Today more than ever before, the customer is king. In the retail sector, e-commerce has risen to the challenge, leveraging mobile technology to offer speed, agility, and convenience. But the in-store experience is also evolving, as bricks and mortar retailers recognise the many opportunities this same technology affords both their staff and customers.
Choosing the right systems and devices for your store begins with understanding your customer and their growing preference for omnichannel shopping. For many, the buying journey has already begun before they visit your store, and the majority will enter the store with a smartphone in hand.
What they experience from this point forward is critical to your sales success.
Customers expect a digitally sophisticated experience. Research shows bricks and mortar stores that deliver a seamless online-offline experience enjoy a distinct advantage which directly benefits their bottom line: customers feel more engaged, making them willing to travel further to your store, pay higher prices and buy greater quantities.
It might be tempting at this point to focus on technology as the key to profitability. But what distinguishes you from e-commerce competitors, and can ultimately be used to your advantage is your ability to deliver this experience with the right balance of people and technology.
The solution? Mobile device integration.
Here are some areas of technology where integration can help you streamline your systems and devices to save time and money, and deliver a better customer experience:
Rather than having a swathe of clever devices that perform individual tasks such as stocktake, markdowns, and compliance, choose multipurpose devices that perform several functions. A great example is 1D/2D scanners, which are capable of scanning two types of barcodes – so you can use just one scanner for multiple tasks including POS, loyalty cards, redemptions and marketing.
These scanners can be installed at the checkout and on phones and tablets used by floor staff, giving customers the convenience of making a purchase or obtaining product or promotion information directly on the shop floor, rather than waiting in line.
There is also a range of handheld devices available in a ‘rugged’ or hardwearing format, which can be useful if your store environment is particularly demanding or requires staff to carry the device for long periods.
Implementing a widely used operating system such as Android, which has a range of applications and plugins readily available through the Google Play store, gives you the flexibility to grow and adapt to your business needs and customer demand.
Android is compatible with Windows-based systems, so it can be used on a large range of devices. It’s open source, making it fast and economical for you to tailor the system to your unique needs. And its compatible with popular e-commerce sites such as Myfoodlink, helping you to streamline tasks like picking and stock control.
Wi-Fi is an integral part of the retail environment – not just as a convenience for customers doing in-store price comparison or product research, but to enable data sharing and syncing between live systems, access to remote support and to help staff provide responsive customer service face to face and via social media.
Today’s consumers have an abundance of information and resources at their fingertips. Digitally savvy and time poor, they have high expectations of retailers. But retailers can meet this challenge head on and leverage it to achieve better customer service and more sales by taking an integrated approach to in-store technology. With a combination of the right devices and tools, and a willingness to empowering staff to deliver on the spot solutions, retailers can satisfy their customers’ thirst for congruency and in return, enjoy long term growth, customer loyalty and success.
If change and meeting your customers’ needs is a constant, doing nothing isn’t an option. Be sure you are partnering with a company with the depth and breadth of expertise you require. Particularly one who can help you navigate end-to-end managed services, cloud, mobile and paperless retail technology. GPK Retail consultant, Cordell Quaine, is available for a no obligation discussion on how GPK can help you reduce operational costs, manage your IT footprint more effectively and create an exceptional experience for your customers. Contact: Phone 1300 000 475 or email email@example.com for more information.