Retail analysts are buzzing about the importance of delivering a consistent customer experience across all channels. To a retailer just embarking on an omnichannel strategy, however, consistency may seem like an ideal that you can never achieve. After all, isn’t the customer experience going to be different ordering online from home dressed in pajamas compared to shopping at a mall with a group of friends? There are elements of the customer experience that can be consistent though, and they’re the things, according to our Great Omnichannel Expectations report, that matter most to your customers. You can deliver customer experience in-store that’s consistent with what consumers like about shopping online with mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology. Here are three key principles of exceptional customer experience and how mobile technologies can help you deliver them:
- Recognize Me
Customers want to be recognized. Online, they are greeted by name, with personalized offers targeted to their preferences and purchase history. The webpage they open may even feature suggested items the retailer’s data analytics have determined they will be interested in. Providing this same experience in-store would be difficult without mPOS. Using tablets, sales associates can access information about customers from your point of sale system from anywhere in the store. Sales associates can use this information to engage with shoppers, as well as to suggest items they may be interested in, check on the status of orders the customer has placed, or make sure they know about sales or promotions tailored for them.
As shared in an interview at the National Retail Federation Big Show, the data used to enhance the customer experience doesn’t just have to come from their online purchase and browsing history. Retailers need to track in-store behaviors as well. mPOS can help accomplish this. In addition to purchase transaction data and order history, sales associates can scan items the customer inquired about to build that customer’s profile or to use in future engagements.
The data you collect can help target promotions to your customers. Instead of paper coupons, send digital passes to your customers’ smartphones with personalized, relevant offers that will entice them to come back to the store.
- Tell Me What I Want to Know
In recent years, North American shoppers’ habits have changed. For them, a part of shopping is now doing research. In our research we found 49% of American and Canadian consumers have researched a product online once before they visited the store to buy, and 44% have researched products multiple times online. They use the Internet to learn about products, compare features of different brand name products, and, definitely, compare prices. This information is easily accessible from their smartphones — whether they are at home or standing in your store.
With information at their fingertips, it’s important that your sales associates have the same information at their fingertips, too. mPOS provides your sales associates with the tools to look up information without having to leave the customer’s side. Sales associates can answer questions about inventory, comparable products, sales or promotions, product specs — anything you can provide access to on the tablets they use.
Tablets can also be configured as “endless aisle” solutions, which enable customers to browse your inventory from a single screen.
- Make It Easy for Me
iVend Retail’s research also showed consumers want a shopping experience characterized by convenience and ease of use. For example, there aren’t any checkout lines when consumers shop at home. Do we still need them in the store? With mPOS, a sales associate has the ability to complete the sale on a tablet, without directing the customer to get in the queue at a fixed point of sale terminal. Receipts can be printed on mobile printers, or, if the customer prefers, emailed.
When it’s necessary for the customer to order an item, mPOS can enable the sales associate to confirm availability and arrange for shipping to the store or delivery to the customer’s home, whichever is more convenient for the customer — just like the options they have when they are shopping online.
The experience of shopping on different channels will always vary to some degree, but the commitment you make to providing the same level of personalized, efficient, convenient service — regardless of channel — can be the same. mPOS can be a tremendous asset to help you deliver “online” customer experience at your brick-and-mortar locations.