Accessibility is an important feature to have in any business. Around 15% of people around the world live with a disability of some sort. In the US alone, this statistic is 26% of the population – about 61 million adults with a disability. Given the numbers involved, it’s important for retailers to consider whether their operations and products appeal to disabled people’s needs.
Besides automatic doors and wheelchair ramps, there is still a lot that retailers can do when it comes to accommodating disabled people.
Why is accessibility important
As we’ve mentioned, a good portion of the world lives with some form of disability. And as a retailer you want to make it as easy as possible for all potential customers to shop with you. A survey conducted in the UK reported that 78% of disabled people found it difficult or impossible to access most shops and malls. Making stores more accessible to 78% of disabled people is an easy way to increase your customer base and improve sales.
Access for people with disabilities improves access for everyone.
At its core, accessibility in retail is ensuring as many people as possible can easily shop with you. When most people think of making a store more accessible, they often think about making it easier for people who use wheelchairs or canes to access the store. But accessibility can include more than that. It is also about making sure anyone can read the signs in your store, or that anyone can feel comfortable in your store.
The types of accessibility issues
There are a few types of potential accessibility issues your shoppers could have. The common barriers to accessibility are:
Visual: This is for people who have a hard time seeing things, or even those who cannot see at all.
Mobility: This is for people who have difficulty moving around, such as people in wheelchairs or people with crutches.
Auditory: This is for people who have a hard time hearing or cannot hear at all.
Learning and/or cognitive: This is for people who may have learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
It is important to consider whether your store is inaccessible to people who fall under one or more of these categories. Are you doing enough to provide a satisfying shopping experience to these people?
The issues that arise from inaccessible retail
Besides just the financial losses a store can get from inaccessibility there is more to consider. At the end of the day, people with disabilities are still people. We must be empathetic to their concerns and needs.
When stores are inaccessible, people with disabilities are further made to feel like they are not a valued member of society. Just imagine if every time you had to go shopping you had to deal with an obstacle course at the same time. It would make you think that the business does not want you there or is making it as hard as possible for you to be there. Unfortunately, this is the reality many disabled people have to live with.
Some other consequences that can arise from your store being inaccessible are:
Stress & anxiety
Problems getting to certain products or services
This surely makes you ask, how can I make my business more accessible?
How can you make your business accessible
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what accessibility is. Now we can move on to the most important part – how to actually make your business accessible to more people!
Evaluate your store
The first step is to take some time to assess your store. Are there places where people may have trouble with accessibility? Perhaps a certain aisle is too tight for people to move through easily if they are using a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair. Or maybe some of your signs are hard to read due to small lettering. Even things such as lighting can affect accessibility. Make a list of all of the potential issues within your store so you have an action plan to start.
Understand your region’s accessibility regulations
Each country, state or province has its own rules and regulations when it comes to accessibility. Make sure you do some research into what your region specifies. This will also help you prioritize tasks within your action plan.
Examples of accessibility features
Here are some common solutions to accessibility issues. Keep in mind, these are just a few examples.
Ramps and automatic doors
Large lettering on signage (72pt font is a standard size for more accessible readability)
Wide doors to allow people in wheelchairs or walkers to pass through
Braille on some signs
Comfortable lighting (not too bright but not too dark either)
Using patterns instead of only colors for differentiation for those with poor color vision
Flexibility at the point-of-sale (portable card processing machines or with long cables, ample room at self-checkout stations, etc.)
If you have TVs or screens, make sure closed-captioning is turned on
Include people with disabilities in your marketing
Be open to suggestions from people with disabilities
Now that you know your region’s regulations, and you know what in your store needs work, you can begin taking action.
Once you have core accessibility issues resolved, you can take extra steps to make your customers with accessibility feel more included. Examples of this include:
Offering products which will appeal to people with various physical needs
Quiet spaces to give consumers a break from all of the hustle and bustle in your store. This is very effective for customers who experience sensory overload.
Have magnifying glasses that allow visually impaired people to read smaller texts and labels
Review websites and online stores for sufficient meta information for user navigation (versus just product information) as those who are visually impaired often use audio tools to read aloud online content
QR codes on product labels which will allow customers to inspect product information from their smartphones which have built-in accessibility modes
Hiring employees who know sign language
These extra steps will really help customers with disabilities feel included and accommodated.
Train your staff
While having accessibility features is a great thing, it is important that your staff, the people who represent your business, are also trained to serve customers with disabilities. Making sure that all of your staff are trained in the basics of accessibility etiquette will result in every customer getting the best customer service. You can find some services and products that help with disability awareness/etiquette training here.
Online accessibility matters too
As mentioned above, accessibility doesn’t just stop at your physical store, but extends to your online sales channels as well. A survey in the UK showed that businesses lose a combined £17 billion due to a lack of online accessibility. This highlights the economic importance of making your digital sales channels accessible, beyond it being the right thing to do.
Make sure it is easy to navigate your website and that you include alt-texts on all images and navigation functions (e.g. buttons). Since people with visual impairments use applications to read aloud website content, alt-texts on images help describe and differentiate them to users.
Ensure readability on your website. Use legible fonts, clear color contrast and appropriate font sizes. This extends to captions on any video that may be on your website. Also make sure that you are using headings to organize text content on your site. Having a structure to your text content allows it to be more understandable to users with cognitive disabilities. For more info on web accessibility check out this Hubspot article.
Accessible businesses thrive
The best type of businesses are able to serve as many customers as possible. And offering access to those with disabilities, improves access for everyone. This makes your business more successful and a stronger member of your community. Please take some time as soon as you can to evaluate where you can improve accessibility in your business.
To stay up-to-date on all things retail, including our Recession Proofing Your Business series, make sure you subscribe to our blog. Click or tap on the banner below to subscribe today!
Invented in 1994, the QR code was originally made so that Toyota could track car parts in their manufacturing process. 28 years later, QR codes have become so much more. In particular, the COVID pandemic helped popularize the use of QR codes in businesses everywhere. Whether you’ve seen it being used by shoppers adding social media accounts or to view a digital menu, it’s an increasingly common tool that retailers can use to speed up service and improve customer experience. Here are 4 different ways QR codes can help retailers.
1. Attract more shoppers to your website
QR codes can look like a complicated barcode but they are actually an image of information. For example, you can store everything from phone numbers and documents to website addresses. But sharing websites and social media accounts is definitely the most common use for QR codes. By adding a QR code to any marketing materials or signage, you are giving shoppers the fastest way for them to access your website or social media accounts. Instead of typing addresses or searching for accounts, shoppers can simply scan the QR code with the camera on their phones and access your information in 1-click.
By making it easier for shoppers to get access to your online storefront and social feeds, you will attract more shoppers to your business. After all, being found online or having an online storefront will not only increase your online sales, it helps drive foot traffic back to your physical store as shoppers have an easy way to stay up-to-date on new product launches, special offers, etc.
2. Sell from your shopfront window
Another way QR codes help retailers sell is to make it easier for stores to sell things from their physical shopfront window. For example, adding QR codes next to products that are displayed in your shopfront window that link to each specific product in your online catalog. This gives shoppers an easy way to scan a product to find out more or even buy online, even when your store is closed. Doing this makes your storefront window more engaging and informative – both of which are important for good customer experience.
3. Get more social media followers
Many retailers today use QR codes to make it easier for shoppers to follow their social media accounts. Since QR codes are scanned as website links, shoppers can easily open your social media accounts with 1 click. Making it easier for people to find your accounts will increase the likelihood that they will follow you. Place these QR codes anywhere customers and business partners can see them (email signatures, profile pictures, in-store signs, counter stickers, etc.).
4. Give fast access to free WiFi
One of the best uses of QR codes is to give shoppers 1-click access to guest WiFi in the store. You can create a QR code that store visitors can scan to be automatically connected to your guest WiFi. This is a special type of QR code that automatically enters the network name and password into an iPhone or Android mobile phone. Shoppers love it as it means no more entering network names or long passwords. It is also better for your network security as you don’t need to disclosing the actual password.
If you want to encourage shoppers to browse, offering free guest WiFi is a great way to get shoppers to stay for a longer time in your store. It doesn’t cost you anything and it’s been shown that shoppers that stay longer in a store buy more things and spend more money.
Scroll down to learn how to create your own WiFi QR code.
How to create QR codes
QR codes are very simple to create. All you need is online QR code generator to make them. When using these platforms, creating your QR code is as simple as pasting the website address you would like customers to open. Then press the generate button, and congratulations you will have just made your first QR code!
A. Standard QR codes
For standard QR codes, we have two recommendations: QR Code Monkey and QR Code Generator. QR Code Monkey is a great free option. QR Code Generator offers a few more features and even has a premium membership. Both of these tools let you add colors and even a logo to your QR code.
B. WiFi QR codes
The main difference when creating QR codes for WiFi sharing is that the code generator needs to support WiFi information. A good tool for this is QiFi.org which was built specifically for this.
All you need to do is enter the SSID (network name) and password for your guest WiFi network. You may also need to enter the Encryption type, so check your Wi-Fi settings if you don’t already know this. Once all of the information is entered, click Generate to produce the code.
Now you know some ways QR codes can help retailers. Time to start implementing this popular technology to your business. You can follow one of the tactics we mentioned, or get creative and try your own tactic. If you end up coming up with your own QR tactic, please feel free to share it below in the comments!
Are you wondering what “BOPIS” or “clicks to bricks” mean? Are you looking for a reliable list of the top 100 retail terms?🤔
Success in retail today involves an increasing number of technologies and concepts. But who has the time to keep up with new terms when you’re busy running retail stores?
Don’t worry, TAKU Retail has got you covered. Whether you’re a long-time retailer or a new merchant, we’re here to make things easier for you. Don’t waste time looking at questionable resources online.
As former retailers themselves, our founders have prepared a list of the most used retail terms in a searchable, sortable retail glossary. Click below for the only retail dictionary you’ll ever need.
TAKU Retail continues to be the best go-to tool for your retail needs. Besides our retail glossary, check out our free blog resources to find other ways to improve your business. All of our blog posts are written for retail owners.
After several years of restrictions, shoppers are increasingly looking for opportunities to celebrate their lives. While many retailers make a significant portion of their sales at the end of the year, there are a lot of other seasonal holidays that can help to spread out sales throughout the year.
If you’re looking for merchandising ideas and sales opportunities, consider adding some of the following celebrations this year to your retail holiday marketing calendar.
Black History Month (February)
Lunar / Chinese New Year, Asia
Note that this holiday follows a lunisolar calendar. Therefore the timing of the holiday changes every year and can start any time from the end of January to mid-February. It is usually a 3 week festive period with the first day being celebrated as the New Year day. For the New Year day in the Gregorian calendar until 2031, you can refer to this website.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 13)
Valentine’s Day (February 14)
President’s Day (February 21)
Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday (March 1)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
International Women’s Day (March 8)
Daylight Savings Time begins (March 13)
Spring Break/March Break (March 14 – 18)
White Day, Asia (March 14)
Holi Festival (March 18)
First Day of Spring (March 20)
April Fool’s Day (April 1)
Ramadan begins (April 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
National Pet Day (April 11)
Tax Season (April 15)
Good Friday (April 15)
Easter (April 17)
Passover (April 15 – 23)
Earth Day (April 22)
Wedding Season (May)
Graduation Day (May)
Ramadan ends (May 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Eid al-Fitr (May 3)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Victoria Day, Canada (May 23)
Mother’s Day (May 8)
Memorial Day, US (May 30)
Pride Month (June 1- 30)
World Environment Day (June 5)
Father’s Day (June 19)
Juneteenth, US (June 19)
Summer Solstice (June 21)
Canada Day (July 1)
US Independence Day (July 4)
Islamic New Year (July 29 – 30)
Back to School season begins
Back to School season ends
Labor Day (September 5)
Grandparents’ Day (September 11)
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
Although the word omnichannel is often used in retail, it is a term that is often misunderstood. Here is an explanation of what omnichannel means, how it works, and how it can help you increase your profits.
1. What is a retail sales channel?
Sales channels refer to every different method used by retailers to sell their products to customers. Sales channels go beyond brick & mortar stores. Other sales channels could be events, trade shows, resellers, dealers, curbside pickup, and on-the-go pickup. Additionally, sales channels can also include social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), SMS, instant messaging, and even Google Ads.
Most retailers start off selling on a single channel. This can be a physical brick and mortar store or an online only webstore. Prior to the pandemic, an increasing number of retailers have started to add new sales channels to their businesses as shoppers now expect to be able to shop and pre-shop in more than one place.
2. What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a fully-integrated retail experience for shoppers. So when omnichannel works, it means customers will have the same experience no matter which sales channel they use. A customer who buys products from a brick & mortar store should have the same experience as one who uses social media channels to buy products. This is the ideal outcome for a successful omnichannel retail business.
What many retailers aren’t as familiar with, is that retailers must use a system that can share sales, inventory, and customer information (data) across all sales channels to be able to offer omnichannel retail. This means handling all store sales and fulfillment of online orders under a single login. In particular, omnichannel systems make store-managed e-commerce such as “buy online pickup in-store” a lot more efficient.
A successful system handles data for sales, inventory and customer information across all brick & mortar stores, online storefronts, ecommerce marketplaces, mobile channels/apps (WhatsApp), and social media commerce (Facebook or Instagram Shop). You should be able to sell to your customers no matter where they shop. In the past, omnichannel systems were expensive and only available to very large retailers. However, today’s modern cloud systems have made it possible for small-to-mid-sized retailers to take advantage of the cost-savings and sales boosting benefits of omnichannel retail.
3. What is the difference between multichannel & omnichannel?
It’s important not to confuse omnichannel with multichannel, despite their similarities. Like omnichannel, multichannel refers to retailers selling to customers through different sales channels. Yet, in a multichannel setup, these channels are not integrated.
Unlike omnichannel, multichannel does not unify the customer experience. And more importantly, multichannel retail costs merchants a lot more money because they need to log into separate tools or channels to manage inventory separately, or see sales and customer history. This is a time-consuming process that can lead to lost sales and errors. It also increases the complexity of your sales and tax management. Additionally, multichannel increases the cost of managing inventory if sales are being fulfilled from the store or the same place.
4. Why is omnichannel retail important?
Omnichannel selling offers a data-driven approach to retail. As stock levels change, you will want to know the product levels in every channel. A good omnichannel system will do this automatically. This means you will never have to manually manage stockouts. A good omnichannel system will also increase sales by highlighting your best customers across all sales channels. It will focus on faster fulfill of every sale, no matter where the sale originates.
Omnichannel systems are increasingly effective at attracting people to brick & mortar locations. They do this by linking to Google to drive foot traffic to stores based on how close nearby shoppers are to available stock. This increases overall profits by increasing in-store and sales conversion rates.
The goal is a memorable and positive experience for your customers. Omnichannel can make this happen.
TAKU Retail can provide you with a comprehensive and integrated omnichannel strategy that will remove friction between channels. Because TAKU is cloud-based, it can function on any device since it’s not tied to any specific type of hardware. This enables you to use any existing web-enabled devices from desktop computers or tablets to smartphones.
TAKU can not only help you increase sales and reduce operational costs, but it can also help you get in front of shoppers before they even leave their homes. Click below to find out about other ways TAKU Retail can help you achieve a successful omnichannel system for your business.
For retailers, inventory planning matters. Inventory is your largest asset and has the greatest impact on your business cash flow. If you plan your inventory well, you can reduce your overhead costs and increase cashflow. This article will help you understand the essentials to inventory management for retailers.
Cashflow sitting in old or out-of-season inventory is money that could be better used elsewhere. Many successful retailers don’t carry a lot of excess stock to have the flexibility to introduce new products more quickly. This is particularly true in industries such as grocery where products can easily expire or fashion where products can be trendy. All products are worth less over time as they get “stale.” But in fast-moving sectors, products have shorter life cycles, meaning they lose their value faster. As such, carrying too much stock means an increased chance of getting stuck with products that require deep discounting to free up your cashflow. Consider this the next time your suppliers offer you better prices to buy a larger volume of product.
Remember though, keeping your inventory “lean” doesn’t only mean keeping stock levels low. If stock levels don’t match your sales demand and are kept too low, you will constantly have out-of-stock products. You want to avoid stock-outs as they are costly to retailers. They lead to lost sales, wasted marketing efforts, and unhappier customers.
There are many different inventory management methods but ultimately, it comes down to one thing, “do you have stock when you need to sell it“.
In the end, selling at any price is not the objective. To be profitable, retailers need loyal, repeat customers that don’t require expensive marketing campaigns to get them to buy. When you think of it this way, inventory is an important part of your overall customer service. Customer service is the new marketing as every touch point impacts how your customers view your business. Less stock-outs means higher sales in-store and faster fulfillment for online orders, all of which means better customer satisfaction.
What Can I Do As A Retailer To Better Manage My Inventory?
If you’re a small-to-midsize retailer and all of this sounds scary, don’t worry. Not all retailers have the resources of the big brands, and regardless of your size, there are things you can do to better plan your inventory.
1) Make Sure You Always Have Access To Real-Time Stock Levels
You can’t manage what you don’t know. With an increasing number of sales channels (e.g. e-commerce, pop-ups, etc.), a retail POS that can handle “unified commerce” with real-time stock levels is essential to inventory management in today’s market. Unified commerce is just another way of saying a total retail management platform that you can log into from anywhere that offers a single view of inventory, sales, and customer data across an entire business in real time. As expected, the need for real-time inventory data grows as the business and transaction complexity increases.
2) Use Minimum Stock Levels
Use minimum stock levels, also known as safety stock levels. In many retail point-of-sale systems, you can assign a minimum stock level to every product in your store which you can easily track in comparison to your actual stock level. You should also be able to easily make mass updates in your POS when you review your minimum stock levels every 3-6 months.
3) Track Inventory Stock Levels By Supplier
Track inventory stock levels by supplier so that you can consolidate purchases to minimize stock-outs, lead time, and shipping costs. This will also allow you to more easily meet supplier minimum order amounts.
4) Track Inventory Turnover
This is essential to inventory management in retail. Basically this refers to how many times a product is sold and replaced over a certain period of time. This can be tracked at a very high level (e.g. including the entire store inventory) or at the product / category level. There are different ways to calculate turnover but whatever approach you use, consider using Cost of Goods Sold instead of Sales as you will get a more accurate measure as your result will not include markup. For example:
From Jan-Mar, this company had inventory turnover of 13.33. This is calculated by taking the Sales$ for this period and dividing it by Average Stock Value$. Now you can convert this to “inventory days” by taking 365 / 13.33. So from Jan-Mar, inventory turns 13.33 times a year and is on hand for approximately 27.38 days. If you run the same calculations for Apr-Jun, inventory turns 18.33 times a year and is on hand for approximately 19.91 days.
From these two examples, the higher your turnover rate, the more efficient you are, since it means that your inventory is being sold faster and you have more cash flow in your business. A lot of people forget that the cost of inventory is not just the original purchase cost of an item. It includes the ongoing cost TO SELL that inventory. The longer it takes to sell something, the greater your real inventory cost as your money is sitting in that dead stock instead of products that are in high demand.
5) Determine Your Ideal Reorder Days
It is always a good idea to estimate the lead time required to reorder products in time for suppliers to produce OR deliver them before you are out-of-stock. For example, if you know it takes two weeks to receive orders from a particular vendor, make sure to factor that lead time into your reorder timing. In the beginning, you don’t want to cut it too close as unexpected delays can happen (e.g. snowstorms in the winter). This is especially true if you are ordering for a busy time of year such as Christmas. For some retailers, losing a week during the holidays might mean the difference between Christmas and Boxing Day pricing.
Inventory Management – Essential For All
A lot of independent retailers or businesses often think that they are not large enough to use inventory management tools and try to use spreadsheets to keep track of their goods. While this can work in the beginning, as your inventory items grow in both size and attributes, you will either overstock (to prevent stock-outs) or have constant back orders. You will also lose out on freight savings and volume discounts you might have received if you had consolidated your vendor orders more efficiently.
Start improving your operations by following the key essentials to inventory management we’ve listed above. Then when you’re ready, start to slowly automate these functions one-by-one. With the proper point-of-sale system, you will be able to spend less time managing your inventory and more time selling it.
We hope you found this article helpful! Subscribe to our blog for more helpful retail tips and strategies!