It’s official, physical stores are here to stay! 2018 statistics confirm that 72% of consumers say that even though they browse online they prefer to make their purchase in physical stores (0). In an omni-channel age there are ways to ensure retailers can provide a pleasant retail experience as consumers look to glide efficiently from the online to offline retail world. While it might seem like a tall order for retailers to meet the expectations of the retail-educated and multiple-technology-using millennial demographic, cloud-technology can enable retailers to employ connected commerce infrastructure and satisfy their customers. Consider the following 5 tips for increasing store efficiency and keeping customers happy.
Revolutionize Payment Processes
The sight of a long queue before payment is literally causing consumers to drop their purchases items and leave the store. Slow payment journeys cost retailers £3.400.000.000 in the UK alone (1) and many more millions globally. Described as “critical” by Deloitte (2), customer care that includes a point of sale that comes to the customer is the easiest way to speed up the transaction process and meet customer expectations. For maximum efficiency, give consumers the opportunity to perform the purchase transaction independently.
Cloud technology removes boundaries between the consumer and the purchase item. Digital cataloging means that consumers are no longer limited by the limited physical size of the store since they have unlimited access to the entire inventory via in-store screens. Thanks to the connecting aspect of the retail cloud, digital catalogs can display the entire stock (store, e-commerce, warehouse) and consumers can purchase items from any stock location available.
Enhance Sales Support
Educated and armed with in-store retail technologies, sales assistants are key to an efficient purchase. The equipped assistant of today provides both the human element expected by the consumer but also can have instant access to the entire inventory, product reviews and up and cross-sales suggestions via a handheld device. With the help of a connecting cloud, the sales assistant can access the customers purchase history and provide a more personalized set of recommendations. Equipping the sales staff with assisted sales technologies makes the shopping experience a more personal and certainly more efficient one.
Make Customer Relationship Management Stand Out
What could be more efficient than a store that already knows the shopping history and personal preferences when the customer enters the store. Building a relationship creates efficiency for both the retailer and the consumer. Relationships pay off as loyal customers are statistically worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase (5). Every time that a customer registers on a website, browses the retailer’s site, makes a purchase or interacts with touchpoints in-store they are contributing valuable information to that relationship. Rather than allowing this information to remain in separate information silos that provide limited use, a connected Customer Relationship Management system with appropriate clienteling tools that can receive, process, unify and instantly employ this information from all channels is a prime factor in building a retailer-customer relationship and an efficient shopping experience.
64% of people think that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of a brand (4). This places the responsibility on the retailer to provide an organized front in both their on and offline store. Cataloging that reflects accurate stock levels and location, fulfillment of orders according to customer expectation and purchase methods that work primarily in the interests of the customer require communication in both the shop floor and back-room, but are ultimately the key ingredients of an efficient customer experience. This of course is required to take place frictionlessly in both the on and offline world. Efficient stores utilize a cloud-based data management system that can provide smooth communications and an environment that meets consumer expectation on a consistent basis.
With the technologies available to meet the evolving expectations of consumers available, why should retailers miss out?