Builders’ merchants: how technology is transforming the sector

Technology has transformed the way we buy and sell. Just a few years ago online shopping barely existed as a concept...

15th May 2015

Today, ecommerce accounts for 15.2% of all retail transactions. If ecommerce is a rapidly growing sector (and it is), then mobile sales are set to boom even more spectacularly. During 2015, European retail transactions made via smartphones are projected to account for around £37.91 billion. Within living memory, all retail transactions were processed through mechanical tills, if the retailers were lucky ­– now, it’s rare to see retail staff using any mental arithmetic at all. The retail sector has been transformed by technology, but how is technology affecting builders’ merchants and other construction industry retailers? Let’s take a look…

Online retail

As we mentioned earlier, online retail and ecommerce has totally transformed the retail landscape. While ecommerce is not as big a market for builders’ merchants and construction industry retailers as it is for others in the retail sector, it’s still an important consideration. Your business now has the option to explore ecommerce should you see fit – perhaps initiating an ‘order and collect’ service where customers can order their products in advance before picking them up at your premises, saving time in store. Even if you don’t feel the need to explore ecommerce options it’s important to bear in mind that your competitors might – how will you compete with them?

Evolving product technologies

One of the more prominent ways in which technology affects builders’ merchants is through evolving product technologies. It’s important to keep your stock updated as technological progress and demand dictates. New breakthroughs in renewable energy have meant that ground source heat pumps, solar technologies and biomass boilers are now comparatively affordable, and in demand from homeowners. Effective stock management will ensure that you have all of the latest, most popular products when your customers require them.

Point-of-sale hardware

It really isn’t so long ago that mechanical tills were the norm for Britain’s retailers. We then upgraded to electronic tills that could be pre-programmed with product details and calculate change on our behalf, but now these systems are also passé. Today, you’re far more likely to find a computerised piece of point-of-sale hardware, and these systems are far more versatile than anything that’s preceded them. Intelligent point-of-sale hardware can be programmed with software systems designed exclusively for your industry, and it’s here where the greatest advances have been made.

Point-of-sale software

Point-of-sale software is one of the most significant technological advances to have been made in the retail sector in recent years. Software designed specifically with builders’ merchants in mind can help you to take better control of your stock, helping to improve customer service and avoid accumulating costly ‘dead stock’. It can provide employees with detailed product and customer information at the till, making the transaction process more expedient and improving the customer’s experience. It can even help you to apply offers and discounts automatically, protecting your profit margins and prompting customers to return time and again. Point-of-sale software is truly a game-changer for the retail sector.

New retail technologies emerge all the time, and you need to embrace them if your business is to remain competitive. Our builders’ merchant software is designed specifically with your industry in mind, allowing you to prepare for the future and thrive in the present. To find out more about what our point-of-sale software could do for you, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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