Can Retailers Really Deliver an In-store Seamless Experience?
It may seem like a pipe dream at times, but what retailers really want to deliver is a completely seamless customer experience. And that goes for all types of retailers, from grocers and specialty boutiques to large department stores.
Looking at the problem strategically, it all revolves around communication. When associates can’t easily talk to each other from anywhere in the store and customers have to search around for help with items, nothing runs smoothly.
Let’s look at how the right technology, combined with a few smart procedures, can finally allow retailers to provide customers with a truly seamless experience.
Finding items, finding help
No matter how big or small your store is, customers should not have to waste time searching for the items they want to buy, and they certainly should not have to walk around looking for someone to help them with questions or purchases. In-aisle sensors solve this problem, allowing store associates to know where customers are that may need help.
Specialized communication devices (radios and phones) allow the associate who arrives for assistance to quickly get answers to customer questions. No more let-me-go-check-in-the-back nonsense. Most importantly, new technology lets associates direct questions to the right individual, rather than broadcasting to the entire team each time.
Of course, customers should also be able to summon assistance if they find themselves in an understaffed department, in a dressing room needing a different size, or in an outside pickup area. Call buttons can easily be placed in these areas to improve the customer experience.
We’ve all heard the phrase “a well-oiled machine,” and retailers who want to delight customers need just that. Sensors that alert team members to equipment issues or a customer in an understaffed area, radios that allow staffers to be sent to a pickup area with merchandise for customers, and dual-mode phones that let managers easily reach any associate in the store create that sense of smooth efficiency. Retailers can take this idea one step further with systems that report activities for later analysis, helping managers resolve issues before they occur based on past experience.
Checking out fast
Chefs talk about the importance of dessert, saying that no matter how great a meal is, what the diner remembers most is the sweet course. A similar phenomenon occurs in retail—a customer might have had a terrific (dare we say seamless?) shopping experience that’s negated out by a long checkout line or frustration while trying to pay. Retailers can ensure customers leave with a good feeling by using a queue management system to regulate line length, which automatically requests an additional cashier if the line is too long.
A highly efficient shopping experience is something we all deserve, as well as something all retailers strive to provide. It can’t be done overnight, but it’s nice to know it’s within reach.