Are you a retail services provider struggling to attract and retain business in a market landscape seemingly dominated by e-commerce? What if I tell you that by refocusing your retail strategy around how people utilize mobile devices, you could tilt the odds in your favor?
A report released in 2014 by Intelligence, Business Insider’s research and information service, shows a large gap between “showroom shoppers” and “reverse showroom shoppers.” While 46% of consumers use brick-and-mortar space to “showroom” shop i.e. researching products in-store and then searching online for cheaper prices, 69% of shoppers prefer to research products online and then head to their nearest retail location to make a purchase.
That’s 69% of consumers who are already willing to leave their house and enter your place of business to make a purchase.
In order to build a loyal customer base out of these 69%, let’s focus on how retailers worldwide are leveraging mobile technologies to retain customers once they walk through their doors.
What you have and where it’s at
With 69% of shoppers “reverse showroom” shopping, there’s a good chance many of the customers walking into your establishment already have a good idea what they want to buy. Retailers can capitalize on this in several ways:-
For in-store customers, some companies such as Tesco and M&S have installed kiosks tied to the store inventory to speed up both the customer experience and the sales associates’ ability to help customers find products or determine item availability.
At New Balance, employees and customers can use an app that helps determine item availability and let users browse the product catalog, as highlighted in the video below.
Wal-Mart similarly has launched an app that allows shoppers who cannot find a product in one Wal-Mart to check the inventory and availability of items in other stores, merging the online and offline shopping experience for its customers.
Beacons are another method of engaging customers and educating them about your products and informing them of current sales and discount opportunities as they shop. Beacons are hardware devices designed to communicate with mobile devices via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to push relevant messages to consumers, based on their preferences in your company’s related mobile application. Nieman Foods Inc. recently rolled the technology out to all 45 of its stores based on a year’s worth of successful testing at 8 of its locations.
Let me do it myself
Not every customer that walks through your doors needs the full customer service experience. Some are looking for a speedy and convenient shopping experience.
Tesco has implemented the ability in some of its larger stores to scan items onto their handsets as they shop. Once you’ve finished shopping, the handset can be used in the checkout process to save you time in line. Similarly, Casino grocery stores in France have implemented Near Field Communications (NFC) technology that allows shoppers to do the same thing but with their mobile device. Even payments are handled through the mobile device at the checkout lane, making shopping experience seamless, uncomplicated effortless. (refer the video below to understand how the solution works)
Come out from behind the counter
As a retailer, you should consider utilizing smartphones and tablet hardware to accept payment throughout your establishment and not just at designated register areas. This will allow your customers to interact directly with your sales staff and free your employees to demonstrate your product or address concerns in a hands-on manner. While this has been a staple in retail stores for companies like Apple, others have begun to embrace the use of mobile devices for POS purposes. Nordstrom deploys employees onto the sales floor with mobile devices that allow them to check out customers at any point.
The mobile POS interface model allows your employees to gather information about your customers. This information can in turn provide the groundwork for compiling targeted marketing information about your customer demographics, shopping habits, and other useful information vital to developing an effective marketing strategy.
Technology geared towards improving the retail shopping experience is advancing rapidly. Augmented reality applications are being geared towards improving the shopping experience with mid- to high-end retailers like Topshop and American Apparel implementing virtual reality and augmented reality kiosks to interact with products and view catalog offerings.
What Kays Harbor Technologies can do for you
Is your company ready to embrace the mobile-centric future of retail? If so, Kays Harbor can help you take your business to the next level. We specialize in translating your custom business needs into right technology solutions to satisfy your current and future business requirements.