During his presentation at Retail Week Live Tesco CEO Philip Clarke stated that the retail industry is going through the most profound change it has faced in years. His response is in light of Tesco’s recent poor market performance and the plethora of technology available to retailers.
He went on to talk about technology becoming a major part of Tesco’s response to challenges from discount stores, which is where Tesco have recently lost considerable market share. Clarke also mentioned that they would be using in-store technology as a means to improve customer experience and increase overall long-term loyalty.
Tesco are not the only brand to acknowledge the potential technology has in retail, other major brands such as B&Q and Toys ‘R’ Us are all utilising technology to improve customer experience and loyalty.
What does customer experience have to do with technology?
Karen Heywood of Motorola Solutions has identified that 79% of staff in retail stores say that improving in-store communications would have a significant effect on customer experience. With that thought in mind, here are a few different options to improve in-store communications.
One way to improve the customer’s experience is to manage staff in a more efficient way; therefore giving the customer the products/service they want, when they want them.
Technology can play a very important role in this efficiency improvement through the use of mobile computers. Staff members can be equipped with tools such as the Motorola TC55 or ES400, which can be loaded with specialist task manager software. Through the software and mobile computers, each member of staff on the shop floor can be given a real-time list of key tasks to complete. This will allow a manager to perfect the use of staff members making sure stock levels are at optimum levels and ultimately increase the customer’s experience.
Voice over WLAN
This potential area for improving in-store communications will allow a staff member to utilise the wireless LAN (WLAN) for voice communications. A device such as a mobile computer or smart badge can be used to instantly connect to another member of staff on the network. This solution would be perfect for a front of store staff member who needs to quickly deal with a customer enquiry, he/she could instantly contact the appropriate team member and successfully deal with the enquiry. This instant voice connectivity is considered more reliable than operating an in-store mobile network due to signal loss and is more practical than fixed phone line communications.
Empowering your staff with information
“Empower associates with information, in the store, in the moment, in their hands” – Motorola. With so much product information online, it is important for staff members to have excellent product knowledge. This way an employee can speak with a “clued-up” customer and still add further useful insight to help improve the customer’s experience and give an excellent impression of the company. In a retail environment, where most customers now utilise the internet before making a purchase, staff members can use a mobile computer or rugged tablet to bring up online prices in store, this gives them the potential to match online prices, give specific delivery information and any other info a customer could want. This extra dimension of info will give customers peace of mind that they are making a purchase for the best price.
In an ideal world, a combination of all the above technologies would be used to create the ultimate in-store communications. A mobile computer such as a TC55 in the pocket of a staff member will allow all of the above and more. The employee could follow his/her real time task list, whilst having the ability to contact any other member of staff at any point and also having product information at the tips of their fingers.
What does loyalty have to do with technology?
As part of the Omni-channel retail environment, companies are utilising in store customer Wi-Fi to track customer purchases and send them real-time special offers as they walk around the shop. For example, a person walks into a shop and logs onto the free in-store Wi-Fi, the person then receives personalised mobile vouchers sent straight to their mobile phone. These mobile vouchers benefit the customer by giving them a good deal on products and the company benefits as the customer’s shopping bill increases. In order to redeem mobile vouchers a company will need the ability to scan mobile phone screens at the PoS.
To do this you will need 2D barcode imager technology such as Motorola’s DS9208, DS9808 or DS4208.
As shoppers continue to visit the store and utilise mobile vouchers the company can gather more information and create even more personalised offers giving them deals on specifically what they want, this will keep the shopper coming back and building loyalty.
To wrap up, a combination of technologies can be brought into the retail environment to help improve customer experience and long-term customer loyalty. At Symec we would recommend Motorola’s TC55 as the mobile device which is best suited to driving customer experience. We also would recommend the DS9208 as the preferred PoS device for scanning mobile screens and taking advantage of mobile workers’ capabilities.