Retail technology for thriving through uncertain times

As many of you have recognised, the global retail industry has been greatly affected by COVID-19. The way people live, shop and interact with each other has been disrupted. Retail businesses are encountering a variety of challenges including limited access to inventory, an inability to respond to increased consumer demand as panic-buying sets in and an overall reduction in foot traffic as more businesses are forced to close.

While we are heartbroken by the impact this will have on the retail community, we have taken every precaution for the safety of our employees, customers and partners and we are unwaveringly committed to providing uninterrupted service and support. We have also been thinking about how we can bring our expertise to bear in numerous areas to support and advise during this time.

As a business leader, I am certain you are asking yourself any of these questions:

  • How can I continue to run my business successfully during this time?
  • How can I support my customers and employees?
  • How can I best prepare for the future?

You may feel overwhelmed, however, now is truly the time for retail leadership to take actions that will position their businesses for future success. Retail technology can not only help you improve processes and regain control, the right retail technology can deliver long term resiliency so you can weather uncertainty and position your business to thrive once all returns to normal.

Our solutions can help retailers manage their operations and maintain visibility as sales transition from stores to phone and online. And, we are finding other ways to be a resource and service partner as we all face this challenging time.

Following are practical tips that you can use now to navigate through trying times and more importantly be ready to successfully take on the next phase of business.

EMBRACE CLOUD TECHNOLOGY

Retail businesses have had to quickly implement travel restrictions and support an expanding remote workforce. Retailers are now needing to provide staff with access to remote systems, and Cloud technology is proving to be one way in which you can gain back some control of your business.

Now is the time to consider moving your iVend Retail installations to iVend Cloud and we are here to help. We maintain a robust business continuity strategy for our iVend Cloud services which are engineered for resiliency by default and the majority of functionality can be managed remotely. Head office retail management can continue with minimal disruption as your retail applications on iVend Cloud can be accessed from anywhere in the world from a supported web-browser.

iVend Cloud addresses complete infrastructure and application management so you can be up and running with minimal effort and without the added responsibility of managing On-Premise installations of iVend Retail. When your employees are working from home there is no requirement to access company servers, modify network infrastructure to handle multiple remote connections or set up complex security protocols.

These architecture decisions help us ensure a high level of service for our customers. Moreover our customers get direct access to our 24/7 Support Services for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 issues meaning despite this uncertainty your company can prepare to be resilient amid changes in the economic environment. Learn more about iVend Cloud

LAUNCH ONLINE SALES

Social distancing measures at this time are essential and accordingly consumers are changing their spending habits and are stocking up to stay home. If you aren’t already, encourage your customers to buy online and make sure your retail business can meet this unprecedented demand. Consider offering local delivery and shopper incentives like free shipping, added loyalty points and digital coupons.

iVend for Magento quickly facilitates online sales with an integration to Magento Commerce so you can be up and running in as little as three days with a B2C eCommerce platform integrated to iVend Retail. With this integrated platform, you can manage all your products, customers and sales in iVend and sell online. Furthermore, with your Magento Commerce solution hosted on iVend Cloud, even as demand increases, the solution automatically scales to enable your retail business to deliver a high level of customer service even through a crisis. Learn more about iVend for Magento

ACCESS FREE MOBILE CAPABILITIES 

Over the last 3 weeks, we have seen unprecedented demand for our Mobile POS (mPOS) solution, particularly in the grocery and pharmacy domain. Many of our customers are already utilising our mPOS for delivery fulfillment since their customers are no longer able to physically visit their stores due to quarantine restrictions. In the last 3 weeks we have seen a significant increase in license activations for iVend modules for Home, Phone and Online delivery that use iVend mPOS for fulfillment compared to orders received in the entire of 2019. This has certainly been unexpected for our company and we are working to ensure that we continue to deliver the highest level of customer service and provide uninterrupted support as we respond to the situation.

To help you also respond to your own customer demands, we are offering free iVend mPOS licenses till the 1st of June, 2020 to manage your immediate temporary needs for a Mobile Point of Sale solution. So you pay nothing for the iVend Mobile POS monthly subscription until the 1st of June, 2020 with no cap on the number of iVend mPOS licenses you order. We understand your pain during these trying times and we hope this alleviates some of the pressures on your business at this present time. Learn more about iVend Mobile POS

CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

Communicate with your customers and let them know what changes you are making in response to COVID-19 and highlight how you are ensuring business continuity. You’ll be up and running and want to remain top of mind with them during this time. We can certainly offer our assistance to you through our managed services and help you effectively coordinate your customer communications and marketing campaigns.

SEIZE THE MOMENT

Use this down time to prepare and transform areas in your business where you have not been able to focus on in the past. Following are suggestions for retailers to keep marketing and building interest:

  • Complete a physical inventory count with iVend Handheld to ensure that all stock items are accounted for
  • Upgrade to the latest version iVend 6.6 to take advantage of our ongoing innovation
  • Migrate to iVend Cloud for complete business resiliency and managed services
  • Attack that loyalty project you keep putting off because the timing hasn’t been right with iVend Loyalty
  • Communicate with your customers and let them know what changes you are making in response to COVID-19. We can offer our assistance through our managed services to help you effectively coordinate your customer communications and marketing campaigns and highlight how you are ensuring business continuity.

Whatever approach feels right for your business, we can certainly offer our assistance to you through our managed services and help you effectively coordinate your operations and marketing efforts. Please don’t hesitate to reach out – there is no obligation from having these conversations and our retail teams have the time to support you however we can.

*iVend Mobile POS license subscriptions will be free until June 1st, 2020.

CEO of CitiXsys Kamal Karmakar is widely respected as an innovator and expert strategist within the retail sector. Under his guidance, CitiXsys has established itself as a market leader in retail technology with a reputation for delivering integrated retail management solutions (iVend Retail) for the way retailers work today.

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