Retail & Distribution
25 October 2018
The benchmark for the retail in-store experience keeps getting higher and higher. Today, there must be an emotional connection with the brand, a “wow” factor to draw consumers into the store and the availability of great omnichannel customer services. Anything less, and you could lose a sale, or worse, weaken customer loyalty.
“The physical shopping space will become a medium to distribute the most powerful, joyful and emotionally galvanizing experiences possible,” according to retail futurist Doug Stephens. So what is technology’s role in all of this? It should make it easier for store associates to deliver a great experience in-store. To do so, retail technology must be humming along reliably behind the scenes while amazing experiences take center stage on the store floor. Here are three important in-store capabilities enabled by technology retail solutions.
Powerful in-store experiences can run the gamut. Rebecca Minkoff’s NYC flagship store has “magic mirrors” in dressing rooms that allow shoppers to adjust their own mood lighting and visualize garments in different colors and sizes. Giant Foods recently announced a new small-format grocery store concept in which chefs will prepare fresh veggies and fruit on demand, RetailWire reported.
Regardless of what unique experiences are deployed to engage customers, store associates should be free to assist customers — and complete sales transactions — anywhere within the store. With POS and clienteling solutions accessible on mobile devices, sales associates can deliver personalized service to individual shoppers and help customers avoid checkout lines. Stores can leverage this mobility to quickly launch pop-up shops in hot shopping locations for holidays or special events.
Using mobile retail solutions also ensures associates can communicate with shoppers using the same platform. For example, if a customer walks into the store and shows an associate something on the store’s website on her mobile phone, the sales associate can use his mobile device to locate that exact item, see its inventory status and suggest complementary products.
Retail CIOs realize a frictionless experience is all these things and more, and that they must lead the way when it comes to the digital transformation of their organization. To delight shoppers across channels and never miss a sale, they need to leverage the capabilities of a POS solution that is fit for the demands of unified commerce.
Whether the customer is interacting with your brand in-store or online, he should always feel connected, recognized and valued. Perhaps it’s a live chat between a store associate and an online shopper, which leads to an in-store appointment? Or user generated content shared among the brand’s social media community, bridging physical-digital dimensions of product, individuality, style and brand?
Behind the scenes, retail technology supports connected stores, associates and consumers by enabling seamless execution of both traditional and omnichannel services. For example, a modern POS solution should allow store associates to perform traditional functions such as accepting cash and credit cards for purchases, processing loyalty points and applying coupons.
It should also support newer wireless pay methods and the full gamut of omnichannel services, including:
- Click-and-collect (order online, collect in store)
- Order online, ship from store (store to home)
- E-reservation of products (for in-store viewing and try-on)
- Order online from in-store
- Transfer store to store
Finally, retail technology is helping stores re-invent the shopping experience by giving both associates and consumers unprecedented visibility into product and personalized shopping possibilities. With real-time inventory data residing on a centralized retail solution, store associates and shoppers have access to an endless aisle of the brand’s merchandise.
At the same time, associates can see an up-to-the-minute, 360-degree view of an individual customer’s personal preferences, recent purchases (online and offline) and social media engagement with the brand. The best systems ensure all data is managed in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation and local privacy requirements. Access to detailed customer and product insights empowers associates to confidently serve as true brand ambassadors for the brand and gives consumers the benefit of a coherent, compelling cross-channel experience.
Are you ready to reinvent your in-store experience? Download our new guide for retail Operations Managers to learn how you can help your organization succeed with unified commerce.