Retail stores are where retailers interact with customers. It's where a lot of sales are made - and lost - and an area that retailers are keen to put a lot of effort into, to enhance the customer experience.
What technologies are retailers using to enhance the customer retail store experience? Let's take a look.
1. AnalyticsAnalytics are all about providing insights for retailers as to what customers are doing and how they are interacting with the store and the staff within.
Analytics can include:
- Density of people in Stores
- Number of return visitors
- Dwell time within the stores
- Customer walk paths
Machine learning and AI are now adding to the available analytics, to include:
- Facial recognition
- Measurement of engagement - do customers look happy while in the store
2. Click and CollectClick and Collect and Contactless delivery are being driven by COVID and convenience.
3. Customer OnboardingOnboarding customers means to bring their contact details into your store systems. This is a fundamental first part of connecting more closely with your customers - knowing who they are.
4. Electronic Shelf LabellingElectronic Shelf Labelling means that the pricing labels are networking and electronic.
5. Guest Wi-Fi
Simple options are guest Wi-Fi access, with either an app, or store specific information available over the guest access.
Guest Wi-Fi offers your customers convenience in accessing your Wi-Fi, but with many people having large data plans, uptake may be low unless you make it very easy to connect. No extensive forms for logging in!Guest Wi-Fi could also be used by staff, for access in lunch breaks, or if there is online training.
6. IoT SensorsIoT (Internet of Things) uses IoT sensors to monitor things like product temperatures, stock levels, spill identification and is becoming more widespread.
The ability to remotely measure and monitor a wide range of things is appealing - especially for supermarkets with a wide array of fridges, freezers and air conditioning units.
Mobility is a key part of this, discussed in the Wireless section below.
Customer engagement is also about convenience and quick access to staff, stock inventory and locations, as well as the store visit being an experience are important.
In many stores, staff are not using technology. A small hand held smartphone can be used for Wi-Fi calling within store and to check on stock and take your order. This means that a salesperson can attend to a customers needs anywhere in the store and they need to drag a customer back to the till to check on pricing and inventory.
Voice over IP is common on a lot of bar code scanners, which offers some additional value for staff carrying those devices.
A better option for Guest Wi-Fi is OpenRoaming.
This is great - customers will always have access with no hassle - and can roam to anyone else connected to the OpenRoaming federation (which is an expanding number of organisations).
For the retailer, it means your customers connect every time they are in store, because it's automatic.
9. QR Codes and Automated Pricing
We're all well used to QR codes now, so interactive stock labelling, with QR codes, and automated pricing specials add convenience for customers. This allows customers to quickly look up more information on a product and replicate the online research experience.
Automated stock pricing means that there's a lot less labour in keeping items priced competitively and the retailer can response much more quickly to market conditions - and not lose out to a cheaper rival.
Top Retail Store Technologies: Summary
In this blog, I've tried to detail a range of technologies that will impact the customer and staff experience alike. Both are critical in ensuring smooth operation of a retail store.
Providing a richer experience for customers - as well as having a much quicker feedback loop on customer likes and dislikes - are key to future retail.
Retailers have a challenge to bring customers into their physical stores and not just shop for the cheapest online option and it's all about the experience. Equip staff with mobile devices to help look after stock, as well as assist customers anywhere in the store and there's an increase in customer satisfaction.
Understanding customers likes through analytics equips retailers to make the changes and improvements to better deliver for the customer.
We deliver many of the technologies discussed in this blog, feel free to drop us a line, if we can help at firstname.lastname@example.org
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