Adrian Hinchcliffe – Copyright Brainstorm & AccTech Systems.
Photo credit: Suzanne Gell, Mariette Landman

As retail margins and consumer spending come under increasing pressure, so retailers need to deploy technology to remain competitive and profitable. AccTech Systems has evaluated multiple systems from across the globe to identify a solution specifically suitable to the African market.

The skills the company has developed are particularly effective in the delivery of solutions in the African environment. With constraints connectivity solutions are deployed that are able to operate in an offline environment and resynchronise when lines become available. Many customers have found this approach to be a competitive differentiator as they are able to continue transacting regardless of the state of connectivity.

“AccTech has been instrumental in assisting retailers to retain customers in an increasingly competitive environment,” says Bertus Fick, director of retail management solutions at AccTech. Innovative loyalty systems are deployed that suit the specific customer. In some cases loyalty cards are issued were spending is rewarded through a loyalty program.

It is of primary importance that good software needs to be deployed by an implementation team with deep and relevant retail experience. “Our specialist team has helped retailers manage various complex scenarios,” Fick notes. These areas of experience include dynamic product configuration; complex pricing models; multiple collections and deliveries; different purchasing to selling units of measure and customer or supplier rebates.

Understanding how to persuade a customer to return to the store may very well be the key profit differentiator. Fick explains that the functionality resident within AccTech’s specialist retail applications provide intelligent prompts to maximise cross and up-sell opportunities. This rich functionality is further enhanced by a thorough understanding of the customer that is continually enhanced through every touch-point with the customer.

“With tougher economic times ahead, consumers will still need to buy things, but now more due to need rather than on a whim,” says Fick. Understanding how best to reduce overheads, streamline stock management, and remaining optimistic are vital tactics, he believes.

Streamlining stock control

Retailers need to streamline their stockholding in order to determine which items are selling fastest and which have a slower turnover. Awareness of this information results in better stock management, meaning that slower items can be returned to the wholesaler, whilst larger quantities of faster selling items can be ordered. A faster stock turnover ultimately leads to a faster profit, says Fick.

“Good stock management reduces the potential of having empty shelves and lost sales. Retailers need to be replenishing stock levels based on deep analytics. Our retail management solutions incorporate many sophisticated yet easy to use features, such as the ability to recommend re-order quantities based on multiple variables including seasonal trends and lead times,” he adds.

The ability to analyse sales data effectively is one way that Fick believes AccTech can help retailers with its offerings. AccTech’s retail division offers a complete solution, from front-end point of sale equipment through to ERP and accounting packages on the back-end. This automation offers an intelligent and analytical approach to managing the retail process.

Expanding the business

The range and scalability of AccTech’s systems mean that retailers experiencing growth can expand to meet new demand. AccTech’s Retail systems are capable of dealing with many transactions, from those generated by a small two-store chain through to large multi-lane, multi branch retails that, for example, handle many thousands of transactions a day.

Understanding the customer and working to meet their challenges is very much a part of AccTech’s ethos. Building relationships that offer mutual benefit is important, Fick believes. “We will find a solution that works for them, and our support levels are immaculate. We want to improve our customers’ processes to increase their sales and profits.”