Retailers have been working overtime in recent years to establish online presences, refine their email marketing programs and forge success in the online space. That’s an important journey — but now it’s time for physical retail stores to catch up and create some magic of their own.
Customers love the speed and convenience of online shopping, but that doesn’t stop them from visiting physical stores as well. The challenge for store owners is to make those visits satisfying for the customers who are taking the time to come in.
To capitalize on the value of a physical presence, stores need to take advantage of the powerful combination of mobile devices and data to make POS portable, personalize interactions and automate inventory chores, so associates can spend less time manning registers and fetching inventory and more time engaging with customers and making their visits successful.
The data-driven customer experience doesn’t have to be confined to your website or app. Here are just a few ways you can use mobility and retail data to create a magical customer experience in your stores.
Websites do a great job of tracking user engagement and then recommending additional products the shopper might be interested in. You can bring the power of the cross-sell into your store using self-service touchscreen kiosks. Customers can use these devices equipped with smart analytics to discover personalized recommendations that fit their lifestyle and needs based on their previous purchases and media decisions.
Much like the “endless aisle” web experience retailers try to offer, your in-store display should not only show the items available in store, but those that can be ordered. Give customers the ability to place their order from the kiosk, and turn what could have been a walk-out into a sale while also gathering valuable data about the customer’s browsing style and interests.
Of course, one of the benefits of visiting a store is that sometimes you want to be helped by a real person. Equipping store associates with assistive selling tablets will enable them to serve customers in a personalized and well-informed way, even if it’s their first day on the job.
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Mobile-equipped store associates can make recommendations based on customer profiles and find in-store inventory quickly to ensure they never miss a sale. They can also take payments, saving customers the hassle of waiting in line at a cash register and reducing the daunting register queues that discourage customers from entering or remaining in the store.
Imagine if, instead of issuing customer assistance alerts over the loudspeaker or telephone, management could push the alert out to all relevant employees on their smartwatches. This would allow workers to discreetly acknowledge the alert even if they’re currently working with another customer. Just knowing they’ve been heard and someone is coming to help them is valuable to customers when they’re waiting for service.
Using barcode and purchase data, retail employees can also get ongoing alerts on stock levels so they can keep shelves full without the need for manual inventory counts throughout the day.
For customers, the upshot is less time wandering around looking for assistance and a better chance the item they need will be on the shelf.
Leveraging Retail Data to Continually Improve Customer Experience
The best part of mobilizing retail is gaining a richer look into customer behavior and how the retailer’s in-store efforts are performing. In the same way you can run analytics to constantly improve your email campaigns, IoT sensors and smart devices enable retailers to A/B test the performance of merchandising displays, discover traffic patterns, identify sales stoppers, gauge customer sentiment and so much more, all in real time.
Never before has retail had the opportunity to achieve such clear insights into what makes or breaks a sale on a customer-by-customer basis. And it all starts with a commitment to mobility as a way of delivering more magical customer experiences in store.
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