This year marks the 30th anniversary of IKEA opening in the UK, a store that divides the nation almost as much as Marmite. Whether you like it or not IKEA has been an integral part of changing the homeware retail landscape, providing shoppers with the opportunity to see products in the showroom, select it in the warehouse and assemble at home. It’s not only speed and convenience that IKEA has set the trend in but providing accessible, affordable, well designed furniture and furnishings to everyone.

People of the UK are very proud of their homes and interior design usually reflects their personalities and lifestyle. As the seasons and fashions change, people are more likely to update their home styling and homeware retailers need to keep up with the changing trends and retail landscape, including consumer expectations within their buyer journey.

Multi-channel retail is crucial to the homeware industry, most customers will choose to look online at products before visiting a store to look at and feel products before making their decision. Cloud technology is at the forefront of providing a seamless customer experience both in store and online, whilst giving retailers the opportunity to offer a wider choice of products and a more convenient experience.

Extended Choice and Show-rooming

Given the demand of extended choice, online e-tailers are thriving. Wayfair offer an extensive range of homewares to suit all budgets and most products are available quickly, providing that speed and convenience greatly desired by the ever changing customer; whilst Amara offers the style conscious easy access to designer homewares, previously reserved for London boutique stores. How long will it be before they follow competitor Made into opening showrooms across the UK?

Providing that touchy-feely aspect to shopping, show-rooming is proving successful to Made.com, giving consumers the chance to view a selection of products, take away fabric samples and even order there and then through the use of tablets.

Can your retail system compete?

As consumers change, so does the technology that creates an enhanced customer experience and you may need to ask yourself if your retail IT system can cope and compete in the changing market. Can you take advantage of the endless aisle, promise customers quick delivery on larger items or even gain a real time view of stock across all channels? If the answer is no then maybe it’s time to rethink your homeware retail system to keep ahead of the competition.

7 benefits of Cloud EPoS for homeware retail:

1. Real time stock

Access to real-time stock across all locations is critical to homeware retailers who handle multiple products and stock lines. It allows you to create a view of all stock levels across all channels meaning you can fulfil customer orders in store or online efficiently. If an item is out of stock in one store, you can still fulfil customer orders, either by dispatching stock from another location and delivering directly to the customer; or transferring it to their nearest store. A Cloud EPoS solution will also let you keep an eye on what items are running low and what you need to order, creating improved customer service and most importantly, maximising sales opportunity.

 2. Mobile PoS

Keep your staff prepared for questions with mobile PoS across your stores. Assisting with selling and stock checking, mobile PoS allows customers to be served quickly and effectively, and you can even sell off site at events, or in a showroom, letting you capture every sale possible.

3. Click and collect or deliver

Collection and deliveries can be a deal breaker! Customers want convenience and delivery options are key, letting your customers collect from a store of their choice means they won’t miss a delivery; whilst offering a dedicated time and date slot for home delivery on larger items means people can plan their day. Cloud technology provides you with the efficiency you need with click and collect, click and reserve or even buy in store and deliver to home.

4. Multi-channel

Most homeware retailers have more than one sales channel, so wouldn’t it be great if they could all be integrated? Cloud retail end-to end systems are true multi-channel, giving you a single view of stock, sales and customers throughout every outlet. No matter where your customer is shopping, whether online through a website, eBay, Amazon or in your owned and franchised stores, the customer will always see the same quantity of stock, preventing you from overselling.

5. Extended digital aisles

Possibly the most important aspect of the change in homeware retail landscape, Cloud EPoS provides you with an endless aisle and the ability to showroom products in store, at events or even in pop ups and concessions. Staff can easily reserve reserve warehouse stock and have it delivered directly to the customers door, providing a seamless experience for both parties.

6. Warehouse management

If you carry a lot of stock or are planning on expanding your product lines then you may need to implement a warehouse management system and merchandising module that helps ensure you have the right stock at the right time in the right location. Cloud technology lets you see suggested ordering items, forecasting and replenishment, whilst managing your warehouse from inbound to outbound.

7. Forward ordering

Can you currently take customer orders against items that are not in stock? Cloud EPoS gives you the ability to place forward orders on items that are on purchase order from the supplier or central warehouse but not yet received into the shop, once again providing you with an improved customer service and satisfaction.

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