The one constant in retail is change. already in 2017 we see more evidence of that. Amazon opening in Australia, growth in online, the launch of several disruptor models targeting specialist retail channels … these are some of the challenges we have read about in the last few weeks.

It is easy to read of what big businesses are doing and feel demotivated for one’s small business. This can be as true for your business as it is for my small software company.

As small businesses the biggest advantage is our ability to move faster. While we made not have the budget or press attention, we can move faster, we can change faster.

Here at Tower Systems, change starts with understanding trends. Already this year we have had team members have attended five international trade shows – Atlanta Gift Fair, Paperworld in Frankfurt, Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Spring Fair in Birmingham and the National Retail Federation annual conference in New York. Each conference / trade show has provided insights we will leverage.

A couple of trends stand out.

  • The first is the greater blurring of lines in retail niches. The bike shop is not a bike shop only, the jeweller is not a jewellery business only, the garden centre is not a garden centre. Being flexible beyond your traditional shingle is important.
  • The second trend is about being local. Big businesses are structuring being local in a systemised way to capture shoppers who like local … even though the big businesses are not as local as locally owned small businesses. Now more than ever you need to leverage ways in your software to demonstrate you are local. Yes, Retailer helps you do this.

As we see it, goals for any small retail business this year have to include:

  1. Traffic. Finding new shoppers.
  2. Shopper value. Using every touch point possible to increase value of existing traffic.
  3. Efficiency. To eliminate out of date time wasting practices.
  4. Performance. To make decisions based on data facts and not gut .. cutting mistakes.
  5. Experimenting. The borders of specialty retail are gone. Play outside what’s been usual.

The biggest mistake we see made in small business retail is a lack of regard for accurate data. Customers of ours who respect data, reorder based on business, data, roster based on business data and plan based on business data usually have more successful businesses.

Online businesses, like of Amazon, are coming for high street retail. Being strong is crucial. Being smart is even more important … because Amazon and those in their league are smart.

In 2016 we released new facilities to help in some of these areas. In 2017 we have more coming. However, what you can achieve in your business in a marketplace driven by change depends on your business data.

If you want better data than you have today, we can help. We’d be glad to have the opportunity. It starts with you putting your hand up for help.