Modern retail has several challenges to overcome if they want to grow their business at a sustainable rate. While it might be difficult to compete against the sheer scale and size of big box retailers such as Shein or Amazon, it’s worth remembering that these companies rely on an intricate technological infrastructure in order to ensure that their customers always find what they are looking for in stock and at the right price.

This is not something that only large businesses can have. Smaller businesses can also use technology to their advantage, and create a robust IT environment that can help them provide the same level of service to their clients, even if it’s not necessarily at the same scale.

Here’s how IT operations management can help retail businesses grow.

What can IT operations management handle for retail clients?

IT Operations Management in general is a systematic approach of using and building your IT infrastructure. It can adapt to any business need, and monitor business operations to make sure that it runs smoothly.

In the case of retail, this could be:

  • Inventory management – part of the biggest issue with inventory for retail clients is that it is very easy to run out of something, very difficult to predict when, and a quick way of losing customer loyalty. By placing inventory management at the heart of your IT operations, you can adapt your existing inventory management system into your business plan, and streamline your supply chain.
  • Security – retailers who have an online shopping component or have the capabilities of taking payments online are beholden to several laws, but beyond the legal ramifications, a business that is breached and exposes customer data will suffer reputational damage as well as the financial damage that it will take. However, IT operations management can shore up any gaps in security and identify breaches before they become a much larger problem.
  • Ensuring GDPR compliance – regardless of business size, data needs to be protected, and IT operations management can help make sure that no business is in breach of data protection laws in the country it operates in.

What are the benefits of IT operations management for retail clients?

With IT operations management, a retail business has a full, top-down view of the way the shop is currently operating at any given moment. This means that any issues that arise, such as a lack of inventory or short-staffing, can be predicted and adapted to before they start to impact customer service and satisfaction.

Some of the key benefits of IT operations management include:

  • Inventory can be easily managed through a single interface, providing the store manager with an understanding of what’s currently selling well, what’s not selling, and what’s sold out. By understanding the value of their inventory from the lens of their customers, retailers can only stock products that will sell, reducing the risk of over-purchasing.
  • A positive shopping experience for customers where they are kept fully informed of everything to do with their order.
  • Faster order fulfilment.
  • The capability to lower or adjust prices to make the most of customer interest.
  • Happier employees as a result of happier customers, where they can then focus on other work rather than addressing customer concerns.

Do I need IT operations management as a small retailer?

IT operations management is an excellent investment for any retail business, regardless of whether or not there’s a plan to grow further, however it can be more beneficial to think of it in terms of what IT operations management offers the small retailer.

Inventory management is the chief concern of many stores, and while a very small shop run by a single individual can probably do without the IT infrastructure, as the shop grows and more people start to run the place, keeping track of inventory alone is going to become time-consuming and costly. Similarly, if the store has inventory spread throughout several locations, and clients only go to one particular store, there are missed opportunities to sell more.

Additionally, IT operations management can help with the pricing of inventory, allowing the store a little more flexibility in how it addresses pricing surges or sales.

Unless the retail operation is very small, and includes a tiny amount of inventory that can be easily managed by writing it down on paper, any retail operation would benefit from IT operations management.

Is investing in IT operations management for retailers expensive?

While investing in IT operations management is a little more expensive than simply having one person with a laptop, the benefits outweigh the price, provided that the retailer has a plan in mind to grow their business or at least expand their services. However, IT operations management can be outsourced, and does not necessarily require an in-house team. While you might be waiting a little for a response in times of crisis, it’s a good halfway step between not having IT operations management and having a full team at your disposal.

There is a solution to support every small retailer, regardless of what you sell. If you’re interested in finding out more about what IT operations management can do for your shop, reach out – we’re always happy to guide you along!

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