Retailers have got a bit of a problem: customers are disappearing as soon as they enter the store.

By this, I don’t mean physically – in many markets, bricks-and-mortar footfall levels are at their strongest level in years. I’m talking about the ability to ‘see’ the customer; what they’re looking for, their previous purchase history, how often they buy and their preferential method.

Online shopping makes gathering this data easy. Every time a customer visits a website, they leave behind a digital
footprint of their activity, which retailers can monitor and analyse to build up a detailed picture of that particular shopper. In fact, they can even use this information to tailor that customer’s experiences, making the ecommerce journey more pleasurable, and usually more profitable.

Trouble is, the customer becomes used to a personalised service, and expects that same level of treatment when they enter the store, but retailers can’t always transfer online experiences into the bricks-and-mortar realm.

Worse still, the majority of consumers are anonymous when they walk through the store entrance. This means the retailer has no way to distinguish between an occasional visitor and a high value customer, each of whom have different needs and expectations.

Being able to foster long-term relationships entails retail organisations knowing the value of their customers in all channels, including the store – particularly as cross-channel fulfilment methods such as click-and-collect drive greater numbers of loyal online shoppers towards bricks-and-mortar.

Achieving this relies on bringing digital technology to the aisles, to blend online and offline experiences. Mobile point of sale solutions connect store associates to critical operational data throughout the business – such as purchasing history.

By accessing this information, customer service personnel can immediately see the true value of a shopper through their ecommerce profile, and interact with them based on these details. For example, a frequent shopper could be offered a flash promotion as a thanks for their ongoing custom, or given the option to pay using loyalty points accrued online.

Equally, mobile POS integrated with both payments technology and a CRM or digital loyalty module, provides retailers with the opportunity to log all store activity on a central system. This attributes offline sales information to shopper profiles, creating a 360 degree view of their interactions.

While there are many further features within mobile technology, this ability to combine customer information in all channels to enhance experiences at every touch point is perhaps the most important.

In the end, consumers don’t distinguish between the channels they use to shop – they see retailers in their entirety, and expect to be viewed the same way in return.

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