Transform the customer experience with open platform retail management
It is an exciting time of exploration and innovation for today’s retailers, with so many new technologies at their disposal to help improve the customer experience (CX).
The new tech available ranges from customer-facing innovation such as virtual reality and interactive changing rooms, to crucial back-end platforms and operational systems like retail point of sale (POS) and open platform retail management systems.
For many retailers, it remains to be seen which of the new equipment will become mainstays in-store and be embraced by customers. But what is certain is that omnichannel leaders understand the importance of implementing sophisticated systems behind the scenes to provide a platform for supporting a suitable CX.
Working From Back to Front
Whether it’s customers using their mobile devices to scan and pay for items at the retail POS, or headsets that provide a more interactive experience with the products on display, it is the front-end technology that tends to grab all the headlines.
Robots meeting and greeting customers or electronic shelf labels that change price throughout the day have also been in the spotlight, but for all of this to work efficiently retailers need to have paid attention to the back end.
Those considerations might range from open platform retail management systems that can support innovative technology, to the reporting and analytics software that will enable organisations to measure the success of their tech-led retail strategies.
For every piece of customer-facing, CX-influencing equipment retailers consider deploying on the shop floor, there needs to have been some thought given to how it fits in with the overall business strategy and wider retail systems.
Otherwise, it’s likely to just be a marketing gimmick for a period that creates some buzz but doesn’t become essential to a retailer’s CX improvements.
How a consumer wants to shop with a retailer has changed considerably over the last decade. At the turn of the millennium, for example, who could have imagined that smartphones would play such a prominent role in the retail ecosystem?
That is just one example of how the in-store experience has changed so rapidly. It underlines the importance of investing in agile tech such as open platform retail management systems, so that when consumer behaviour changes again – as it inevitably will – the required new technologies can be implemented seamlessly and quickly.
Retailers have a growing need for ‘connecting technology’ that can link legacy core systems to new software without hassle and fuss – and that is because they don’t want to let their customers down due to technical incapability.
Once that issue has been resolved, the final retail technology investment advice retailers need to remember is that not all CX-improving equipment will be fit for their audience. If they have sophisticated retail management systems in place they should know their customers well enough to be able to select the most suitable in-store and omnichannel technology tailored to them – they certainly don’t need to try it all.
The latest retail POS technology, and flexible retail management systems with straightforward integration capability, should be the first items on a retailer’s shopping list before they turn to the customer-facing innovation. That way, retailers can ensure their shoppers don’t feel the need to take their own lists to a rival store.