Back in November 2011, well before Showrooming became a buzz word, I wrote about how the tech-savvy consumer would eventually force the retail industry to change the way it disseminates product information, markets to customers and completes sales (VSR Nov. 2011 “The Dawn of the New Consumer"). While there has been some growth in retail technology advancements in the past year, many of the large retailers have yet to buy into change wholeheartedly. Hell, Best Buy—the company I namedropped as the worst store to buy tech from—is actually on a handful of death lists this year.
So what does that mean for solution providers? It’s time to hit the SMB retail market hard. Small and medium-size retailers do not have tons of corporate red tape to cut through before they can pilot or roll out new technologies that can improve their businesses. If a potential customer reaches out to you asking for a tablet POS solution, try to upsell them on a subscription-based inventory management system that can be tracked from the main POS and a handheld unit. If they have an e-commerce website, help them tether the system with their brick and mortar POS so they can track in-store and warehouse inventory in real time. If they want a digital display, suggest a touchscreen solution that can adjust the content based on who the customer is.
Sure, some of these ideas might be a little future forward, but according to the hardware vendors I’ve talked to, many of these concepts are scalable to the SMB market and won’t cost a fortune to resell and implement. You guys are the experts, so you probably know of a ton more ways to better connect your clients with their customers. If you have any awesome examples, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to read about them. In the meantime, flip over to page 8 to find out how solution providers are helping retailers curb showrooming right now. Happy New Year.