11 Oct 4 Tech Trends That Are Changing The In-Store Experience
This Article was written for the Modalyst
Brick-and-mortar retail is here to stay. While eCommerce has made a huge impact on how people shop, nothing beats the physical shopping experience thatâ€™s enabled by amazing sales people and beautifully designed spaces. With competitors like Amazon and other major retailers, however, independent stores might have a hard time keeping up with consumer expectations if they rely on traditional retail operations. Itâ€™s why many small-to-medium sized businesses are turning to new technologies to blend the best of online and offline.
Here are 4 trends that are helping indie boutiques revolutionize the way they interact with consumers.
Big data for better personalization
Operating on a hunch is no longer a viable option. A merchant might think they know their best customers and what their favorite products are by virtue of being on the floor everyday, but how can they tell who buys the most, and when? Who is buying what size, and what brands do they love?
With a robust point of sale, retailers can see exactly who buys the most often, and when. Based on zip codes, they can find out where tourists are coming from, and during what time of year. With a modern POS, retailers can also better address customer needs if they have their purchase history available at the click of a mouse. At Clusier, for example, theyâ€™re able to create personalized emails for their customers based on which sizes and brands they prefer â€“ all based on the data theyâ€™ve collected.
The iBeacon is a small piece of technology that allows certain iOS apps to receive location information. Essentially, it allows retailers to know where potential customers are in the store (providing them with insightful data about which areas attract more people) as well as allows them to target offers to people nearby.
Since shoppers are so attached to their smart phones these days, itâ€™s no wonder that in-store mobile connectivity is becoming the newest way to engage with clients.
Mobile point of sale
Traditionally, a point of sale was a clunky machine sitting at a storeâ€™s checkout counter. Companies like LightSpeed have completely redesigned the checkout process, with a system that can run on a tablet or mobile device. More than showing customers that the store is up-to-date, having an iPad instead of a cash register breaks down the barrier between client and sales associate. Customers can sit casually while the associate rings them up. It can also be used for â€œline-bustingâ€, where staff can make transactions on the spot to cut down on the time people spend waiting in line at the cash.
Retailers can also sell outside the confines of their store with their tablet running LightSpeed Cloud. Luxury company LXR&Co uses the iPad to make transactions easier on the sales floor, as well as to sell products to out-of-towners in the comfort of their hotel rooms. According to our latest survey, a whopping 46% of retailers plan on implementing mobile checkout in the near future, in addition to the 17% who have already adopted it.
Mobile inventory lookups
Â Time is money, and nothing is more time consuming (and irritating) than waiting for a sales associate to check the back of their store for an item. Instead of going back and forth looking for the right size or product, retailers can look up an item in seconds on a tablet without leaving the customerâ€™s side. Itâ€™s one way physical stores can merge the speed and convenience of online shopping with the human element consumers enjoy the most.
Technology is meant to boost the advantages of brick-and-mortar retail, not replace them. Shopping is an activity that stimulates all the senses, as well as creates a spirit of community in a given neighborhood. Mobile POS, personalized email campaigns, and beacon technology are all helping to create better bonds between stores and their clientele, as well as bring a level of efficiency to boutiques that was previously coveted by big chains and eCommerce only.
To discover how a POS can revolutionize how you interact with customers, get a 14-day free trial of LightSpeed here.