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Biggest Myths About Retail Solutions
DotActiv TeamJan 24, 2018 10:17:17 AM5 min read

3 Biggest Myths About Retail Solutions

Without proper education around the various retail solutions out there, any negative information can quickly develop into unhelpful myths. That can, in turn, lead to misconceptions, which can hold your business back from tapping into the benefits of well-suited retail solutions.

Before we continue, it’s worth noting that by retail solutions, we’re referring to a mix of services, software, hardware, and/or products that a third party provides to a retailer or supplier. If you’re looking for more information, you can read this article about the benefits of such solutions.

That said, here are some of the most common myths about retail solutions that we’ve come across.

Myth: Retail solutions providers are expensive

When it comes to talking about purchasing solutions or services for your business, the conversation always leads to payment. One of the very first questions is around the price - How much does it cost?

As a retail business that is looking for the best solution, you have every right to ask it. Unfortunately, along with that question is the inherent belief that solution providers can be expensive or overpriced. That is, of course, not true.

Here are the real facts: retail solutions providers are specialists in their field. They focus on one or two core business functions. And because they are specialists, they spend a large amount of their time and resources (both money and manpower) in developing processes, documentation, and policies around best practices. As they spend more time doing this, they also become efficient at what they do.

A direct result of this efficiency is that the function they specialize in can be completed at a quicker rate, which, in turn, makes it more cost-effective when compared to doing it in-house. That’s especially true when your company doesn’t specialize in the service that the provider offers, and so you won’t have the necessary processes in place to deliver.

Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t take a particular function in-house. Many businesses have done exactly that and continue to do so. But, there is every possibility that if it’s not part of your core business, you won’t be able to place as much focus on it as a specialist would, and it can end up costing you more.

Also, consider that a retail solution provider is continuously looking for ways to improve their business processes to become more efficient so they can be more cost-effective and affordable.

Myth: By keeping things in-house you can control the outcome

As much as you might not want to believe it, it’s a myth to think that keeping things in-house will allow you to have better control over the outcome. That is especially true if you’re talking about a solution or service outside of your core business. You simply can’t guarantee success.

Let’s take merchandising services as an example here.

By keeping this function in-house when it’s not part of your core business, you’ll spend a lot of your time, money, and even manpower on getting it right. As we mentioned in another piece, merchandising requires many hands and long working hours. A proper merchandising function also requires specialized technology to ensure quality. Can you afford to set all of that up from scratch? Also, who is to say that what you’ll eventually end up with will be at the same level as the work down by a specialist?

It goes back to our point about documentation and best practices. Your chosen retail solutions provider will have developed best practices around the software or service they offer. Because they’ve implemented the same function for many other businesses like yours, following their processes means they are also far more likely to see success sooner and more efficiently.

That in itself should also assuage any fears you may have.

That said, it’s perfectly okay to be afraid of not being able to control the outcome. But consider this: no retail solutions provider is going to do anything to jeopardize their relationship with you. At least not purposefully so. After all, why would they do that when it will threaten their own business and reputation?

It also needs to be pointed out that just because you’ve outsourced a function that isn’t core to your business, that doesn’t you can’t have a say. As a retail business, you should always hold your provider accountable for the result and probe their process to ensure it’s both robust and truly is “best practice”.

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Myth: It’s risky to not have the skills in-house

When running a business, it’s tempting to want to have control over every part of your business. We get that. The reality, however, is that you can’t do it all. You can’t be everything to everyone.

You should take comfort in that.

Also, that truth should go a long way to persuading you against the idea that it’s risky to not have all the necessary skills in-house. Especially if the skills aren’t core to your business.

Let’s take an example that is not specific to the retail industry, such as payroll services to illustrate our point.

While payroll as a function is critical to every business and serves a definite purpose, if it’s not core to what you do, you could outsource it. Yes, you could see that as a risk to take. What happens if the payroll company disappears? You won’t be able to pay your staff and that’s a huge problem.

That said, what happens if the person you’ve employed internally to handle your payroll resigns? Isn’t that just as risky? Will you be able to train their replacement to the same level as their predecessor without the robust processes that a specialist has in place? The short answer is you don’t know.

That makes for an uncertain and unsettling position for you. Also, of the two above scenarios, you’re far more likely to have an internal staff member resigning than a provider dropping you suddenly. And even if they did then other providers out there would gladly do business with you.

The fact that a specialist will be able to on-board a new employee much quicker than you because of their tried and tested processes in place, also speaks to the fact that it can be far less riskier to outsource.

More than that, it’s also less risky because the retail market is so developed. There are many well matured retail solutions providers out there who can provide for your needs. Simply put, that means you’re not held to ransom by your providers.


DotActiv Team

The DotActiv team comprises category management experts lending their retail experience and knowledge to create well-researched and in-depth articles.