Everywhere retailers look they are confronted with a new paradigm, a new approach to doing business, regardless of their area of specialization.

Over the last two or three years the fundamentals of retail have changed and some retailers are yet to notice and embrace the change.

The new paradigm, while impacting all retailers, is not universal. There are nuances by channel and there is where specialist Point of Sale software can help a retailer navigate to the change in circumstances.

The customer is at the heart of retail today, more so than ever before. Thanks to universal access to pricing, product and other information, the customer is more informed and powerful than ever before.

Whereas in the past a retailer knew of their key competitors based on their geographic location and could therefore research and understand them, today’s competitors could be anywhere in the world. Indeed, many shoppers are spending time with a competitor of a retail business while actually in the business … such is the power for the customer thanks to smartphones and easy access to the online world.

Many retailers have made them mistake of thinking that the new paradigm is merely about bricks and mortar retail versus online.  That is barely the beginning of the new paradigm. Indeed, it goes way beyond such a basic comparison.

The only way to compete in this new world of retail is to genuinely and wholeheartedly place the customer at the centre of everything you do. From the moment they step near, physically or virtually, your business you need to embrace them with an embrace unlike ever before.  No, not a hug, nothing physical.

The customer embrace in this new world of retail is about value, from as soon as a customer is nearby. Value in service, advice as well as price. This is where bricks and mortar businesses can win against online … if they understand how to demonstrate value through a range of touch points in their business.

Central to delivering value is the core efficiency of the business itself.  Retail businesses need to operate at a level of efficiency which enables them to compete on price. At the same time they need to ensure that all sales associates are able to transact with shoppers wherever they are in the store. They need to be able to be the most knowledgeable people in the store without necessarily having the most experience.

This is where good Point of Sale software, ideal software for the type of retail business, can provide a retailer with a point of difference and a structure through which to embrace the new customer-centric paradigm.

It is not enough to operate a basic cash register type system as that will deliver only basic results and basic will not cut it today with competitors around the globe.  Retail businesses which specialize need specialist software.  The result is a stronger, smarter and more nimble retail business.

Good specialist Point of Sale software will enable a bricks and mortar business to not only compete but grow in this world. This is an opportunity for retailers, an opportunity to embrace change and to thrive against what may seem to some like insurmountable odds.