3 technologies that help neighborhood stores to digitize themselves

3 technologies that help neighborhood stores to digitize themselves

From orders on WhatsApp to traffic from online to offline, here's how some startups and innovative companies reinvent the activity of shops and physical stores

(photo: Pixabay) New payment methods, new sites, new technologies to intrigue the customer. But also renewed business models, more streamlined and digitized internal processes. If uncertainty reigns supreme in this period, the world of commerce has had to gear up to remain competitive. Many retailers have found the strength to take the big and necessary step: go online, start selling on the internet. Others have sought and adopted specific strategies to be more attractive. Often in all these projects innovative startups have been involved that offer services for stores, able to help them deploy more resources to digitize and strengthen their presence on the web.

On the other hand 51% of Italians who has experimented with online shopping believes that traditional stores should use this moment of emergency to permanently change their skin. This is highlighted by a recent research by Netcomm, the Italian ecommerce consortium, which highlights the now central role of omnichannel, which has been talked about for many years. The consumer today wants a purchasing service that breaks down the distance between the digital and physical world. It means that he searches online for answers to his questions, of any kind - from shop hours, to product sheets, to the availability of items - and only after he has a clear picture, does he proceed. That is, he goes to the physical store to buy.

Bringing customers to the store

Correctly inform the user and direct them to the nearest store where the product they are looking for is present, whether it is a direct store, a franchisee or a multi-brand. RetailTune is a company born three years ago from an idea of ​​Claudio Agazzi and deals with local digital marketing. It works with companies and its goal is to bring traffic to the stores, govern all the digital touchpoints of the points of sale and provide detailed and updated information to the end customer.

Thanks to a precise geolocation, RetailTune intercepts users in real time, it hires them and leads them to the nearest point of sale, also managing information such as addresses, hours and telephone numbers for contacts. This facilitates the dialogue between the shop and the customer and offers a high purchase experience, also through booking and concierge services, before and after crossing the threshold of the physical shop.

"We have activated effective tools, which start from geolocation, to the creation of the relationship with the nearest store ", explains Agazzi:" This relationship in turn allows us to be proactive with tools such as the reserve in store, back in store if the product is not present , e-store assistant to finalize a sale through chat, WhatsApp or similar tools. ”

RetailTune has also created listening tools. “Today we are able to find out which products the public at each point of sale likes. We know what the success rate is if a user wants to buy a certain product in a specific store. We know how large the store's stock is compared to local tastes ”, Agazzi goes on.

The starting situation of the market is fragmented and dusty. There are brands that sell a lot in multi-brand stores but do not communicate to the user what these stores are, often for fear of competition. RetailTune is trying to show its customers instead that they pose no threat. "This is why we have something new for the next few months", says Agazzi: "A solution to support the multi-brand and help it enjoy the notoriety of the brands it has in its portfolio".

The second novelty is "a new index able to measure the potential of the single store with respect to the reputation of the brand. A fine tool that will also make it possible to measure the effectiveness of communication campaigns, including offline ".

The experience of pharmacies

A platform that enables pharmacies to receive orders directly on Whatsapp . Farmakom, an Italian company specializing in the creation of e-stores for pharmacies and parapharmacies, has developed a system for the remote management and sale of pharmaceutical items. It does so thanks to an agreement with LifeData, an innovative reality active in the artificial intelligence sector, which has implemented the technology underlying the idea.

The system allows the customer to book drugs but also to access a series of online services that are offered to pharmacies by Farmakom to facilitate accessibility to ecommerce. For example, with WhatsApp you can have information on products in restocking, active discounts and enable notifications for collection at the pharmacy. By using the Google map, by clicking on the pharmacy card on the portal, the consumer can also search for items, make purchases on the e-commerce site or book an appointment to go safely to the pharmacy.

The service is also useful for companies that do not yet have an ecommerce, but who still want to offer their customers an effective service, which can be easily accessed from a smartphone.

The underwear market

The Italian underwear market has a turnover of 4.5 billion euros, over 16 million loyal customers and a growth potential of another 10 million users. It fails to reach them because it discounts models of approach to the market that often do not know about digitization. Of over 8 thousand active sales points in the sector, 90% are not computerized. The analogue management of the references in the warehouse and the sales flows that generate inventories alone account for approximately 1.6 times the gross annual revenues.

Unyli is an innovative platform that accompanies retailers on an om-channel digitalization path. Developed by Retail capital, an innovative startup and European marketplace in the underwear sector, it currently has 15 proximity hubs throughout Italy. Lead the stores in a process based on three key points: digitization of physical stores, conversion of stores into ecommerce and development of delivery.

Through algorithms and machine learning, it offers a tailor-made service. It allows customers to have access to a digital reconversion system of existing stores, to a model for optimizing sales and inventory with the use of new management technologies. And to the online sales channel, through the proprietary marketplace.

Online training lessons

In a few days Netcomm presents "Bring your store online", an initiative to help merchants get closer to digital sales channels and create new business opportunities. This is an initiative born within the "Neighbors and Connected" digital solidarity project of the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digitization, which, among others, Facebook and Google have also joined. The Netcomm consortium will offer free simple training pills and guidelines on how to open and manage an online store to merchants. In an important period for trade such as Christmas, this could be a concrete support for Italian traders and artisans to reach their customers, near and far.

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