As a retailer, you are most likely already using a retail POS system a retail CRM system. But are you aware of the advantages of having these two systems integrated and working together? If you are, you are already well on your way toward achieving retail success. If you are not, then these programs are probably working against you.
There are many benefits to having an integrated POS and CRM solution including faster transaction time, detailed customer history, and improved customer experience, to name a few. In this article, we will focus specifically on the benefits of capturing detailed customer history, and how the collected data can be used effectively. When your retail POS and CRM are integrated with each other, all your retail sales data is immediately and automatically captured in the CRM – every sale, service request, and customer complaint is logged, giving you a detailed customer profile.
Complete customer profiles provide information that can be extrapolated and applied in a variety of ways.
First, imagine a customer that has come into your retail store — let’s say you specialize in wireless products. The customer browses around for a minute or two and settles on purchasing the latest Bluetooth speaker. When they get up to the till (retail POS solution) for billing, the sales representative scans the item and in doing so, the customer profile is brought forward from the retail CRM software and the sale can be attached to their account. At this point in the integrated system, the sales associate will be able to view this customer’s entire purchase history based on recency-frequency-monetary value and will have access to valuable upgrade information, using which he/she can cross-sell or upsell with additional correlated products, or share deals that may apply to this customer.
Secondly, the customer data you collected can be used to segment your customers as per their purchase history, upgrade eligibility, and even as far as demographic information that can help you identify your purchase audience. The key benefit here is, you can now begin hyper-targeting your customer base and hone marketing efforts based on these unique profiles that bring customers back into stores.
Finally, integrated data collection is a game-changer with the ability to take the customer data and include it in your communication to customers; this is referred to as personalization. The ability to use personalization in your marketing and customer relationship efforts goes a long way, and according to a report by Forrester, the biggest challenges with personalization are gaining insight quickly enough (40%), having enough data (39%), and deciphering what is inaccurate data (38%). With an integrated POS and CRM, these key issues with executing personalization are largely alleviated, connecting the sales and customer data and by displaying the information at the POS.
Think back to that customer who came in and bought the Bluetooth speaker. You have already captured their demographic information and because your CRM and POS are integrated, you now have their sales history including details of the product they bought, the store they bought it in, and the sales rep that sold it to them. With this information, a powerful, personalized email can be created and sent to them to make sure they are enjoying their purchase, generating customer loyalty and mostly repeat business.
So I will ask again, is your POS and CRM integrated with each other and working together?
The concept of omnichannel retailing has now taken over a majority of the retail industry, with retailers focussing on providing a consistent, coordinated omnichannel customer experience across all customer channels using consistent and universal data.
So, what is omnichannel retail?
Omnichannel retail involves a dramatic shift from the multichannel retail approach. This retail strategy refers to a business model wherein all existing channels are integrated to offer customers a seamless and omnichannel shopping experience. The strategy is empowered by centralised data management, which blurs the lines between online and physical channels.
Customers can seamlessly use different channels in their shopping processes and are given a unique opportunity to create their preferable shopping routines. The omnichannel retail approach is adopted simultaneously in inventory management, sales channel, and marketing strategy.
This article aims to help retailers understand the need of investing in omnichannel retail:
Offering A Wonderful Customer Experience
Omnichannel retailing results in an omnichannel customer experience that seamlessly integrates online and offline channels. A retailer’s ultimate goal should not be to generate sales in a specific channel but to allow purchases to occur naturally and conveniently in the channel chosen by their customers.
By integrating online and offline channels, customers can shop from anywhere and experience an optimised retail experience. Be it shopping in brick and mortar stores or via using apps or company websites, customers can interact on all channels, efficiently manage their loyalty points and rewards, and invest in quick transactions. This type of interaction at all levels helps in improving customer relationships and pushes them to interact on a deeper level with retail brands.
With an omnichannel retailing set-up, shoppers can shop from whichever channel they like, physical stores or online channels. With inventory management integration in the retail strategy, retailers receive stock visibility across all channels and gain accessibility into the customer’s favourite channel. This retail strategy also integrates multiple sales channels, and shoppers can pick the most convenient one, thereby leading to an increase in sales.
Increased Customer Retention Rates
Shoppers aim to buy products in a way that is most convenient to them. An omnichannel retail strategy is the best way of offering your customers various sales channels and letting them pick one that best suits them. Further, omnichannel retail incorporates multiple payment gateways that ease transaction processes. This leads to optimised checkout rates and quick and secure checkouts, resulting in increased customer retention.
Improved Data Collection
With an intelligent omnichannel retail solution, retailers can store all customer data centrally located on cloud databases. The valuable data may include essential customer information like contact details, purchase histories, etc. Retailers can take advantage of this data for creating personalised shopping experiences for customers. They can monitor customers across all channels, understand them better, know their preferences, and create targeted marketing campaigns and customised promotions for every client that makes them feel special.
The omnichannel retail experience offers a 360-degree view of all the customer purchases that helps to serve them better in the future. The integration of loyalty management programs further increases productivity.
Customers can pick, review information, offer feedback, purchase, promote, and like products from anywhere that increases overall productivity and efficiency.
An intelligent omnichannel retail software integrates all crucial retail operations such as the point-of-sale, inventory management, customer relationship management, etc. by providing a single point solution for all retail processes irrespective of the channel. It perfectly integrates the backend operations with the demand and supply channels, offering physical and digital retail personalization to the customers which improves their overall experience and visibility of the brand.
The grueling responsibility of running a retail business efficiently can be made manageable by using a robust and dynamic Mobile POS (MPOS) system. Mobile POS solutions allow retailers and merchants to access POS functionalities on iOS or Android devices. These solutions turn any smartphone, tablet, or wireless device into a powerful, modern-day system that performs the functions of a cash register or electronic POS terminal wirelessly. The correct MPOS system will also help you keep track of sales and customer information, boost employee productivity, and offer a seamless customer experience and service. A capable mPOS system can help retailers in taking their brand or company to the next level in the near future.
A Mobile POS system, also known as a Mobility Retail Solution, works on a tablet or handheld device that is either iOS or Android enabled. It is cloud-based, which means that all the data captured by the device is automatically backed up and saved online. Its advantages in terms of customer service (queue busting, ensuring safe distancing in the stores) and the speed with which it records data and monitors transactions can just not be ignored any longer. Most significantly, it aids in comprehending complex data, allowing business owners to solve issues and tailor their strategies for long-term success.
This blog will help you understand how mobile POS systems can make a retailer’s life easier.
Terrible inventory management is without a doubt bad for retail businesses. After all, it is your stock that attracts customers to your store. With inventory issues across stores and across channels such as stock out and pilferage becoming all too typical these days, it’s clear that retailers need to improve their inventory tracking and management system.
During peak sales periods such as the festive season especially, it is common to see empty shelves and frustrated shoppers. Store staff is unable to replenish the stock on the shelves in time and that leads to unfulfilled sales which leaves the shoppers unsatisfied as they feel they made a wasted trip down to the store. With the endless aisle feature, stores are no longer limited by their shelf space. With the Endless Aisle Item Search functionality, you can easily list your entire inventory across stores and at warehouses online in a single screen and empower your store staff to offer suggestions to in-store shoppers for goods that are not on the shelves and allow them to choose from the entire inventory available.
You can thus monitor your transactions against your existing stocks without breaking a sweat using an MPOS system. This real-time accounting provides you with a realistic picture of the status of your inventory. And, because your MPOS can manage and sort goods by categories, tags, and serial numbers, you can track supply fluctuations and determine which ones need to be replaced.
Provide great customer experience
When it comes to providing an outstanding customer experience, cloud-based mobile point of sale gives your associates more time with their customers. It makes them happy by removing the difficulties they experience when dealing with technology that doesn’t work or isn’t doing its job effectively.
Your employees will give superior service, and your customers will be able to check out on the spot using a mobile point of sale. Your store staff can scan the merchandise anywhere in-store, hold the bill if needed, offer line discounts during the checkout process, and collect the payment to enable queue busting at the store. This improves customer satisfaction, which leads to increased and/or repeat sales. You’ll be able to provide that desired shopping experience by providing your efficient employees with great tools.
Better Analytics Leads to Better Decisions
This is where some of MPOS’s most outstanding features come into play. MPOS includes a robust reporting system that can provide you with real-time or near-real-time sales data. You may usually filter by date, product ID, customer, and other factors in addition to just totaling transactions. These tools allow you to delve deep into your data to determine what is selling and what isn’t, and how to adjust your strategy accordingly.
Your customers now expect digital receipts in addition to contactless payments. They are seen as safer, more reliable, and more convenient once again. Offering digital receipts is a highly successful technique to acquire your consumers’ email addresses, adding to your marketing database.
Following are 4 main reasons to upgrade to a mobile POS (mPOS) solution:
mPOS solutions are time-saving: They are easy to set up and can be used anywhere along with requiring minimal counter space.
Optimized and Secure checkouts: Intelligent mPOS solutions offer integrations with various payment gateways and loyalty programs, encouraging clients to manage and use their rewards or loyalty points during future purchases.
Cloud integration is standard on mPOS systems as it reduces the requirement for on-site data storage by business owners.
With an mPOS, sales associates can service consumers quickly, reducing queues and turnaround times. By providing prompt and courteous service to customers, has boosted sales and interactions.
A fast and secure mPOS solution such as the ETP Mobile Store solution allows you to handle all of the above and more from a single screen. Furthermore, when running your business from the cloud, it’s simple to adapt services and extend capabilities as your company expands and your customers’ needs change. Mobile point-of-sale systems provide a well-organized, quick, and anywhere checkout, allowing store staff to handle clients swiftly. A robust mPOS solution also enables a variety of contactless payment choices.
ETP’s Mobile POS solution seamlessly integrates and offers user-friendly experiences. It can also help you scale your business, be more responsive to customer requests, and forecast your revenue. Its unique value proposition is its ability to continuously offer enterprise-grade Omni-channel retail solutions to its clients while also forging decade-long strategic collaborations and partnerships.
Imagine you are buying your favourite luxury car that offers you a choice between manual, automatic, and driverless options; passive, active, interconnected front and rear suspensions; disc, drum, or anti-lock braking systems; plush amenities such as higher-quality interiors, high-viability headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, safety features; and, comes in petrol, electric and hybrid variants. But imagine if the car dealer said he could offer you a choice in only one or the other category. What kind of a horrid car buying experience would that be! Versus that, if another car dealership across the town offers you a choice in each of the categories along with a few extra features such as a great infotainment system or a voice-activated security system, wouldn’t that be a truly amazing experience? And now, imagine if the ‘you’ in the example above is actually your end customer, the ‘car dealership’ is your retail brand and the ‘luxury car’ along with its various features is the retail technology suite your brand is relying upon to offer a truly amazing unified shopping experience that makes your customers keep coming back for more.
If you’re in retail or even e-commerce, then you already know that omnichannel retail has changed the game in terms of how businesses reach and interact with their customers. If you want to stay competitive, it’s no longer enough to have a multichannel presence where the different channels function in silos and, it never will be again. What you need is unified commerce solutions, which enable your business to deliver consistent experiences across all channels — in-store, mobile, and digital — to make sure that your brand is staying ahead of the competition.
What Is Unified Commerce? What Does It Mean?
If you’re new to unified commerce, you may be wondering what exactly it is. The term can be defined as one platform serving several use cases. It encompasses many different tools, whether online or in-store, that customers utilize at different points throughout their journeys. Customers make purchases across platforms like mobile apps, websites, retail locations, social media pages, and connected devices. With the proper utilization of all these channels, interactions between brands and consumers can take place in real-time. For example, if an e-commerce company has an app that offers customers an easy way to shop for products anytime or anywhere they want (including on the go), it’s offering a very specific type of unified commerce experience.
Unified Commerce Vs Omnichannel – Evolving into One Version of Transactional Truth
The rapid growth of omnichannel has left retailers with one distinct problem – how to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels when managing multiple systems can be quite complex. The rapid proliferation of digital touchpoints has created complexities that leave retailers struggling to manage multiple systems, networks, and data silos in order to create a customer-centric experience. However, there is hope on the horizon with unified commerce platforms that bring order out of chaos by aggregating product data into a single source of truth. By integrating POS, WMS, ERP, CRM/CMO solutions into a single platform for managing merchandising content, brands can deliver more personalized shopping experiences while also unlocking critical insights about customers throughout their journey.
Retailers Aren’t Yet Delivering the Truly Seamless Customers Experiences that Shoppers Want
If you’re a retailer, then chances are your website is already unified. In fact, you probably already have a mobile shopping app for your brands. But what about in-store shopping? That’s where you might be falling behind. According to Gartner, over 30% of retail sales still take place in physical stores, but in 2022 more than 65% of sales will occur online. If that prediction holds true, then it doesn’t bode well for retailers that aren’t prioritizing unified commerce solutions at their brick-and-mortar locations or on their websites.
What Is a Unified Commerce Platform?
A unified commerce platform is a single, all-encompassing digital storefront that gives customers complete access to your brand, products, customer service channels, mobile apps, social media accounts, websites, etc. The goal of unified commerce is to encourage your customers to interact with your brand through multiple channels while simultaneously making it easy for them to find the information/product they are looking for. To do so successfully requires cross-channel product listings that are consistently accurate. Also critical is an omnichannel experience where any interaction with your brand automatically updates in real-time across every channel. Even more importantly, it allows you to meet each customer on his or her own terms by offering customized interactions tailored directly to their preferences.
Unified Infrastructure Designed for Company Growth
Most retailers are already experiencing growth in sales, which means their infrastructure should be ready to support increased growth. For example, if a company has only 200 customers today but expects 1,000 new customers within 12 months, then unified commerce is critical. With integrated systems across all channels of communication, businesses can better understand who their customers are. This will allow them to deliver an experience that’s personalized for each individual customer. Because of omnichannel capabilities combined with retailer-specific features designed to grow your business, unified commerce helps you grow your bottom line while staying ahead of industry changes.
The Advantages of Delivering Unified Customer Experiences
The first advantage of unified commerce is that it allows businesses to offer customer-centric shopping experiences. Customers want a seamless shopping experience, which means it should be easy for them to browse products on their smartphones and buy those products quickly and efficiently through an e-commerce site or a mobile app. Giving your customers quick access to your inventory as well as options like click-and-collect delivery services increases their chances of making a purchase with you. Giving them multiple ways to complete purchases, such as email receipts and pick-up codes for shoppers who order online but don’t have home delivery service available in their area, also makes purchasing easier for them — and makes them more likely to shop with you again in the future.
How to Deliver Unified Commerce Experiences & Preparing for 2022 and beyond with a Unified Commerce Strategy
When we at ETP were building our product roadmap in 2015-2016, we already had a good idea that omnichannel retail solutions would be one of our most in-demand products over the next six years. However, once we had firmly established ourselves as an Omni-channel Retail Solutions provider for luxury and lifestyle retailers across APAC, India, and the Middle East in 2018-2019, we saw that unified commerce was quickly becoming a trending topic in the immediate future as well. At that point, it was clear that unified commerce was going to be one of our key points of focus for our 2022 strategy. As such, we decided to develop specialized products that can benefit that various types of retailers. We have also created a dedicated page on its core components and main advantages to help you better understand unified commerce and omnichannel retail solutions.
Customers are always looking for “something extra” in their shopping experiences. And particularly when they do their holiday season purchases for their loved ones, they will not think twice before switching loyalties if the experience is not up to their expectations. If you fail to provide frictionless shopping experiences, IT WILL COST YOU CUSTOMERS! 65% of consumers in a recent retail consumer survey said they’d cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience.
The festive season brings a hot time for retail businesses around the world with all its holidays and preparation for celebrations. Usually, it starts during mid-to-late October with festive occasions such as Halloween (10/31) and Diwali (early November; in the Indian subcontinent), scales up on Single’s Day (11/11), peaks during Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Hanukkah, and Cyber Monday (last week of November) and then continues through Christmas (12/25), and New Year (12/35), finally culminating with the Chinese New Year (late Jan – mid-Feb) every year.
According to a multinational professional audit and consulting services firm, the shopping activity will be 7-9% higher than in 2020 during the November to January timeframe this year. Total sales are expected at $1.28 to $1.3 trillion. The e-commerce sales specifically are expected to demonstrate 11-15% year-over-year growth during the 2021-2022 holiday season. It means online stores can count on total sales between $210 and $218 billion this festive season.
With many consumers still trying to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 variants, an overwhelming majority of retail consumers start their journey online with almost 80-85% of retail shoppers conducting their holiday shopping research online, from the safety of their homes, before buying. The festive season gives a chance for online stores to significantly increase their sales, revenue, and profit numbers. By making a few smart moves, retailers can take advantage of the surge of holiday traffic – and start making more sales! It is an extraordinary opportunity for eCommerce businesses to achieve great profits, which is why it is important to keep up with the demand and provide customers with an amazing, seamless shopping experience.
But if you don’t take the right steps to prepare for the holidays, they can turn into a disaster. Site downtime, loading issues, payment problems, delayed deliveries, and more could plague your store, and damage your reputation and your sales. Each year, you will find some retailers that do it very well — and some retailers miss the mark completely. This year too, there would have been winners and losers this holiday season!
So, what mistakes did you avoid when preparing your physical or eCommerce stores for the holidays in 2021?
Did you have trained store staff armed with the right tech ready to welcome back customers in your physical stores?
Did you have all your marketing tools in place?
Were your integrations sound and robust, ready for the busy period?
How was your data looking? Was there any customer information you need to collect for your holiday marketing?
Let’s take a look at the top 6 most common holiday sales preparations that retailers should get right up front. Super, if you got all 6 of them ticked in 2021 already. But if not, preparations for the festive shopping season 2022-23 are merely six months away. Start early and get them right next year –
Prep your physical stores and make them shopper safe and friendly
Consumers expect that a shop will help them during the buying process when online stores are overflowed with holiday offers. Customers may additionally have confusion in shopping process details, they may have doubts regarding the product, etc. Hence, it is of prime importance to have trained store staff ready in-stores to be able to offer the shoppers a pleasant shopping experience. With increased crowds during the holiday season, the store staff needs to be trained to not only be quick in their service and checkout, but also for them to be good in their product knowledge so that they are able to assist customers promptly. The knowledge will help the store to be more efficient in tending to customers’ queries and improving their shopping experience. This in turn helps to manage the crowd and allows the store to serve more customers within a shorter amount of time, decreasing the wait time for customers waiting to enter the store.
Retailers that adequately staff up and strike the right balance of enforcing COVID-19 protocols while also creating a stress-free experience for customers win the holiday season.
Use shopper data from the previous years to build promotions and create a buzz
Customer buying history across channels accumulated in an Omni-channel Retail CRM over a sufficient period of time serves as input to the promotions planning engine, enabling you to easily define business rules and roll out promotions specific to customer segments, making their relationship with you a personalized experience.
These promotions can be defined for a specific range of merchandise or for a specific time frame or for a specific channel or store and can be executed based on various parameters like customer age, gender, birth dates, demographics, ticket size, RFM (recency-frequency-monetary value) and more. This will give the retail marketing team the flexibility to run a wide range of campaigns to grow business with loyal customers and to increase same-store sales. It is important to be able to run a large volume of business and yet be able to make your customers feel special every time they interact with you.
Be prepared for a surge in holiday traffic
Surges in traffic, both online and offline, are good if you’re prepared for them. But if you’re not, they can cause performance issues that may cost you sales and maybe even loyal customers. As part of the retail ecosystem, we’ve all been there at some point or the other. A holiday sale leads to a surge in traffic. All of a sudden, your loyalty program or inventory management system or the payment processor fails, your e-commerce pages start loading slowly, or your website starts to crash because it can’t handle the traffic.
Make sure that your web host allows you to scale up your website quickly if you need to – add more capacity so that you can keep your site running even if you encounter an unexpectedly high surge in traffic. You should also look for a robust, stable POS system that allows to view and manage customer data and store inventory easily. Newer retail solutions such as an mPOS (mobile POS) prove extremely useful in busting checkout queues and handling surges in in-store traffic.
Plan your merchandise and make sure that you’re fully stocked on your inventory
When shopping online more than 65% of clients will delete the item or drop their whole order if they see the out-of-stock sign. Nobody likes to shop for an item and add it to their cart only to find out that it’s out-of-stock, not the right fit, or back-ordered. Before the holidays start, you need to think through your merchandising approach and make sure that you’re fully stocked on your most popular items. Plan for sufficient buffer stock to meet the targeted sales volume for the season. Keep the warehouse inventory handy and the display amply stocked so that customers feel spoilt for choice. With Endless Aisle functionality, such as the one offered by ETP Omni-channel Retail Solutions you can easily view the entire inventory available at nearby stores, online/virtual locations, and your warehouses and assist the customer to order from there thus avoiding a stockout/lost sale situation.
Sure, a few stockouts are still inevitable. But by using the data you’ve gathered about your products during the rest of the year, you should be able to predict which ones will be the most popular throughout the holidays and stock up accordingly.
Using the right order management system, fulfill 100% of your deliveries on time
Once a customer clicks the “Buy” button, their order’s journey begins. New orders are placed on your eCommerce platform, then whoever is managing your inventory has to select, package, and ship the right products to the right place. This might not seem too hard when you have a brand new business: A few orders come in each day and you can quickly (and cheaply) fulfill them yourself. No problem. Potential obstacles can arise, however, as sales grow, channels multiply, products are added to your inventory, and your customer base expands.
The right order management system can help remove bottlenecks for you as your eCommerce store grows. It is a one-stop-shop to view and manage all customer orders in one place. Order information is passed between your order management system and your eCommerce platform while providing you with visibility into the entire process. This can help automate the flow of sales order information to every piece of the retail supply chain. You can track the entire journey of a customer order, from the “Buy” button to delivery — and even returns. An efficient order management system organizes and automates everything that needs to happen to get customers what they ordered on time and in good condition.
Go Omni-channel and complete the digital upheaval of your business
Omni-channel retailing is a consumer-centric approach that refers to the adoption of strategies, a variety of engagement tools, and a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all accessible shopping channels. This not only helps organizations to centralize their business operations and implement infrastructure changes but also enables them to provide a consistent experience to attract and retain customers, thus driving greater sales.
ETP is enabling brick and mortar retailers to embrace unified commerce and drive their brands and customer relationships in a seamless manner. ETP V5 Omni-channel Retail Solutions enable you to deliver a unified omni-channel experience with retail digital transformation features such as Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), Reserve Online Pickup In-Store (ROPIS), Click and Collect, Click and Deliver, Endless Aisle, Buy Online Return In-Store (BORIS) as well as a holistic view of the inventory and a single view of customers across all channels. This is done using real-time integration of ETP’s POS, CRM, and Promotions engine with webstores and marketplaces using ETP Connect’s secured web services framework, which has the ability to see and manage order flows easily.
In addition to trained store staff, attractive discounts and loyalty programs, and multiple delivery options, what is it that you need to proactively be ready to offer your customers when they shop with you during the festive season? Browse through our 9 tips that add the extra sparkle to your sales and profits during festive shopping.
Retailers must double down on consumer research and ensure a positive customer experience. However long this period of turmoil lasts, those companies which will finesse it and succeed will be those that invest in competitive pricing, do research to understand their customers, and make the omnichannel online and hybrid shopping experience a cinch to stay ahead of the competition.
As the festive season is in progress, there is a lot retailers can do to bank more sales and boost profits as much as possible. The key is to be proactively prepared. If retail businesses expect to grab larger portions of the festive shopping cake, it is up to the retailers to take charge and make it happen.
Have enough product inventory on hand Plan for sufficient buffer stock to meet the targeted sales volume for the season. Keep the warehouse inventory handy and the display amply stocked so that customers feel spoilt for choice. Implementing the right type of omni-channel retail software with a unified inventory solution such as the ETP Omni-channel Retail Solutions and Unified Inventory Management solution can help to tackle this issue quite comfortably. The Endless Aisle function which ETP’s solutions offer further aids to avoid stock out and lost sale situations by presenting the inventory carried by the brand’s nearby stores and local and/or regional warehouses to the shoppers on a single screen.
Focus on cross-selling and upselling Identify which potential products can be coupled for sales to add value to a sale (cross-selling) and products that have big-ticket or upgraded models that can be suggested for customers to consider (up-selling). Slow-moving items can be offered as complementary products or repackaged as a special buy in combination with best-sellers to get the slow movers out of the door. ETP’s in-POS CRM coupled with its uber stable promotions engine, ETP Accelerator can together facilitate to cross/up-sell to customers while they wait in the queue either outside the store or at the checkout counter. A suitable mPOS solution such as the ETP Mobile Store further enables retailers to execute the additional sales by offering quick product lookup, line discounts, quick billing and loyalty points’ accrual, and queue busting in the store.
Deck the stores to be a “happy place” to encourage sales Highlight the most distinctive features of the mainstream merchandise with the right communication or offer some new and unique products that cannot be found elsewhere, to attract the attention of curious customers looking for the latest in the season. Set the festive ambiance at the stores with the right paraphernalia to match the season – merchandise displays, lighting, colours, music, and other means to delight customers. Focus on creating a space that is shopper-friendly.
Know your customer The festive season will bring in new customers. Know what customers are really looking for in terms of shopping experience in the festive season. Take the time and effort to ask questions and receive actionable feedback from all channels. Understand the demographics of the region and choose your product offerings accordingly. Capture every customer’s data in your CRM. Further, track and analyze their buying behavior and preferences to spot which products are trending up and which are getting eluded to be able to personalize offerings and boost loyalty.
Make training your store staff a priority Consumers who find deals on their smartphones are quite likely to redeem them in-store, making in-store promotional content more important than ever for mobile shoppers. However, a good deal found on an app can turn into a negative customer experience if frontline employees aren’t properly trained to help shoppers redeem an offer at the register. Training store employees on how to make the redemption process frictionless can be the best way to reverse the trend of sales moving to a competitor. Moreover, make sure in-store salespeople know the product features and benefits thoroughly. Store staff should also be well versed with the technology at the counters to be able to service customers faster.
The All-in-1 ETP Retail POS software – ETP Store – is user-friendly, fast, and reliable with touch-screen technology – making it a proven retail POS solution that transforms your point-of-sale into a point-of-delight for both your end customers and your store staff.
Manage finances to last the season Plan the pre-season stock allocation and in-season procurement of inventory to last through the entire festive shopping season, which is starting earlier and lasting longer each year. This makes it crucial to handle budgets accordingly.
Secure your payment card data at the point-of-sale With a plethora of transactions taking place due to the rise in shopping activity during the festive season, it is necessary to protect shoppers’ payment card data and ensure secure transactions across channels. Retailers must take measures to make payment card transactions safe for customers, no matter which channel they use for their festive gift shopping, by employing a payment application that helps you do just that by protecting the heart of the festive shopping experience – the transaction.
The ETP Store solution integrates with a wide range of payment systems electronically, including all the well-known credit, debit, and cash cards, PayPal, and NFCs such as online payment systems (online wallets) and mobile payment systems (mobile wallets). The ETP Omni-channel Retail Suite consisting of omni-channel retail solutions is certified as Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) v3.2 compliant by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). In order to ensure that all sensitive cardholder authentication data is secure, PCI requires merchants, banks, and all other parties to use a third-party application that meets the PA-DSS standard for processing payments. The use of compliant software solutions is a key element of demonstrating their ability to protect sensitive card data. Being compliant with the security standards, ETP makes it easier for its customers around the world to apply for PCI PA-DSS certification.
Plan for the last-minute frenzy Employ the right skills and technologies to handle in-store as well as online traffic on the e-commerce website. Keep the supply chain engine running through the season to ensure sufficient stock is always handy through careful planning and allocation of stocks across all retail touchpoints.
Transcend your customer experience to a superior, amazing one Focus on customer centricity by understanding customers better and then servicing them accordingly. Employ technologies to enhance customer service particularly during peak business periods and to ensure safe transactions. Unify your retail processes by integrating your omnichannel retail software solutions with your inventory management, order management and fulfilment, and product information management systems. It gives you a single view of your customers, one version of the truth of your inventory helps to secure all your payment transactions, and to gain better control over your logistics and order deliveries. Enhanced customer experience can help induce repeat purchases, increase festive sales and profits, create brand loyalists out of your regular customers, and make you stand apart from the competition.
The luxury and lifestyle retail industry has always set high standards for itself when it comes to extending outstanding customer service. It is this service and shopping experience that keeps the customers coming back for more. But what exactly goes into providing a truly superior experience?
The holiday season in particular always brings in waves of shoppers both online and offline that lead to a large number of exciting promotions, massive sales, and increased revenue often also result in long queues, longer checkout processing wait-time, stock-out situations, and lost sales. With COVID restrictions further complicating the experiences at the stores, it is important for retailers to be proactive about utilizing the right retail technology that helps to not only avoid any of the aforementioned unpleasant situations but also boost the holiday season profits.
In this write-up, which is the concluding piece of our series on how retailers can actually deliver an amazing customer experience, we throw light on how innovative retail software solutions and the associated benefits can do just that! Here are some ways in which you can “upgrade” your customers’ experience in your store:
Unify your retail commerce processes
Apart from quality products, customers usually seek a pleasant store ambiance, easy access to merchandise with correct labels be it wherever, whenever, or however they may choose to access it from, promotions and offers that are tailored to their requirements, and helpful, well-informed staff as part of the overall in-store experience.
Unfortunately, these are often independent departments, functioning in silos and the data collected from each of them cannot be analyzed together in a unified manner, thus effectively reducing its value. To work around this and make optimum use of all the data obtained from the different segments, you need to unify your retail processes. Unified commerce solutions involve unifying your omnichannel retail software solutions along with inventory management, order management and fulfilment, and product information management systems. It gives you a single view of your customers, one version of the truth of your inventory helps to secure all your payment transactions, and to gain better control over your logistics and order deliveries.
This will transcend the level of customer experience you are delivering to a truly superior one.
Have a mobile POS (mPOS) system
This holiday season, move the queues super quick so you can sell more. Implementing an mPOS system in your stores will allow your staff to help customers scan their purchases swiftly and check out faster without even having to wait in the queue. This is particularly helpful for the store staff to assist customers with smaller purchases who can be in and out of the store in a quick manner. This helps reduce the crowd in-store and maintain safe distancing, allowing you to maintain the COVID-induced restrictions and sell more while attending to more customers within the same time.
Having an mPOS system would also mean that you can register your customers into your CRM/loyalty management system right outside the store and they are able to enter the store, purchase quickly, and start earning loyalty points. This allows you to engage shoppers waiting in the queue to enter the store and potentially drive higher sales using the mPOS system.
This divide and delight strategy will help ease the in-store crowding significantly and customers will not have to wait too long to pay for their items, keeping them happy and allowing them to have a great impression of your store.
BOPIS, i.e., buy online and pick-up in-store – this strategy allows customers to make purchases online and hop over to your store to grab the items. They may even be queueing outside another store that is not BOPIS enabled while purchasing your products so that they can grab and go afterward.
With this, customers will be able to have the instant gratification of getting the items instantaneously without having to queue for them. Reserve online, pick-up in-store and click & collect are features very similar to BOPIS that can also be enabled with the help of the right omni-channel retail software solutions.
Provide Curbside Pickup
Retailers can also set up pick-up points outside the store to facilitate fast pickups and reduce the queues. In this way, customers who purchase online can pick it up faster while avoiding having to wait in line in the store.
All in all, this holiday season, it is important for stores to stand out from the crowd and offer unique ways of shopping such that shoppers will feel at ease and have a more pleasant time shopping. This will encourage them to return to your store in the future and thus build brand/store loyalty.
Offer Endless Aisle functionality
Limited shelf space? No problem! With technology nowadays, it is easy to list your entire inventory across stores and at warehouses online. Even with customers that are unfamiliar with your store, you are able to showcase all there is to them on a single screen.
During the holiday season especially, it is common to see empty shelves and frustrated shoppers. Store staff is unable to restock the shelves in time and that leaves the shoppers unfulfilled and unsatisfied because they made a wasted trip down to the store. With an endless aisle feature, stores are no longer limited by the shelf space. Store staff is able to approach shoppers and offer them suggestions that are not on the shelves allowing them to view the entire inventory and choose from there. Then if the inventory is not in-store, the sales associate can order the products for home delivery from the store on the same screen.
Thus having an endless aisle option allows for the in-store customers to view the entire inventory across all your stores and warehouses and pick out the item either to be shipped to their homes or reserve it for pick up another time. Buyers get more than they expected and this will increase the shoppers’ satisfaction.
Initiate Ship from store
With the Ship From Store (SFS) fulfilment technique, you can transform your stores into virtual distribution hubs that use stock from the physical store estate to fulfil both online & offline orders by leveraging inventory held in physical stores & making it available for sale through the eCommerce channels.
Enable hassle-free anywhere exchanges and returns
Extend an enhanced customer service to your end customers where they can buy products online and return/exchange them at the nearest store, or they can buy in-store and trigger an online return/exchange.
Have an e-commerce presence
All the previous options are all related to the physical storefront. What if you have a fully digital option where shoppers are able to shop online and have the goods delivered right to their doorstep? In this way, you can reduce the number of customers in the stores and may even potentially have more sales online because the customers are not limited by the number of items they can carry!