In-store customer experience is the most important factor to increase customer traction and loyalty. It is highly relevant to the current scenario of the retail industry where there is a constant tussle between the e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar players. As pure play online retailers are leaving no stone unturned to grab a large chunk of the market share, brick-and-mortar businesses are being asked all sort of questions regarding their survival or doom.
However big a pure play online retail business gets, it cannot take away the value of physical stores. Having said that, brick-and-mortar retailers cannot just continue doing business the old fashioned way, waiting to get bought or to get shut. They have to evolve their strategies and processes thus ensuring to stay fit and firm in the game. And to do this, the best weapon would be to enhance their customer experience.
While there are umpteen factors that play a role in creating a wholesome experience for shoppers and these need to be looked at meticulously, the in-store checkout experience could be rated higher in importance than many others. Also, providing the best check out experience in the store can pose a stiff challenge, especially during peak seasons and rush hours. But this can be simplified with the 3 pronged approach – the right people using the right technology to drive the processes right.
To elaborate, there are effective and exciting technologies that provide solutions such as mobile point-of-sale (POS), mobile payments, self-checkouts, quick billing to ease the billing process at the check-out counter. Most of these technologies enable automation of operations thus reducing the effort of manually done processes and increasing the speed of transaction. Mobile POS systems can easily help retail brands bust lengthy queues by enabling handheld devices to be used for scanning products, billing and even registering customers for customer relationship management. Moreover, this can be done when the customer is still picking up products and has not yet entered the checkout queue. Another revolutionary technology that has been a game-changer in the payments industry is ‘mobile payments’. This has not only speeded up payment processes by enabling payments through mobile phones or mobile wallets, but also has allowed customers to travel cashless and cardless, making it beneficial for both retailers and customers. Self-checkout counters have been a recent development and implemented by biggies like Amazon. This almost gets rid of the physical check-out counter by enabling shoppers to use their mobile apps for billing which could be integrated with mobile wallets or bank accounts to handle payments directly.
But what good are these solutions if the people that use them aren’t aware of the capabilities of the technology available at their disposal? Every new technology will firstly need acceptance from those who are going to use it, plus the right attitude to learn and use it efficiently. Further, the store staff may know how to use the software right but what if they are not helpful and easily approachable or don’t have the right inter-personal skills? So the right people with the right attitude who are well trained in all aspects and equipped with the right technology solutions can ensure that the operations and processes required to handle check-out are carried out the right way, with ease and with minimal complications. A win-win situation for both – customers who are provided with the right check-out experience and retail businesses who will have fewer lost sales.