How is coronavirus impacting the retail industry?

NIKKI GILLILAND | March 19, 2020

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Primark is one of the latest retailers to announce the temporary closure of some of its stores, in a bid to help stop the spread of coronavirus. It has closed outlets in Italy, France, Spain, and Austria (where 30% of its revenue is generated), while its UK and Northern Ireland stores at the time of publication at least  remain (perhaps controversially) open. Primark is certainly not the only one to take this kind of action. Global retailers including Glossier, Nike, Urban Outfitters, and Patagonia have all indefinitely shut their stores, purely to help prevent further outbreak. In the majority of cases, employees are being paid for lost shifts. At the same time, retailers have also updated working policies to help ease the strain on staff. Starbucks, for example, has announced that it is implementing ‘catastrophe pay’ to US employees, meaning that it will now pay staff for up to 14 days if they have been diagnosed or in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

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OTHER ARTICLES

How retailers can be ready for busy sales seasons with proactive maintenance

Article | February 25, 2020

In the retail industry, holiday shopping accounts for about 20 percent of annual sales. In the final few weeks of the year, it’s easy for retailers to feel overwhelmed with not only an influx of shoppers but the added pressure of needing to tie up loose ends before January 1st. These weeks can make or break the year and creating a positive customer experience that’s memorable is essential for continued success. For this reason, retailers need to strive for 100 percent Brand Uptime in order to meet customer expectations, maximize sales and revenue, and deliver a positive customer experience. The preparation must have an omnichannel focus. It starts with digital realms such as ensuring your website can handle the influx of visitors in the weeks leading up to the new year as well as the months following. But for most retailers, the key factor will be how well they prepare brick-and-mortar stores for increased inventory and foot traffic.

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Which Retail Store Is Better: Amazon or Walmart

Article | February 25, 2020

Walmart has long been the number one retailer across all of the United States, but with the age of online shopping coming into full swing, Amazon has slowly been creeping up on the brick-and-mortar giant and, according to Forbes, is set to surpass Walmart in sales in the next few years. The two stores offer similar services an all around shopping experience that has everything from food to clothes to beauty products to household items to consumers in totally different ways. There are a number of things to consider before you decide which of these retail mega stores you want to make your next purchase from, and it goes beyond just a preference for shopping online vs. in-person. How easy the products are to get, the number of product options, and, most importantly, the price point, are all definitely important to take note of. So let’s dive in!

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Yotpo Extends Its eCommerce Marketing Platform with Retail Syndication

Article | February 25, 2020

Today, Yotpo announced a partnership with Bazaarvoice that will enable Yotpo customers to syndicate their product reviews and visual user-generated content to the world’s largest network of retail websites, empowering over a billion monthly shoppers to make more confident buying decisions. The power of Yotpo’s data-driven eCommerce marketing platform combined with the broad reach of the Bazaarvoice Network demonstrates the value of Yotpo’s best-in-class solution for the world’s most cutting-edge brands. With this agreement, eCommerce marketers can continue to leverage Yotpo’s end-to-end platform to grow their direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel while accelerating third-party sales in parallel by syndicating their customer reviews, ratings, and visual content to the network’s 1,900 global retail sites.

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POS SOLUTIONS

Getting smart about payment terminals

Article | February 25, 2020

For many years, payment terminals have been a vital tool for businesses that complete their customer transactions in-store. The familiar hand-held devices have reliably taken card payments and offered simple additional services like mobile phone top-ups, cashback or electronic tipping solutions. However, with recent technical innovation, boosted by the urgency surrounding Covid-19, the humble payment terminal is shedding its hard exterior - no longer is it, as some would argue, simply a commoditised, hardware-based necessity. As many within the payments space have predicted, the payment terminal is truly becoming a digital enabler and vital pivot point of modernisation for any business that accepts electronic transactions. The Android Operating System leads the way Today, payment terminals come in many forms. Though the traditional, handheld counter-top devices remain, many businesses now use off-the-shelf smartphones or tablets enabled with SPOC and CPOC technology. Regardless of their physical form, truly modern payment terminals share a commonality – enhanced functionality which allows businesses to update and adapt quickly to changing performance, environments, and customer needs. The Android operating system has been at the centre of a latest wave of innovation, facilitating the rise of mobile payment devices - pushed hard by the likes of Visa - and supporting the budding versatilities presented by Open Banking and PSD2 initiatives. Combined, this new choice and flexibility has the potential to deliver significant advantages to businesses deploying Android point-of-sale (POS) solutions. These include integrated EPOS, strong authentication, and an array of alternative payment methods such as bank-to-bank payments, QR codes and even crypto currencies. It’s about more than being just Covid-ready Getting the timing right to make adjustments and improvements is now a focus for businesses across the UK as we start to emerge from Covid-19 restrictions and resume face-to-face interactions. The conventional payment terminal can play a central part in engineering the essential adjustments needed to create a Covid-safe environment – the new £100 contactless limit being the most obvious example. However, functionality provided by the latest payment terminals allows businesses to do more than just make their premises Covid-ready. For more commercial gains, payment terminals running on the Android OS allow for this same POS functionality but combine it with other essential business systems such as stock management, visual itemisation, and centralised booking systems. As well as providing greater visibility of a business’ health and finances, more information also means friction points such as wait times and queues in store can be better managed. More data about customer behaviour also makes the in-store experience more customisable, for example, businesses can use this data to identify their busiest periods, explore seasonal changes or test new product lines and structure their staff planning and stock levels accordingly. Coupled with more vital operational efficiencies, payment terminals can allow for a speed and flexibility of payments that can directly enhance the bottom line. As the pace in retail environments ramps up to match that of the pre-Covid days, meeting new customer expectations and new environmental changes will be critical in staying relevant. An ability to accept the latest types and methods of payment could actually play a part in helping a business survive through difficult economic times. Bolstering cash flow will also take on added importance as businesses rebuild. Payment terminals powered by better internet connections mean transactions are already faster, but internet speed alone is not enough. Today, terminals can be updated in ways that allow merchants to process those transactions faster still and get funds deposited into bank accounts in batches throughout the day, often completing within the hour. Payment terminals and Big Data With data becoming the bedrock of all modern businesses, it is the Android operating system’s ability to generate such an impressive wealth of data that adds to its compelling proposition. The value of Big Data and analytics to filter large volumes of information and uncover actionable insights is well known to the business world. Useable information can help leaders learn about their customers, make better decisions and, ultimately, produce more revenue. Customer data, for example, makes it possible for a business to learn about the buying behaviours of an individual customer or of defined customer segments. When a business knows the time of day (or night) their customers shop and what type of purchases they make, it becomes easier to plan when inventories are stocked and with what items. Android payment terminals can provide data in a way that offers easy visibility of key trends and which specific hours of the day produce the most sales, allowing businesses to investigate possible reasons and react accordingly. Such knowledge can then be used for a variety of purposes including the ability to upsell to future customers with greater success and the tactical arrangement of items in store. Crucially now, it will also enable businesses to maintain a Covid-safe environment by planning ahead for in-store activity and capacity limits. With hundreds of applications already available to download from the app store, it’s important that SMEs are able to use this scale of choice to their advantage rather than become overwhelmed or distracted by it. Indeed, by taking the time to explore the apps available, smaller businesses can find the tools which allow them to level the playing field by bringing their operational efficiencies in line with larger brands and by leveraging the solutions that allow them to compete on customer service.

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Spotlight

Euroffice Ltd

Euroffice is the UK’s one-stop online office supplies and stationery store. Your office is our passion and our range of office supplies includes ink and toner cartridges, notepads and notebooks, copier paper, pens, envelopes, sticky notes, labels, staplers and lots more desktop stationery.

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