Consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. They face endless options, both in store and online, conditioned by businesses to expect the ultimate convenience at no extra cost. And with the human attention span hovering around eight seconds, retailers have a small window in which to capture the attention of time-starved shoppers and deliver an exceptional experience.
This is particularly challenging for brick and mortar retailers who despite the rapid growth in e-commerce sales, see the majority of purchases happening in stores. According to Zebra’s 2020 Global Shopper Study, only 32% of North American consumers rate their in-store shopping experiences as very satisfactory. To continue capitalizing on brick and mortar sales, retailers must take this opportunity to evolve and leverage technology to deliver a more engaging, personalized shopper experience.
CAPTURING CUSTOMERS IN THE MOMENT
The modern shopping experience typically starts long before a customer enters a physical store. With near-infinite information at their fingertips, consumers often arrive having done research before making a purchase - browsing online retailers, comparing prices and reading reviews.
Whether it’s to physically experience a product or for immediate gratification, shoppers likely have a reason for purchasing in a store rather than online. This changes the way retailers need to operate, requiring them to take a more active role in identifying customer needs and satisfying those needs where and when they occur.
Tech-enabled customer service strategies are key to successfully driving that interaction and, ultimately, conversion. Mobile technology gives retailers the ability to service shopper needs in the moment and at the point of need rather than diverting the customer or making them wait.
Busy shoppers have little patience for associates who are unable to assist them with more expertise than the smartphones in their own pockets. In fact, Zebra’s study found that 58% of North American shoppers believe they have a better in-store experience when sales associates use the latest technology to assist them.
Any information that is available to shoppers online should be equally, if not more easily, accessible to in-store associates. Though consumers often use their own personal devices in-store, retail associates equipped with enterprise-grade mobile devices are better prepared to drive the conversation, in turn giving the retailer more control over ultimately winning the sale.
Associates must be able to quickly provide information regarding stock and store navigation, product details and more. Shoppers are increasingly expecting easier, faster checkout anywhere in the store with the growth of mobile point of sale (MPOS) solutions. The days where customers would patiently line up behind counters is nearing an end. They want a more personal, high-touch experience and new retail solutions should address all of these priorities.
Not only does mobility provide a more convenient shopping experience, but it increases the operational efficiency of the store by freeing up associates’ time and attention. Time not spent carrying around pen and paper to take inventory and create checklists or complete training on a computer in the back room, can be repurposed into delivering better service on the store floor. Mobile technology should empower the store associate, giving them more skills, more information and more tools to improve the in-store shopping experience.
-Anees Haidri, Retail Practice Lead, Zebra Technologies
For more information about retail technology solutions that are helping associates exceed customer expectations while boosting efficiency, productivity and profitability, please click here.