Retail has always been an industry full of changes and challenges, and COVID-19 has highlighted them in bold. External market trends such as emerging new technologies, rapidly evolving new sales channels, increasing competitive pressure, and the non-traditional expectations of the Generation Z/Millennial generation are demanding that retailers rethink their strategies for Getting on the Right Side of the Retail Trends in 2021.
Customer experience has been the competitive battleground for nearly a decade now and many successful retailers were quick to change their business model by focusing on customer experience and retail technology. Those who did not initially move forth were forced by the shock of the coronavirus to harness the power of data and technology to enhance the customer experience and grow brand loyalty and trust.
To help retailers like you deliver more connected and personalized shopping experiences across customer journeys, we have created this article. Here are some of the most pioneering examples of innovative retail technologies and capabilities from the past few years and more recently since the onset of Covid-19:
New Tools for Digital Transformation in Retail
Superior omnichannel shopping experiences
Retail growth drivers are today quite strongly linked to their capacity to integrate the new journeys of digital customers. However, many retailers still manage their offline and online sales channels in silos. The integration capabilities of a robust Omni-channel Retail Software Solution help to map customer journeys and unify all the sales channels, order management, payment processes, loyalty programs, delivery options, and more, both in-store and online. This will enable retail brands to deliver the true omnichannel experiences that the customers expect.
Native shopping experiences on a social media platform offer shoppers a seamless way to shop online. Instead of clicking through to a third-party website, users can make purchases right from the social media app or site. Shops are custom storefronts for businesses on Instagram and Facebook. Sellers can create collections of featured products, as well as modify the look of their custom storefront on Instagram and Facebook. Once it is set up, retailers have the potential to reach a wide global audience on two platforms.
In-POS CRM capabilities
A retail CRM solution that is integrated with the POS connects the business back-end operations with the supply and demand channels. Using an omni-channel retail CRM software retailers can ensure that their O2O customers can peruse, pick, purchase, like, promote, review, search, seek information and provide feedback from anywhere at any time.
Omni-channel Retail Promotions Planning solution such as the ETP Accelerator help retailers plan, execute, and monitor retail marketing promotions and deploy them quickly accordingly across their various channels online and offline. Retailers can visualize promotions across merchandise, channel, location, time and customer dimensions. Promotions Planning software are equipped with intuitive dashboards that enable retailers to create a knowledge based promotions strategy and also to stay abreast of the customer response to their promotions against various goals and targets set for each promotion.
Retail mobility solutions such as the ETP Mobile Store help to improve in-store safe distancing and to reduce queues by creating invoices for the customers as they wait in-queue thus ensuring a faster checkout. Store-staff can also register customers into the CRM program, give them information about their loyalty points and lookup inventory quickly using the retail mobile POS.
Real-time visibility into inventory levels
Inventory Management modules help retailers manage and control the different inventory processes carried out inside stores in real-time for both retail sales and online sales. Managing stock transfers, local purchases & quick product-wise stock take at the store level reduces the lead time for updating physical count of the store inventory.
Chat & Buy
Covid-19 has compelled retailers to have limited in-person experiences which also includes having to severely reduce face-to-face customer support. To meet customers where they are, more and more companies have embraced chatbots and digital shopping assistants, which offer companies and users alike some big advantages like shorter wait times, 24×7 availability and personalized recommendations based on answers to a few simple questions. Once a user decides on a product, the chatbot directs them to the website where they can complete the purchase.
Frictionless payments, or frictionless commerce refer to online and offline checkout processes where the barriers of buying have been minimized. The onset of the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing fears of infection have prompted consumers and businesses to rely more on digital and contactless payment options that use data from devices, apps, websites and wearables to integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments. Retailers pivoting their businesses toward safe ways to meet their buyers by enabling frictionless payments have an increased need for omni-channel tools. The most common use cases of frictionless payments include mobile and digital e-wallets, contactless card payments, auto-renewing subscriptions, NFC (near field communications) and one-click payments.
A digital e-wallet is a type of electronic device, online service, or software program that enables individuals or businesses to make transactions electronically. It is used for transactions made online through a computer or a smartphone. The e-wallet securely stores users’ bank account details, passwords for numerous payment methods and social network account details so that customers can pay for their purchases quickly with just an email address/mobile phone number and password.
Buy Now, Pay Later
Scrambling for cash for a COD purchase or getting out debit or credit cards for online payments and typing in OTPs every time you make a purchase can be a hassle, especially during a pandemic scenario. A ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ solution gives customers the convenience of shopping now and paying later anytime within a specific number of days, usually fixed between 14-30 days. It could also be an auto-renewed subscription for a product or service that finds its use on a regular basis.
An increased need to minimize human interaction during the ongoing crisis has also created a requirement for self-service checkouts or customer-operated point-of-sale (POS) stations with which customers can scan, pack/bag goods themselves and make payments using a frictionless/contactless method such as e-wallets, buy now pay later, NFC or such other without interacting with a human cashier, although a support person is typically available nearby.
Secured Online Checkout
A Secured Online Checkout feature allows businesses such as retail to securely accept and process payments with the confidence that all customer transactions are secure thus enhancing the customer checkout experience. For this, all transactions should be secured with the SSL protocol and a PCI certified compliance is a must. The ETP V5 omni-channel retail management system is a PCI PA-DSS compliant solution that is flexible enough to integrate with a wide range of payment systems electronically, including all the well-known payment cards and mobile/e-wallets.
Increased Use of Retail Analytics
Retail business intelligence (BI) solution with powerful pre-configured, retail specific set of KPIs providing a 360° view of business processes gives retailers real-time access to data about stores, sales, customers, employees, inventory, merchandising, etc. and provides actionable insights about customer behavior across multiple retail channels. This helps increase foot-falls, improve margins, volume size and supports business functions like promotions and pricelist optimization, demand forecasting, product assortment and customer segmentation.
ETP has developed a comprehensive omni-channel retail software solution to enable you to adopt most of the new retail tools and capabilities. We are happy to offer you a quick 1-hour workshop that’ll help you understand how you too can integrate your online and offline POS with each other using our ready-to-use omni-channel solution that includes e-commerce integration, a robust supply chain, and a powerful promotions engine.
Reach out to ETP!