There was a time when the only thing a retailer needed – beyond customers – was available inventory and a traditional fixed point-of-sale (POS) system. Well, those days are long gone.
Today, retail is more about the customer experience, and less about the transaction. The POS has much more functionality and purpose than simple payment processing – it has become the focal point for customer engagement. Shoppers today have access to so much information that most of the purchasing process has been completed before he visits the store, be it physically or virtually.
To get inside the hearts, minds and wallets of their customers, today’s successful retailers look to retail system resellers for an omnichannel solution to help them give customers a more personalized experience – one they hope will become a repeat event.
A question many of our resellers ask us is, “What can I do to take advantage of these shifting retail dynamics and win more business?”
As we advise both our channel partners and retailers, the answer is simple: think like the shopper. Today’s shopper doesn’t think in terms of channels – they expect there will be no hurdles starting a transaction in one location and completing it in another.
Resellers can capitalize on this opportunity by helping their retail clients design an experience that goes beyond POS to meet shoppers’ demands for speed and consistency.
At iVend Retail, we’ve learned that the following are key components of a strong omnichannel strategy:
- Mobilizing POS: New payment technologies are constantly entering the picture. Consumers are embracing mobile wallets and contactless payments that used radio frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NRF). Mobile POS allows customers to complete the checkout process on the sales floor, rather than at the register. Resellers can help retailers by designing a mobile POS solution that will maximize their in-store space and eliminates long checkout lines.
- Empowering store associates: The worst thing that can happen when a customer visits a store is that they learn the product they want is out of stock, or is priced less elsewhere. Retailers must equip store associates with more intelligence about each customer to make product recommendations on the spot. “Clienteling”, for example, uses data about customer preferences and purchase history to allow associates to give each customer more personalized service, and increase sales and transaction values. Resellers can add more value to their retailer client relationships by customizing clienteling solutions around that retailer’s specific needs.
- Providing a single stock pool view: A single stock pool allocates stock based on central demand – ensuring that inventory is always directed towards the channel in which it is selling best. Resellers should consider how they can deliver a comprehensive approach that truly improves the customer experience. It includes enhanced merchandise planning, warehouse management, imports management, distributed order management, returns management and many other areas of the business.
- Tailoring loyalty programs to customers: Two-dimensional loyalty programs won’t cut it anymore. Customized loyalty programs can play a key role in helping retailers make their customers feel truly valued. Retailers need to tailor promotions based on data driven insights, such as how often customers shop or what they shop for. Resellers can meet these needs by offering flexible programs that understand shoppers’ individual buying patterns and allow them to use rewards and benefits in the manner that has the most value to them.
Just like shoppers, retail system resellers that cater to retailers need omnichannel solutions that are customized to their size, industry, customer demographics and other factors. Resellers who design solutions with today’s shopper expectations in mind will be best positioned to win at omnichannel.