Digital technology and mobile devices have become an intrinsic and necessary part of the retail customer experience and in-store operations. However, retail technology solutions cannot define success on their own. Retail brands winning omni-channel are successfully using technology and digital touch points to create customer-centric store environments that provide a unified customer experience – or what we like to call ‘unichannel’ retail.
The challenge many retailers face is actually understanding what their customer’s pain points are, and knowing which solutions can enhance customer experiences, increase sales, and improve operational efficiency.
Here’s a look at 4 of our favourite retail technology solutions and tools:
Geo-fencing and proximity beacons have been a retail tech trend for the last few years, but it’s finally time (really, now is the time) retailers take a serious look at implementing these solutions. Companies like Gimbal connect retailers with customers by pushing real-time, targeted sales offers and notifications to customers’ smartphones in-store. Gimbal’s end-to-end platform combines geo-fences and beacons with the software, hardware and analytics to provide retailers with impactful insights to help them serve their customers better and get more out of their mobile location strategy.
Recently, department and chain store retailers like Macy’s and Target have been experimenting with beacons in stores nationwide. These use cases, and the ones we’ll continue to see, are geared toward driving customer loyalty and sales but the biggest opportunity for retailers lies on the operations side. Retailers can use insights from beacon devices to monitor footfall, customer and employee activity to understand exactly what is going on at all times. These insights can result in more fact-based decision-making that can improve store operations and enhance customer service.
Mobile technology has carved out a new type of retail customer. GDR Creative Intelligence describes them as the ‘Entitled Customer,’ or, someone that wants what they want, when they want it, or else they’re shopping somewhere else. How can retailers compete with that?
Contrary to belief, customers actually prefer shopping in-store – they want to speak with informed sales associates, receive recommendations, and see the products before they purchase. The challenge for retailers is to provide customer service that actually exceeds customers’ expectations and helps close the sale. To do this, retailers are using CRM and assisted selling solutions to give employees access to their entire product inventory as well as a customer’s entire purchase history, which enables them to deliver more personalised service and product suggestions. With all of this information at their fingertips, store associates can finally work with confidence and give customers exactly what they want, when they want.
More than Payments
Cloud-based mobile POS (mPOS) systems are helping retailers improve customer service, increase convenience for customers, streamline checkout and even identify new revenue streams. Payment services like Apple Pay are quickly changing public perception around mobile payments, despite the widespread adoption we’ve expected to see thus far. Part of the problem is that too often retailers are caught up thinking about POS as purely a payment transaction that happens at the checkout counter.
Beyond processing payments, sophisticated POS solutions can execute and help deliver inventory intelligence, marketing and loyalty programs, and real-time data to retailers. Additionally, mPOS solutions can provide seamless transaction points throughout a retail store, which can increase sales regardless of where customers are in-store.
Dynamic Content and Engagement
Whether it’s an approachable, easy-to-use tablet kiosk or larger-than-life display screen, showcasing branded content can be an extremely effective way to engage with your customers. Dynamic content can grab customers’ attention and leave them with a positive and lasting impression of your brand.
Two of the most effective use cases for branded content and digital signage are endless aisle and infotainment stations. With endless aisle, retailers can offer their customers full access to their entire product catalogue in less than one square foot of space. Infotainment stations offer access to interactive games, video and engaging content that can drive footfall and dwell time.