It’s well documented that shoppers still prefer to shop the traditional way – in a brick-and-mortar store, but today’s buying journey features multiple stops along the way to the final sale. And customers will certainly notice any pricing discrepancies between the physical store and the online or mobile site. Retailers that do not maintain consistency across all channels are not meeting the demands of today’s shoppers.
Organizations that are unable to access a complete view of their business and its customers face increased difficulties in attempts to improve the shopper experience. Without the visibility to effectively identify pain points, retailers constantly struggle to identify where to focus marketing and merchandising efforts.
Many retailers have been focused on obtaining one-off, best-in-class solutions that address different business needs. This approach results in a complex environment comprised of solutions from a variety of vendors. Integration and upgrade challenges often prevent these organizations from moving forward with new strategies. On the contrary, a single, integrated system allows retailers to focus efforts on innovative strategies, because they are spending less time trying to ensure multiple systems are working together cohesively. It also provides an opportunity for more seamless upgrades as new business needs arise.
The cloud provides easier access to actionable intelligence and reduces the number of incremental investments that often are necessary to support infrastructure — both in-store and at HQ.
Dashboards designed specifically for retail can provide users with information that goes far beyond traditional metrics, such as contribution analysis. For example, a dashboard could deliver metrics that identify which products are selling more than others, profitability by store, or loss prevention statistics — all through a single point of access.
Nothing damages the customer experience quite like the inability to provide the right products at the right time, delivered via the shopper’s channel of choice. Increased visibility into inventory will save the sale — even if the store is out-of-stock. To avoid inventory mishaps, retailers must integrate all inventory processes, from the warehouse through checkout. A number of enabling technologies can make this process easier — from handheld tracking devices in the warehouse to integrated POS solutions that provide a single view of stock.
An effective replenishment solution provides retailers with a view of existing stock within stores and distribution centers. Rather than purchasing additional inventory to restock stores, this type of solution allows users to reallocate stock as necessary. For example, if one store isn’t moving red dresses, while another can’t keep them in stock, the system can identify and resolve this issue in real-time.
Smart retailers want systems that include integrated customer and loyalty management. The right loyalty program rewards existing customers and entices them to make repeat purchases. With this information in hand, sales associates can provide the personalized experiences that create a more memorable and satisfying customer experience, and ultimately lead to more sales.
Digital passbooks, or mobile wallets, allow retailers to distribute loyalty points or gift cards to customers. Many also offer the ability to complete payments from anywhere in the store. Mobile solutions enhance the customer experience by decreasing checkout times, with mobile POS, or providing relevant customer information to associates as they interact with shoppers.
Location-based technologies offer a number of opportunities for retailers to enhance the customer experience. Geo-location solutions alert store staff that a high-value customer is nearby or in the store. Beacon technology can deliver targeted promotions or offers to shoppers at shelf-edge.