3 Tech Solutions for Retailers Preparing for the Holiday Season

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While the holidays may still seem eons away to most, as a seasoned retailer, you know this isn't the case. The final few months of any year make or break your profits and can even mean the difference between staying in business and closing up shop. Bloomberg estimates that many retail stores make 40 percent of their revenue during the holidays. This means the time to prepare is now. And with a few simple methods, your store can get ahead of the rush and cash in after the leaves start to fall.

Arm Workers With Mobile Payment Processing

You can only hope that your location is packed from November through the end of the year. If this is the case for your business, it's a holiday blessing; however, it also can create congestion, especially in a big store. The tried and true solution is staffing more cashiers, but even this has its limits, and long lines turn off customers.

Instead of hoping for the best with more cashiers, equip your sales staff on the floor with devices that accept mobile payments. That way, as soon as a customer is done shopping, they can check out right where they stand. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is one powerful option that can facilitate mobile payments, help monitor inventory and perform other tasks in real time.

Not only does this solution smooth out transactions for individual customers, but it helps you stand out from the pack. Shoppers still aren't accustomed to such convenience, so you can bet that a busy soccer mom will rave to her friends about the seamless experience she had at your store.

Use Analytics to Project Returns

No time of year sees as many returns as the holidays. Whether it is people bringing back the ugly sweater their aunt bought or unloading duplicate kitchen tools they already have, returns can triple compared to the rest of the year.

Improper sizing is one culprit of returns.

Simply stocking the wrong ratio of smalls, mediums and larges greatly impacts profits. According to Bloomberg, smaller sizes may be popular at retail stores along the Mexican border while its customers in the Midwest may prefer bigger sizes. So, if you're in Indiana and stocking too many smalls, you're losing sales.

The retailer Stage Stores invested seven figures to track this and other trends dealing with returns. Although such an exhaustive investigation may not be feasible for your company, you should still use software to analyze your prior-year returns and tweak your inventory based on that data. Even if you only lower returns by 1 percent, the difference can be substantial.

Have In-Store, Interactive Technology

With online shopping reaching new heights, your store has to combat the question: Why waste time driving to a brick-and-mortar location for the same stuff you can buy with a few clicks of the mouse at home in your pajamas?

Many retailers are trying to enhance their in-store customer experience by providing something different. Especially when it comes to clothing, Bloomingdale's has found it can boost satisfaction with smart dressing rooms that tell customers if what they are trying on is available in other sizes and colors.

Whole Foods offers a smart and interactive touchscreen that helps customers pair the right wine with the salmon they just bought. Sephora offers a virtual mirror that lets people see what cosmetics will look like on them without actually decorating their face.

Some of these offerings may be too high-tech for your company, but you should add tablets, second screens and other interactive ways for shoppers to feel like coming to the store was worth their time.