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Are You Risking Compliance Issues In Your Retail Ticketing?

Compliance has always been at the forefront of retailer's concerns and nothing in modern retailing is alleviating this. The advent of omni-channel retailing is making compliance a more complicated issue than ever. Because ticketing is now a highly scrutinised retail process, retailers are under pressure to assure their tickets and store promotions are not misleading. Despite best intentions, it's not as easy as you might think.

Consumer protection laws

It's important to remember consumer law considers retail ticketing just another form of advertising. This mandates tickets and promotions are not misleading in any way. Additionally, all tickets and promotions must be accurate and fair. Severe financial penalties exist when breaches are reported or identified. In Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) openly warns retailers about their intentions to actively protect consumers from false advertising. Retailers are getting fined for non-compliance even when they though they were operating within the rules.

Brand damage

Compliance also applies to a retailer's brand. The potential brand damage associated with ticketing and store promotions could easily outweigh any penalty imposed by consumer protection agencies. Consumers regularly complain about brands on social networking sites when they feel they've been treated unfairly. This intensifies the risk regardless of whether you have a social media presence or not. (See our post on things retailers should know about social media for more insight into how to reduce your social networking risk.)

Consumer behaviour changing

To complicate things even further, shopping habits are changing and there's nothing retailers can do about it. Consumers are using mobile technologies  as part of their normal shopping activity. Retail apps have grown exponentially and usage has exceeded growth of other apps. Even the dependable Tweens have changed their shopping behaviour.  Across the board, shoppers are demonstrating behaviour that shows retailers they need to maintain consistency across channels or risk confusing their customers.

Store systems contain inconsistent data

Ensuring ticketing is accurate and represents your brand across the enterprise is not simple. Product and promotional information needs to be consistent across many retail touch-points including printed catalogues, press advertising, ecommerce sites, loyalty programs, finance providers, social networking, television, radio and, obviously, in the store.

Retailers cater to many different stakeholders

All this creates a headache for the marketing department who are trying to plan effective and profitable promotions. Not only do promotions have to be coordinated throughout the store systems, several different stakeholders share an interest in how promotions are being executed. Suppliers, buyers, merchandisers, legal departments, store-operations and IT all expect to be involved to some degree which only adds to the increasing complexity of launching a single store promotion. The opportunity for risk is increasing rapidly.

Staying competitive

So how do retailers manage their risk and still stay competitive? An enterprise-wide ticketing system ensures all store systems and stakeholders requirements are addressed, integrated and executed as a single process. When a single approach is adopted, the marketing department is in the best position to manage promotions for maximum profit. Importantly, they can also reduce their risk of non-compliance with consumer protection laws. Every store in your network - whether it's 2 or 2,000 locations - will display the same information in the same way. Even ad hoc ticketing can be successfully managed to ensure compliance.

What this means for retailers

The complexities and challenges of modern retailing also provide exciting opportunities for retailers. Those who are able to embrace change and take an enterprise view of their ticketing and promotions will find they have a better relationship with their consumers and their internal stakeholders. By ensuring compliance across brand and pricing, retailers doing more than protecting their margins, they're very likely improving them.
 
If you have questions about implementing an enterprise-wide ticketing system, contact us. We're happy to discuss how you can reduce your compliance risk regardless of the size of your retail network.
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