What does your journey into the future look like? Likely is doesn’t include cables, wires or clunky devices. An omnichannel retail strategy that leverages mobility can help prepare you for what lies ahead, as well as enable you to serve, surprise, and delight your customers — now and in the future.
Here are four goals that can help you position you for success in tomorrow’s retail reality:
- Embrace the Mobile Revolution: Make smartphones, tablets, and other appropriate handheld devices a central part of your omnichannel retail strategy. By extending your POS and other critical retail systems onto portable devices, you enable your frontline staff to better serve customers with on-the-spot checkout, rich product information at their fingertips, speedy inventory lookup, and endless aisle capabilities.
However, be sure also to leverage the customer’s own device as part of your omnichannel approach. Create a user-friendly website that caters to small screen sizes and makes it easy for customers to find essential information on the fly, such as your store location, phone number, and hours of operation. Also consider designing an app, as retail app users tend to be a merchant’s most loyal and high-value customers.
- Gain A Single View of your Customer: Your clients want you to acknowledge who they are and what they’re doing across each and every channel in which they choose to shop. In the mind of the consumer, this seems like a simple concept, but as a retailer you know far too well the complexity that comes with enabling a single view of the customer.
Still, being able to track your shoppers from online, to mobile, to stores is perhaps the bedrock principle of omnichannel retail and allows you to tightly focus your marketing approach based on insights into customer purchase histories, preferences, demographics, and more.
- 24/7 Inventory Insight. Moreover, with the proper inventory management solution, you can understand your inventory position on a granular, near-real-time level. This enables you to advance your omnichannel retail strategy by offering convenient ordering and fulfillment solutions for customers, such as buy online, pickup in store; ship from store; and reserve in store. For customers, there’s nothing more frustrating than being told that a desired product is in stock in a local store only to show up and discover that it’s nowhere to be found. Avoid disappointing your shoppers by investing in technology that provides transparency into your inventory holdings.
Thanks to advancements in RFID technology, retailers can track each and every tagged product down to the item level, if so desired. Instead of doing manual, time-intensive, and inaccurate cycle counts, retailers deploying RFID can save money in addition to labor hours, by reducing investments in “buffer inventory” intended to protect against stockouts.
- New Ways to Pay. We’re hurtling toward a future in which payments include touchless, seamless processes. Allow customers to pay with the method of their choice, whether that’s the more traditional cash, check, or credit card, or emerging options such as near field communication (NFC)-enabled payments including Android Pay and Apple Pay. Those two platforms combined are now accepted at roughly 3 million locations throughout the United States. Customers clearly have embraced the convenience of using their smartphones to tap and pay at upgraded POS terminals.
As the millennial generation continues to grow in spending power and influence, NFC and other popular digital payments will also rise in popularity so be sure to get ahead of this phenomenon sooner rather than later.
Developing an omnichannel retail strategy doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By identifying four manageable and customer-centric goals, you can be sure that the investments in your strategy will prepare you for retail’s future — as well as benefit you today.