in Australia is done in bricks and mortar stores – so what is your business doing to boost revenue in store?
I speak to retailers across Australia and one of the things I often ask them to consider is their use of technology, to win greater loyalty and sales when customers enter their stores.
With a growth rate of around 32 per cent per annum online shopping is certainly something more Australian consumers are trying – and this is having an impact on what they expect when they visit a store.
So how do you deliver a personalised experience that matches the ease of point-and-click and compels your customers to visit your store and buy more? I think there are four points retailers need to get right.
Make fulfilment easier
Ultimately, retailers hope that every customer visit leads to a sale. What they experience here makes or breaks a purchase. Perhaps the most frustrating thing in retail is going to a store, struggling to find a sales person and then having to walk around the shop to find the cashier – only to then be stuck in a long queue, waiting to pay.
Successful retailers are completely changing typical in-store dynamics. Why do sales need to be bound to a counter? Using flexible options, such as a mobile POS app available on an iPad or iPhone, a sales person can serve a customer and complete a purchase from anywhere across the store.
This also empowers the sales person to offer greater value. They can add customers to loyalty programs, see the sales history of specific customers – and with appropriate permissions, grant discounts and special offers. They can also process quick exchanges and refunds, all from any location in the store.
Set the scene for a memorable experience
With high rents, many retailers want to maximise their available space, but a large counter to house bulky POS machines can be cumbersome. Removing this barrier immediately creates fresh possibilities for store design. Valuable floor-space can now be devoted to more product displays. Research shows that customers appreciate a relaxed, open concept with the space and opportunity to look at and touch the product – or try it on, something you can’t do online!
With high staff turnover, retailers often need to hire staff quickly, especially in periods of higher demand. Training staff to use complex systems can escalate to a high cost – and skipping the training can result in errors and poor service. A POS application that is based on a familiar, highly intuitive interface requires virtually no training. A new sales person merely logs-in and they’re instantly able to make sales.
Knowledge seals the deal
When they visit a store, customers often want to know more about particular items, including details about availability. With a mobile POS, a sales person can instantly query stock lists, avoiding the need to return to a sales counter, or having to walk to a storage area to check. If it’s not available, they can even order it from another store. All this saves valuable time and enables sales people to focus on what they do best – selling more products.
This also delivers an enhanced customer experience. No one is waiting for answers about stock and the sale can be finalised with integrated payment options on the move – with the receipt emailed to the customer for greater convenience.
Sell anytime, anywhere
Many retailers experience outages which have a devastating impact on retail trade and irrevocably damage your brand. A POS solution that works without power and connection to the internet ensures your business is always ready to serve customers.
Sometimes your shop can travel to the customer. Whether your business has pop-up stores or an on-the-road sales team, they should have access to the same information that an in-store sales person has. With the appropriate and best-of-breed sales app, they check stock levels, make sales and add customers – and everything can be synchronised once they’re back in the office, or somewhere with a mobile internet connection, in the case of a 4G device.
Remaining competitive in a world where online retail is making inroads means creating moments that customers remember. It also means making that experience something customers will want to return to, time and time again. Bricks and mortar stores must evolve to take advantage of innovative and powerful technology. I’d like you to think about how your business is investing in strengthening your most lucrative channel. In that answer lies your opportunity to increase loyalty and sales.
‘NAB Online Retail Sales Index Monthly Report’, NAB, November 2017
‘8501.0 – Retail Trade, Australia’, Australian Bureau of Statistics, October 2017