The recent boom in smartphone and tablet usage has greatly increased the demand for a digitalized shopping environment, gifted to the consumer by the retailer. Various technologies, from in-store apps to mobile payment options, have ignited consumer interest in more automated and personalized shopping experiences. When a customer walks into a store, the chance that they will use a smartphone to assist in their shopping endeavors is increasingly high. Small businesses can greatly benefit from tailoring their location, price, and product information in order to provide potential customers with an effective means of acquiring necessary (and of course, novelty) goods across a wide spectrum.
Here are the top self-help technologies that shoppers are using in-store, with retailers offering these tools in hopes of gaining a wider customer base, promoting products, encouraging customer satisfaction, and most importantly, driving sales.
1. Price Checkers
Consumers are more price conscious than ever before, and this requires you as a retailer to step up your game. Digitally connected shoppers have become accustomed to their immediate demands being met at an ever-accelerating pace. By providing customers with the independent ability to check prices on their own terms, you are not only encouraging overall customer satisfaction and personal loyalty, but in regards to your own employee value, this is a huge efficiency-maximizing strategy in that employees are not as frequently burdened with trivial tasks.
According to recent study conducted by Deloitte, one of the top the business consulting and research firms, price checking technologies are the most frequently used devices when it comes to a digital tool of â€œself-helpâ€ within the retail store setting, with 60% of people expecting to use them as they shop. Traditionally, these machines are utilized as tangible standalone price check terminals placed strategically throughout the floor plan of your store. By enabling the use of price checkers, you are able to provide customers the freedom to independently choose, check, and decide on a purchase, all of which work to achieve your number one goal: increasing sales.
We are a collective do-it-yourself society, and the ability to check out of a store autonomously ranks a very close second to price checkers as the most frequently utilized self-help consumer technology. Shoppers love the ability to jump into the fast lane, and when designed properly, these types of machines are particularly useful for customers who are in a hurry and/or purchasing a minimal number of items
Self-checkout lanes can reduce labor costs and improve customer service capabilities, while again, providing shoppers with both a convenience and privacy that encourages them to give you more business. Many customers dislike the idea of forced interactions with employees, preferring personal tunnel vision to employee chitchat, and this is an easy way of guaranteeing them that newfound inclination to do it themselves.
3. Mobile Apps
Retailer mobile applications (for smartphones and tablets) have become a growing necessity for any retail business. As a company, you want to introduceâ€”or reintroduceâ€”yourself to your customers, and an app is an extremely efficient way of doing this. By creating a mobile application for your brand, you are enabling for an efficient connection between your company and each customer, one that uses price incentives, advertisements, and an accessible platform that encourages company growth and profits.
â€œThe reason mobile apps can play a big role is because of the dexterity it affords retailers â€“ it combines ecommerce, social media and native mobility such as location sensitivity, device features and app features into a powerful, portable customer channel,â€ said Gaurav Pant, research director for EKN Research. For your customer, mobile apps can frequently be used to inquire about specific goods, check prices, discover great deals, and deepen the overall retailer-customer relationship that every business needs for growth and profits.
4. Information Kiosks
Typically placed in the front of the store, kiosks provide direct access to your website and provide an additional method of streamlining the general consumer experience. They maximize efficiency by lending themselves to customers on an as-needed basis for a variety of applications, such as submitting job applications, managing gift registries, and purchasing gift cards. Consumers also utilize kiosks to find specific product information, pricing, in-store availability, and much more. Not only do kiosks save valuable employee time, but they also allow for the customer to personalize his or her experience, maximizing confidence in the ability of your company to provide exactly what they need.
5. Mobile Payment
Mobile payments have been hailed as the next big thing for in-store technology. While traditional methods of payment (such as cash and credit cards) should certainly remain, people are drawn to the freshness of this payment method. By offering shoppers the option to pay through their mobile device, you are ensuring that your company has the capability to cater to a wide range of customer preferences.
In a retail setting, consumers have come to expect instant access to information and instant gratification in addition to the feeling that they are both understood and valued by your company. By allowing for your customer to control their own retail destiny, so to speak, you are giving them increased confidence in your brand as it proves the ability to provide exactly what they want, and on their own terms.