As ecommerce continues to flourish, the high street continues its decline. 2019 saw the loss of some of the most iconic high street brands, including Mothercare and Thomas Cook, and retailers could face an even tougher situation in 2020. In this article, we take a look at how retailers can use technology to improve the customer experience and thrive in today’s tough retail landscape.
What do customers really want?
When it comes to shopping in a physical store, customers have high expectations. You need to fully optimise your service to make sure the reality lives up. If not, you could find yourself closing down stores and letting staff members go.
One of the main benefits of shopping online is avoiding the crowds and queues – even if you’re buying tickets, you can make yourself a hot drink and get comfortable while you wait. But in a store, the physical queues which lie ahead of you can make you as stressed as road traffic does, which is already an advantage of staying at home rather than going into a store to do the shopping.
According to data, customers are happy to wait up to a maximum of 13 minutes in a queue. Although this may seem like a high waiting time, businesses around the world are still trying to improve this area of their operations and make great changes to ensure that no customer is ever disappointed with their service.
It is imperative that you give customers good value for time as well as money and tailor the experience to them. Businesses that have not had a focus on this area of their business reported that they lost 75% of their customers due to lengthy waiting times; which of course led to a decrease in business opportunities. Customers that do not have an enjoyable experience with your business will not likely return. Waiting times tend to increase if retail businesses do not have modern queue management systems in place. 50% of people believe waiting in a queue is irritating, so if you’re not already looking to introduce such systems in place — you could face bigger problems as a business.
Improving your current technology
If you want to achieve measurable business growth, you should look at personalising the customer experience. You should have an aim to deliver an efficient customer experience from the moment someone arrives at a store up until when they leave. Enhancing the customer experience is all about adopting new technologies that can streamline all processes across an organisation.
Do you have a viable POS (point of sale) system? You need to invest in a POS that has the ability to drive results and also give you greater visibility over your business inventory; it can often be hard to strike the perfect balance. What makes your business better than your competitors? It all comes down to the in-store experience, so you should make it your mission to ensure that someone is always on hand to help with any queries someone may have about a product or service. Although customers do tend to wait a generous 13 minutes before leaving; that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best to serve them as quickly as possible.
You should also look at improving the efficiency of your employees when serving customers. This in turn will generate continuous results when implementing new solutions or upgrading current technologies – something which often takes time to adopt. Through a focus on queue management, you’ll be able to streamline the flow of people who visit your store in an efficient and less stressful way. From this, you’ll be able to create upsell opportunities and offer a more tailored experience to your customers if integrated across different areas of the business.
In addition, this should also help you make informed, intelligent decisions. In effect, it removes the need to go back and forth manually to check the availability of products. As well as this, you’ll be alerted when it’s time to restock your inventory, which can remove the need of constant monitoring; allowing you to always be prepared for popular store times.