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Lumber and building materials retailers around the country were fortunate when they were deemed essential businesses and allowed to remain open. While some states included them in lockdown and closure orders, many have been able to continue doing business as usual, or at least as normal as it can be. It’s provided peek into the future of how businesses looking to thrive will need to adapt to the new retail environment.
Retail experts predict consumers are developing new shopping behaviors that require businesses adjust their practices.
Shoppers are expected to continue to lean toward e-commerce and pick-up in-store, a trend that started close to 20 years ago but was hastened by the health and economic crisis. Sale volume in e-commerce marketplaces increased 30% from mid-March 23 through early April, according to a report from research firm Rakuten Intelligence.
Those digital sales reach far beyond a store’s website, too. Making an online sale is the first step, but retail businesses need both digital and physical tools to fulfill those transactions. The use of curbside pickup programs such as BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup in Store) and delivery options were already trending before the coronavirus began sweeping the globe. Year-over-year growth of BOPIS was up 18% in January and 28% in February, according to Adobe Analytics.
These trends and numbers reinforce the need for retailers to have cohesive sales processes across all channels—online and physical. Paladin Data Corporation’s intuitive retail platform provides native features and specialty integrations that give independent businesses digital tools that allow them to compete with e-commerce giants and big-box retailers.
- Pointy drives the digital audience to your store by syncing unique Paladin inventory to Google.
- Ez-Ad provides multi-media marketing, advertising and e-commerce solutions.
- Volusion links a store’s physical and digital sales to optimize digital reach and inventory control.
“LBM and hardware businesses that want to thrive in the evolving retail environment need technology that works as hard as they do.”
The consumers who return to brick-and-mortar stores—before the economic shutdown approximately 80% of total sales were done in physical stores—are going to seek out locations with low- or no-contact solutions such as contactless or mobile checkout and payments. The research firm Shekel reports that more than 70% of shoppers are already using touchless self-checkout options or shopping at frictionless markets.
Paladin provides mobile applications such as its Mobile2 suite of products that reduce customer contact in checkout and delivery. Mobile Access provides inventory reports via mobile devices. And Paladin Pilot provides remote business network access that allows owners or managers to run their stores from home or the road.
Terminals such as Ingenico allow for contactless transactions. Touch Dynamic Quest III and Samsung tablets, along with the Innowi ChecOut M2 all-in-one devices allow customers avoid cash register lines via remote checkout.
“LBM and hardware businesses that want to thrive in the evolving retail environment need technology that works as hard as they do,” says Jeff Rogers, marketing, sales and partnerships director for Paladin Data Corporation. “We enable stores with the tools they need to put their data to work, in-store and on the go, to thrive in the new normal.”
While most stores have been shuttered, many essential businesses have flourished.
In a report from Hardware Retailing, Eric Hassett, who owns five hardware stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, reflects success with his sales increasing 71% the week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his stay-at-home order.
In April, Ace Hardware announced it was looking to hire 30,000 new associates. Tractor Supply disclosed profits for the first quarter of 2020 were up 7.5% and that is was hiring 5,000 workers.
“Our data is showing a majority of our clients who are still open are booming,” Rogers says. Paladin provides industry-specific software and hardware solutions for LBM and hardware retailers.”
Whether your business is thriving, holding its own, or struggling to survive, on the backside of this health and economic crisis will be a new retail environment. To thrive in it, experts say your business should be operationally and technologically ready for a similar shutdown. Omnichannel sales processes—a strong online presence, mobile capabilities for sales and management, and programs like curbside pickup and local delivery—can keep revenues streaming even when a store’s physical doors are closed.
If you want to learn more about Paladin Data Corporation’s lumber solutions, please visit PaladinPointofSale.com/Lumber-Point-of-Sale.