After the market decline of 2008 and 2009, the retail industry has continued a slow but steady stream of growth. Today, we can finally see a thriving market with emerging retailers.
The National Retail Federation predicts continued growth in 2016 with an estimated 3.1 percent annual retail sales increase. And the trend is expected to continue throughout 2017 with retailers focused on opening additional stores in multiple markets.
With such rapid expansion, how should emerging retailers tackle the increased needs of IT infrastructure?
When opening a new location, the start-up checklist can seem endless. From hiring staff members and stocking product, to designing the space and ensuring all technology components work seamlessly, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or let details slip through the cracks.
Consider our two recommendations below to ensure IT stays current with the growth plan.
- Prioritize – Start big with a full list of potential IT needs and pare down to determine which are necessary for your growing business. Then, make an action plan and timeline for each buildout.
- Database collection from customers
- Surveillance cameras
- Physical and cyber security system
- Point-of-sale systems
- Linked network of cash registers
- Receipt printers
- Wi-Fi access
- Pricing guns
- eCommerce site
- Shipping software and hardware
- Repeat touch points with customers
- Invite the Right People on the Bus – To keep a healthy growth pace, partner with one service provider to handle all IT needs. That’s one company, one contact and one integrated system ensuring all technical components work together.
Harry & David is an example of a rapidly growing franchise with complex IT needs in a retail setting. The company specializes in creating gourmet gift baskets suitable for any special occasion. Thousands of gift baskets are sent out each year and it takes a large IT database to keep track of their many sales.
The Harry & David headquarters in Medford, Oregon, contacted Skinny IT requesting the team to replace 125 computers that needed significant updates. Skinny IT was given three weeks to secure new units, update each machine, back up the data and ensure the 125 computers would be on the employees’ desks as if nothing had changed. Skinny IT sent three team members out to complete the task and within five days the job was done. Our team provided Harry & David with a low project cost, quick turnaround and ensured business continuity so they were able to continue running their business effectively with no loss of work.
If you’re in an emerging retail industry with aggressive growth plans for 2017, let us know if we can help strategize your IT needs.