iVend works with a host of different retailers around the world, of all types and sizes, which gives us a unique insight into what successful businesses are doing to set themselves apart. We have used that knowledge to pinpoint ten key competitive strategies for success in retail. I wrote about the first five of these in ‘Ten competitive strategies of successful retailers – Part 1’. (Check out the article here if you missed it). Let’s now look at the remaining five ways that retailers can make sure they’re front runners, and not also rans.

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In the tough and highly competitive world that is retail, retailers need smart competitive strategies to ensure that they succeed and win in the race for customer spend and loyalty. We’ve looked at the importance of a customer-centric approach, data-based decisions, omnichannel, supply chain management and your team. So what are the other five competitive strategies that successful retailers deploy to ensure they come out on top – and stay there?

  • Optimising store operations – When it comes to store operations, one of the things that all successful retailers have in common is optimised processes and efficiency. Everything is focused on operational excellence to create a seamless shopping experience; helping them to find the goods they want; checkout fast and pay the way they want. Competitive strategies for optimising store operations include having a fast and efficient retail POS software to speed up the checkout process; ensuring goods are always on the shelf by using replenishment automation; and equipping staff with mobile POS to reduce queuing. Offering multiple payment options is an important factor for optimised store operations too – a global survey in the fashion retail sector for example showed that over half of shoppers want more payment options * and 61% of retailers are changing their operational practices to meet this demand.
  • Personalised customer service – Successful retailers recognise that personalisation is no longer a ‘nice to have’’, it is absolutely fundamental to a thriving retail business. According to Forbes, 66% of consumers ‘expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations’ and 52% ‘expect all offers to be personalised ** ’. Successful retailers understand this and have a competitive strategies for data analytics that helps them get to know their customers, understand their preferences, know when they are in or near the store, and offer them things that are of value and which will enhance their loyalty to the brand and keep them coming back for more.

  • Retail innovation – Customer preferences and demands are not set in stone. Things change and before you know it, customers want new services, new products, new ways of interacting. Successful retailers are those who are always staying ahead of retail innovation, in terms of customer preferences, in terms of retail technology, in terms of the market. AI is a good example, with smart retailers exploring how they can use it to deliver a seamless shopping experience – whether that’s improving stock management, choice of goods offered, delivery times, or returns process. Great retailers never truly stand still – they are constantly seeking retail innovation to match the way that shoppers want to interact.

  • Aligned values – More and more shoppers want to buy from retailers whose values match theirs. In a survey of over 25,000 consumers in 12 countries, 81% said that ethical sourcing is important to them*** and that they would pay more for responsibly sourced goods.  Interestingly, 20% of them said that this had become important in the last year, showing that attitudes are continually shifting. Another review of consumer attitudes shows that 60% care about sustainable packaging + and would pay more for products that are packaged in an environmentally responsible way.

  • Invest in up to date retail POS software – Retail technology is always developing, with new capabilities and functionality. Successful retailers stay up to date, rather than getting hamstrung by old tech. One of the biggest advances in retail technology is the advent of the integrated platform – bringing together a range of functions such as point-of-sale system, online and offline integration, inventory management, loyalty, analytics and reporting in a single platform, enabling automation and greater efficiency. Cloud-based retail technology ensures that retailers always have the latest updates available, without having to upgrade their software in house; security and privacy is managed; there is no investment needed in in-house infrastructure and large teams of IT staff.

    At iVend, we’ve worked with thousands of retailers around the globe, and these ten competitive strategies show up time and time again as the key to retail success.

I would like to use cloud-based pos software, but what happens if a stores loses connectivity?

There are many benefits of using cloud-based pos software, but some retailers are nervous about how they would continue trading in the event of a network failure. The key is to ensure that you select a cloud-based point of sale platform that also has an offline option. This means that if the store is not able to connect to the cloud for any period of time, it automatically switches over into stand-alone mode, allowing you to continue to operate and manage transactions without any impact on the store or customers. When the network is back, the system will automatically send all transactions up to the system.


I have a responsibility to keep customer data secure – will a cloud-based system be able to do that?

Yes – as long as you select a cloud-based pos provider that has a robust security approach. In fact, the likelihood is that a cloud-based software provider will offer better security than you could manage in-house, as they do it at scale as a fundamental core of their offering. With the right provider, you can be sure that your customer data is safe, and managed in accordance with your regulatory responsibilities.

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