Retailers are looking to craft exceptional customer experiences (CX) as the role of the store evolves in line with digital influences, and value-added resellers (VAR) aiming to help them achieve this goal must consider some fundamental points.
In my view, enhanced CX comes from integrated retail management software, and the key components of creating an effective store operation and better experience are clientelling tools, the ability to keep on top of inventory, strategic merchandising, and rewarding loyalty.
RETAIL CX EXPERTS
For VARs looking to aid the retail industry’s CX drive, iVend’s comprehensive retail management suite has the answers
Any VAR or software company targeting the retailing world needs to be working with a retail technology company that has the system to provide this comprehensive suite of services.
Below, I’ve picked out each of the components and explain why they are crucial in today’s retail environment and why they contribute to improvements in the all-important CX:
Whether it’s via mobile point of sale or simply a handset on the hip that allows staff to procure more information about retail stock, this type of flexible interaction is now crucial in modern retail. It can help convert sales that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, or it can simply fill a shopper’s knowledge gap.
As a recent blog by Forrester senior analyst Ananda Chakravarty suggests, customers are calling for flexibility in store – and want to either purchase on their own or with help from associates. “The retailer offering associate assistance or self-service throughout each step of the buying journey holds the cards for a differentiated service,” he says – and I couldn’t agree more.
Control of Inventory Management
Inventory management control has always been crucial in retail, but in today’s world of store, catalogue, online, mobile and social shopping – and sometimes combinations between these channels – integrated systems are required by retailers to make sure they have a real-time view of stock and sales.
Master that, and retailers have a real head start when it comes to delivering high-quality CX. Research from iVend Retail shows that 54% of shoppers around the world check stock online before buying in a store because they want to deliberate over their purchase, while 39% do so to check stock and avoid a wasted trip a shop, highlighting why inventory accuracy is so important.
Stores must look good. How products are displayed is vital to attract today’s shoppers, and being selective about the items that are actually placed on shelves, must also be considered – with so many alternative options for consumers to spend their cash, they won’t stand for underwhelming shops anymore.
Crediting Customer Loyalty
When you get a free coffee after collecting all your stamps, or if a retailer acknowledges you based on previous transactions or conversations, your feel wanted and special, don’t you?
That is one definition of great CX, and retailers need to be doing all they can to reward loyalty at every opportunity, and building out systems that enable them to maintain accurate customer records so that returning shoppers are recognised and rewarded for their attachment to brands.
So, there you have it. The four Cs that, when combined, help retailers deliver the Holy Grail of exceptional CX.
Such end-to-end capability is promised by many technology companies in today’s market, but a high percentage of those making this claim are not retail natives. They may find themselves in the sector as a result of merger or acquisition activity, or they might be chancing it in a vertical they know is going through significant structural change.
My advice to VARs considering which retail management suite to help them build a comprehensive retail presence is to choose an industry expert; one with all the desired capability, but which also knows the retail and hospitality industry inside out.
Retailers are all looking to craft their own unique CX as they know differentiation is crucial to competing and growing their businesses. VARs cannot afford to choose ‘me-too’ partners that won’t help retailers achieve their targets.