Canadian Music Trade - August/September 2017 - Page 28

Canadian Retail Trends In Conversation with MONEXgroup’s Lindsey Lu L By Andrew King eading into 2017, MONEXgroup’s Lindsey Lu shared a blog post entitled, “Technology Trends for Canadian Retailers in 2017.” In it, she identified current and incoming trends relating to everything from meta shifts af- fecting retailers across many industries to key technology trends to the evolution of digital marketing and more. We checked in with her partway through 2017 to see how those trends have been developing, how they might impact smaller businesses, and what retailers can expect approaching 2018. CMT: You identified three key technology trends in your ini- tial post: click and collect, order management systems, and product information management. How can each of these assist retailers, and are they ideal for retailers of a certain size or scale? LL: Click and collect works by customers clicking for the items they want to purchase via an e-commerce website and then collecting their order in-store. It saves time and energy, creating an overall simplified and convenient shopping experience. A shopping sys- tem like click and collect is more commonly found in big grocery stores like Loblaws, Walmart, etc. This is because small independent retailers may not have the resources to invest in developing such a sophisticated system. Order management systems (OMS) are software used to automate and streamline order processing for businesses. Retailers invest in OMS because it helps to organize orders from customers, maintain stock levels, and improve coordination of logistics. It is designed to streamline operations, boost efficiency, and sustain profitability. Every business should utilize OMS to manage their op- erations. There are some excellent affordable cloud-based solutions available for smaller businesses that don’t require the expensive enterprise-level types of solutions. Product information management (PIM) functions as a product data hub where instant updates are sent to numerous websites simultaneously to manage multiple catalogue listings. The functionality is now accessible for smaller merchants with a wide variety of affordable and effective web applications available to assist. CMT: Speaking of how “marketing is morphing,” you note the rise of in-store digital and more technology being used on the sales floor. What are some means of capitalizing on 28 CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE this trend that smaller retailers can take to stay competitive, and what are some ideas for effective content? LL: Small business owners can employ tablets at their storefront where they can create virtual interactions with their products to keep shoppers engaged. For example, shoppers can browse dif- ferent colours and patterns of the merchandise they are interested in on the tablet, explore the features in more detail, and view the products in different simulated environments. Tablets can also display pricing options and perhaps, if the business has other loca- tions, then availability of the merchandise at other locations. The small retailer can leverage their relationships with their product suppliers to assist with their high-tech in-store display as they may have such point-of-purchase display solutions available. For example, a retailer that partners with GoPro can ask them to assist with an in-store display where they show actual video pro- duced by the camera. You can also utilize LCD monitors in-store for highlighting different promotions, new products, and looping educational vid- eos such as “How-To” tutorials that help demonstrate the product set-up and usage. CMT: You also note how brands will create more original content because these materials can and will be repurposed across different media and audiences. What types of content does this entail and how can smaller retailers get their feet wet and take advantage of this trend on a more humble scale? LL: Repurposing content simply means using existing content and presenting it in a different but consistent manner across a number of outlets. Some examples may include blogs, newsletters, social media posts, ads, and graphics. An effective way to repurpose content is to communicate your company’s message on various social media channels. Imag- ine you publish a blog article every week for your store; you could get more “bang” for your effort if you reword the article a little and submit it on other industry websites or forums. Blog articles are great for ranking on targeted keywords in Google, as Google loves content! The more you post using the right words, the more likely you are to rank high. After Google, YouTube is the world’s second largest search en- gine. Be sure to leverage it with a channel dedicated to your trade. How-to educational videos are very popular and can help make you an authority on a topic related to your exp ѥ͔ͼݥ)ѡɸѼԁȁ͕٥̸