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Starting your own business is one of the hardest things that most people will ever do in your lives, so if you’ve managed to take your business idea all the way to the grand opening, then you’ve already accomplished a great deal. Of course, opening your business is just the first step on a long road toward long-term success. You now have to worry about maintaining, and even growing, your business. You’ll need all the advantages you can get, considering that about 50% of businesses fail within five years.

These aren’t meant to be words of discouragement. Rather, it’s meant to help you look for what you’ll need to succeed in the retail industry. Retail isn’t easy, and in a world of big data analytics and digital transformations, you’ll need to rely on the best technology to give you the highest odds of success. Here are just three of the top business solutions you should be investing in.

1. Retail Analytics Software

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Retail analytics is meant to collect, integrate, and interpret data collected from your retail point of sale (POS) system and inventory data to provide you with insights on how to make better business decisions. You should already be relying on a POS system that includes a customer-facing display, inventory management tools, a debit card and credit card reader, a receipt printer, as well as support for mobile payment options like Google Pay and Apple Pay. The best retail analytics software can use data from all of that to help you plan inventory better, accurately forecast demand, and much more.

The value for demand forecasting skyrocketed during COVID-19, due to rapidly changing customer behavior. These days, advancements in machine learning allow for more accurate forecasting than ever. You can analyze more data in real-time to ensure that your information is always up-to-date, and automated inventory management can adjust accordingly.

That’s not all retail analytics helps with, however. It also helps you collect and analyze customer data, which can give actionable insights into how to provide a better customer experience. You can use this information to determine who your best customers are, for example, and offer them discounts or other benefits. You can also create a customer loyalty program to show that you appreciate your customers. Providing better service than your competitors is one of the best ways to stand out.

2. Threat Intelligence

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When you’re running a retail store, you need to do everything you can to maintain physical security. This includes installing security cameras to deter theft and other crimes, but what if there was a way that you could learn about physical attacks to your business before they happen? That ability is exactly what LifeRaft offers.

With their security intelligence platform, you’ll be able to monitor forum posts, discussions on social media, blogs, and other online content for threatening statements about your business and react accordingly. You’ll even be able to comb the deep and dark web, so no threat can hide. This also frees up employees for other tasks, since you won’t need to perform online security checks manually.

3. Search Engine Optimization

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This is more of a practice than a single solution to invest in, but it’s an extremely important one. It’s an especially good idea for a retail store to focus on local SEO since this can easily drive foot traffic if you’re ranking in searches on mobile devices. When customers search for places to shop on smartphones and other mobile devices, they’re generally shown a list of results in the local area.

To boost your online presence, you’ll need to create business accounts for services like Google My Business and be sure to fill your profile out with all the relevant information. It’s also a good idea to include industry keywords in your web pages and content, so potential customers are more likely to be driven to your store.