The Rise of Tech in Liquor Stores
Oct 15, 2018
4 MINUTE READ
Oct 15, 2018
4 MINUTE READ
With increased technology in the alcohol industry comes a new library of tools to help retailers expand their reach and attract new customers.
Beer, wine and liquor sellers have happily stalled for years behind music and book retailers in adopting to a purely digital sales model. Barnes and Noble has been replaced by Amazon. The last blockbuster video store has recently closed, asserting Netflix’s dominance in movie rentals. Fewer people hail cabs with the rise of ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft. E-commerce’s rising in all retail sectors is inevitable. However, the intimacy of personalized assistance from a knowledgeable floor salesperson will always appeal to many shoppers. The most successful beverage retailers will be those who learn to expand the reach of their personal touch using new technology. Understanding the tools available can make your job easier, more organized, and help increase sales.
The most important developments in retail technology have been those that simplify delivery. Delivery through e-commerce widens your market, reduces your labor costs and guarantees order minimums for each transaction. Delivery no longer needs to involve the cumbersome process of phone ordering, fraught with long waits and customer confusion. With e-commerce partners like Drizly, orders arrive in a steady stream right as customers get thirsty. Adopting to this digital technology doesn’t take expert tech-savvy, but it allows your business to reap the benefits of digital connectivity. An organized delivery system is an urgent change to adopt in your store. Customers in more markets are instinctually going online for their beverage needs. It could be you that they order from.
While delivery increases your flow of business, nothing can slow it down like POS problems. Even a skilled cashier can be stalled by system glitches, or simply rush hour lines. Having several registers open is a good solution, but it’s not always possible for small retailers. A novel tech-based solution is to have a tablet based register on standby. By having a tablet (or two) on deck, you can add replacement or additional registers spontaneously. Cloud based POS solutions like Square, Shopkeep are designed to work seamlessly between iPads and larger registers. Clover is great alternative for Android users. Since tablets are hand held, you can ring people up while they stand in line, or even curbside!
Maintaining an accurate inventory is a constant battle for retailers. Digital inventory systems are nothing new, but they’ve evolved to become much more sophisticated. Now these systems allow retailers to merge inventory management seamlessly with ordering and sales systems. These can even be programmed to remind buyers when it’s time to re-order.
Maintaining an accurate inventory count is important, but what’s more important is understanding your inventory. New technologies are being developed to help with this too. High-tech point of sales systems, like Lightspeed, can be integrated with vendor management programs like SevenFifty to help you keep track of product categories and the vendors that you work with. Having a database of your products also makes it much easier for your staff to stay aware of new products and pass this knowledge along to customers.
New product descriptions can be input as new SKUs arrive, keeping staff in the know. With an e-commerce partner like Drizly, product descriptions are always available to digital delivery consumers. They have a window into your inventory and can see which of their favorite products are available in real time. Better yet, they are able to discover new favorite bottles at your store using a search algorithm. Best of all, e-commerce helps connect trusted brands to your store. E-commerce allows for the usual bottle of Johnny Walker to introduce customers to your shop.
Perhaps the most crucial technology of all is the adoption of some social media use in your business practice. It can be as simple as paying attention to the criticisms of customers via platforms like Yelp. A negative review may be difficult or discouraging to read, but they are valuable insights into how customers feel about the way you operate. Make sure to engage with your customers and respond to feedback professionally and courteously. E-commerce platforms like Drizly offer more consistent and valuable feedback with customers than third party rating services like Yelp. Customers are more likely to post constructive criticism of a platform that they purchase from than one that requires separate engagement. Best of all, e-commerce platforms offer order data along with a forum for customer feedback.
Also remember to take a few minutes each day to post to platforms like Instagram and Twitter and promote new products, sales, and events. The moments spent online to promote your business are a small cost for the effective advertising that you’re doing. Keeping your store exciting gives customers that excuse they may be looking for to stop in and see what’s new.
The Bottom Line:
You don’t have to be a techie to embrace technology, and you don’t have to be a social media superstar to benefit from its networks. Ultimately, these are all simple tools that help make our operations go smoothly, and can increase profits. We’re lucky to live in a time when such powerful tools are cheap, readily available and so very easy to use. Take advantage of this!