Leveraging Tech to Help Small Independents Bounce Back

18 August 2020

By Steve HANRAHAN Business Development Manager – AURES UK

It is hard to think of a time when independent retailers have had it so tough. COVID-19 has triggered a once-in-a-lifetime emergency that has put SME store operators on a financial knife edge.

Sectors like the fashion industry, for example, face a double-edged challenge. The closure of all stores selling non-essential items has denied many businesses months of revenue. But now their doors are open again, not only are they faced with a mountain to climb in recouping those losses, most retailers are also seeing lower footfall than usual – the result of shoppers continuing to stay away because of the virus and the need to maintain social distancing protocols by limiting the number of people in store at any one time.

Put simply, small independents need help in getting customers back through their doors again and maximising each and every sales opportunity. There are no easy solutions to what are very difficult circumstances, but one thing retailers have to do is rethink the kind of experiences that are offered to customers, and the operational infrastructure required to provide them. Technology has a key role to play in both.

A helping hand

But according to Greg Gregoriou, MD of AURES resale partner Esperus, uptake of available technology remains patchy amongst smaller local retailers, which means many businesses risk falling further behind larger competitors who are increasing the pace of digitisation in the wake of COVID.

Esperus specialises in multi-channel business IT solutions for the fashion, footwear, sportswear and outerwear sectors. The company’s flagship software product, Genesis, is primarily a stock control system designed to automate management of the large number of SKUs apparel retailers have to deal with efficiently. But as a modular solution, it offers a broad range of additional functions, including EPoS, eCommerce, replenishment, merchandising and more.

Greg explained how end-to-end solutions such as this could be leveraged by independent fashion retailers to help up-sell, boost loyalty and increase incidents of repeat buying. “If you have a system like Genesis that has a colour/size matrix core then you can see exactly what you are selling by specific colour and size,” he said.

“By connecting EPoS with stock management, you can access the intelligence to optimise your stock holding and also generate very targeted marketing campaigns. By connecting that to your CRM, customers can receive emails not only on products linked to their buying history, but even in colours and sizes specific to their tastes and body shape. That helps to create the kind of caring, personalised service that will keep customers coming back. And this kind of technology doesn’t have to break the bank. ”

Esperus, which exclusively supplies AURES point of sale hardware with its Genesis platform, has put together a competitive starter pack exclusively for small fashion retailers looking to take the first steps towards digitising their operations. It includes a YUNO terminal configured with fashion ePoS software, colour/size sales analysis, CRM for customer data capture and a loyalty programme feature. There is also the option to link a Shopify eCommerce website into the same system.

Greg added: “We also offer a free service to fashion retailers/wholesalers where we discuss their business processes and advise them on tech solutions that would benefit them. With a combined experience of over 100 years, we consider ourselves specialists in IT solutions for the fashion industry. We are more than happy to share this knowledge to help smaller fashion retailers gain any advantage they can in these trying times.”

To find out more about Esperus’s solutions or to speak directly to one of their team, click here.