This article originally appeared in RIS Retail Info Systems. To read the article on that site, please click here.
Leading retailers have fueled the trend towards integration of associate-friendly, in-store mobile POS technology to boost customer engagement and satisfaction. A recent retail IT spending survey revealed that 35% of 500 respondents plan to invest in mobile POS, 33% are prioritizing wireless networks, and 28% plan to purchase mobile POS software and mobile printers.
One operational area that has not been discussed enough is how mobile technology can support price optimization. Yet in today’s age of connected shoppers, maintaining pricing transparency and consistency among multiple store locations, and between your e-commerce site and physical stores, is a real issue—one that can play an important role in boosting in-store sales and retaining customers.
Price Optimization is Key
Consumers expect consistency between your online and in-store prices, and they expect in-store merchandise prices to match advertised prices. In some states and jurisdictions, if store prices do not match those advertised, or the shelf price does not match the check-out price, fines and penalties can result.
The challenge is that retailers need to know how many price changes they can make per week or per month, and how much can they change prices without losing profits. Industry leaders are starting to realize that predictive analytics can play a key role in a successful price strategy. They also need to understand that implementing analytics-driven pricing—a fairly new concept in retail—requires coordination between store operations and pricing executives.
Simply defined, price optimization and management means finding the right balance and the right timing of pricing adjustments.
Aside from special sales and promotions, there can be many reasons why stores may choose to change prices. They may want to reduce prices to move stale or overstocked inventory or meet a competitive threat. Or, they may elect to raise prices selectively based on local events, weather, or an unexpected spike in demand. To execute price changes strategically, stores need to have a software solution offering advanced analytics, as well as reliable portable mobile printers to execute timely price changes at the store level.
Optimize Pricing for Business Value
Typically there’s a lag between the time a price change is issued by corporate to the time it is executed in the store. This gap can have a negative impact on sales, profitability and customer service. The sooner the optimal price point is executed, the faster the benefits accrue.
In-store technology using price optimization software and portable mobile label and receipt printers help retailers recapture lost profit opportunities by removing constraints and ensuring that the most profitable changes are prioritized and executed to deliver maximum value. Moreover, the changes to shelf markers and merchandise can be made quickly and efficiently by empowering the sales associates to make changes on the sales floor.
Selecting Mobile Label and Receipt Printers
Selection of associate-friendly mobile printers should be based on these criteria:
- Compatibility with existing devices and operating systems. Is it interoperable with devices you use now or will use in the future? Is it Apple AirPrint certified for use with iPads and iPhones?
- Functionality. Is it versatile enough to print both the labels and receipts required for store operations? And, can the print cartridges be swapped out quickly to handle both?
- Connectivity. Does it offer flexible connectivity options (e.g., Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or both), and can it also function efficiently without connectivity by having the memory capacity to store and change pricing and SKU information within the printer itself?
S. Nick D’Alessio is the Senior Retail Business Development Manager at Brother Mobile Solutions, a premier provider of products designed to meet the needs of both the front and back of the store. A technology and marketing professional with 20 plus years’ experience, he holds twelve US patents, an engineering degree from Purdue Univ., and an MBA in Marketing from St. Edwards Univ. http://mobilesolutions.brother.com/RJ3-Demo-Retail