Technology is making a huge difference in our day-to-day lives. At work as well as at home. This is especially the case for those who work in busy and highly competitive sectors. For example, the retail industry. Here, we take an in-depth look at how all kinds of retailers are taking advantage of technology to serve their customers better while at the same time making things easier for their employees.
Technology that serves customers faster
During the CoVid pandemic, people got used to shopping online. Many have continued to do so and are not planning to stop any time soon. One of the things they enjoyed was the speed at which they could shop. Physical retailers have realised that if they want to be able to attract shoppers back to shopping in-store, they need to make it as easy as possible for them. Most importantly of all, they need to speed up the experience. Here are examples of how they are doing that:
· More self-service checkouts – people do not like queuing, to avoid doing so people are increasingly using self-service checkouts.
· In aisle information points and scanners – making it easier for shoppers to find what they want and get their questions answered without having to seek out a member of staff.
· Improved click and collect services – including from lockers which means no queuing, while also easing the pressure on shop workers.
· Self-service returns kiosks – some clothing retailers are experimenting with letting customers use a barcode scanner, a touch screen, and a secure hopper to return items that do not fit without the intervention of staff members. This system enables items to be checked for issues at a time in the workday when things are quiet. Provided everything is OK the customer gets the refund. If it is not, a staff member will contact the customer to resolve the issue.
· In-store app shopping – in Australia, a major convenience chain, 7-Eleven allows shoppers to use their smartphones to scan their purchases as they put them in the basket. They then pay in the app and scan a QR code that proves they have paid as they exit the store.
More in-store purchasing automation in the future
In the future, we can expect to see retailers going even further. It is only a matter of time before cashless stores become more widespread. They make it possible for someone to go into a store, pick up what they want, then walk out, leaving it up to the tech to charge their debit card.
The experimental stores that Amazon opened have shown that the technology is now mature enough to work. In the UK, Tesco has tested out the technology and is planning to open these types of stores as soon as they are sure that people are ready to shop this way.
Advertising is a vital tool for retailers. Without it, competing effectively is practically impossible. But they know that consumers don´t like to be exposed to too much advertising. When that happens, people end up feeling irritated and they switch off.
Retailers are getting around this issue by creating their own highly targeted adverts. Doing this enables them to target the types of people that shop in their specific store. To create promotions that appeal to each shopper demographic and the budget that each group has. Using digital signage tips provided by the companies that sold them their digital display screens they can put together slides, short videos, digital posters, GIFs, and memes. Any number can be created, and it is possible to change what is being displayed within minutes. So, during times when the shop is full of elderly shoppers adverts that appeal to them can be shown. Then, when families come in later the ads on the screens can be switched to offers that will interest and benefit them.
Being in control like this enables retailers to help their customers to save money by directing them towards offers they know will work for them. It provides managers with the chance to demonstrate to their head office that they know their customers well. Often, those that see an increase in their sales are offered promotion.
These are just a few examples of how technology is changing the face of retail. The pace of change within the industry has been phenomenal over the past decade and we can expect to see it accelerate. Retailers in many parts of the world are finding it hard to recruit and retain staff. As a result, it is in their interests to focus on the tech that makes things easier for their employees, as well as for their customers.Infographic created by Clover Network – a leader in helping businesses accept credit card payments
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