4 Reasons Why Small Retailers Deserve Better Broadband
Post lockdown, retail is beginning to see a much needed resurgence. Shoppers kept at home through lockdown are returning to the high street with renewed enthusiasm,
as demonstrated by new figures showing June 2021 to be the 3rd consecutive month of increased sales this year. For small retailers, it’s a chance to begin recovering from the challenges of the pandemic in earnest, but to maximise their chance of success, it’s vital that they invest in the right digital technology. First on the list? A great broadband connection.
1. Faster, smoother transactions
Great connectivity might not be the first technology that springs to mind when you think of retail, but it’s absolutely essential to a seamless shopping experience in 2021. First and foremost, without a reliable broadband connection, the simplicity and speed of contactless transactions disappears. It’s back to the bad old days of waving a card reader in the air, hoping desperately for a stronger signal as the line of customers grows behind you. It’s not just about speed at the point of sale however: A reliable broadband connection means that the sales you make can be instantly processed by your inventory management system, updating stock levels and sending the transaction directly to your payment partner or bank. Making a sale becomes a streamlined, simple process that saves retailers and customers so much time!
2. Better in-store customer experience
For many customers, the overall retail experience has become just as important as the items they buy, which means that businesses are working harder than ever to make shopping with them as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Broadband can play a key role in this process, right from the moment a customer sets foot in a store. Whether this means implementing new features like QR codes to give customers more information about products, brands and new offers as they browse, or equipping staff with tablets to help them answer questions and process orders more flexibly, there’s so much potential for retailers to deliver an enhanced customer experience with a great broadband connection. What’s more, even the smallest businesses can get in on the action, as the cost of implementing these innovations is often only a fraction of the potential value they offer in the long term, especially considering factors like customer satisfaction & retention.
3. Seamless shopping, from online to offline
If there’s one thing we learned in the pandemic, online shopping is here to stay. Even as high streets reopen, 74% of European shoppers say they have no intention of reducing the amount they shop online. For small businesses, this is likely to mean that a significant proportion of future customers will at least begin their purchase journey online, whether that’s initial research, or ordering an item to collect in store. Once again, great broadband is going to be instrumental in helping facilitate this ‘hybrid’ retail experience, from ensuring orders placed online are instore and available to collect instantly, to being able to update website stock levels based on what’s being sold in-store. Even if customers are just looking to find out more about a business online before visiting in person, having the capability to be responsive and welcoming on social media can really lay the groundwork for a great customer experience. As in-store retail becomes ever more intertwined with online shopping and social media, great connectivity will become ever more important.
4. Supercharged back office processes
Inventory management, timetabling staff, website management - all of these things are a vital part of any successful retail business. However, these back office processes can often become a time consuming chore, especially if you’re struggling with slow, intermittent internet. A faster, more reliable connection will not only take some of the sting out of keeping up with these tasks, it will also open the door to even more efficient processes. This could be a cloud based platform that manages inventory and integrates seamlessly with e-commerce software, or an app that helps your staff track and manage their shifts more efficiently. Ultimately, better broadband will help supercharge daily back office processes and give small retailers more time to focus on what really matters - their customers.
We hope you enjoyed this latest article on digital best practices for small businesses post lockdown. For more insights and articles designed to help small businesses unlock their digital potential, you can visit our Insights hub.
‘Retail Sales Index’, Office of National Statistics, 18.06.2021, https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/datasets/retailsalesindexreferencetables
 ‘74% of European shoppers have no intention of scaling back online shopping, study finds’ Internet Retailing, 16,06.2021, https://internetretailing.net/payment/74-of-european-shoppers-have-no-intention-of-scaling-back-online-shopping-study-finds