As customers return to in-store shopping, look for opportunities to build upon the innovations of the past year by considering a digital transformation. You’ll improve the customer experience, you’ll be helping your store associates who might have switched jobs during the pandemic, and you’ll also boost your bottom line.
Omnichannel is here to stay
Many customers turned to online shopping during the pandemic. Now, as they return to in-store shopping, many are looking for a better experience than they became accustomed to when shopping online. Omnichannel remains a priority, and retailers who can reduce friction at all stages of the shopping journey and offer flexibility in purchasing options will be more likely to succeed. For example , as customers continue to look for safe ways to shop, curbside pickup is likely to remain popular.
Technology delivers a better customer experience
Technology is making it possible for retailers to deliver a personalized customer experience. Many retailers are adopting clienteling, linking associates to customers through a platform or an app. Giving associates the tools to manage customer contact details and reach out has been essential. During the lockdowns, it enabled online sales. Now that stores are reopening, it’s helping rebuild the in-person customer relationships that retailers are looking for.
Experienced employees have long kept their own “black books,” filled with customer insights and information, and when employees left, this data was lost. When new technology is used to store customer information, all employees have an opportunity to deliver a better customer experience, and the store has a better chance of retaining employees—as long as the tech is easy to use.
Supporting store associates with technology
To be effective, technology needs to be mobile-enabled and as easy to use as the mobile devices the associate already uses every day. Now, with retail workers increasingly leaving the industry and looking for opportunities elsewhere, new technologies are being used to institutionalize knowledge and processes, making it easier to onboard new associates and keep them in their roles for longer.
Retail tech spending is forecast to hit record levels in 2021, and helpful technology will certainly help reduce employee churn. So, what technology are retailers—and their employees—looking for? The pandemic amplified the need to share information quickly and efficiently, especially between employers and employees. Mobile platforms are a great way to do that, with tools that consolidate employee communications, task management, scheduling, and training.
The pandemic also taught retailers that having the right products on shelves at the right time is essential. As a result, many retailers are looking to adopt shelf-tracking tech. These tools, which monitor real-time stock levels as well as customer behavior, send automated alerts to staff so they can keep products stocked and ensure customers are satisfied. And as stores continue to act as omnichannel hubs, shelf-tracking technology makes it easier for retailers to fulfill eCommerce orders.
Shelf-tracking tech also makes it easier for employees to merchandize effectively, which is especially important when new promotions are launched: rather than consulting a paper schematic which includes products that aren’t available, shelf-tracking tech automatically adjusts to show stock on hand in the store, letting employees optimize their products for the space available.
Purchasing the right technology will help your brick-and-mortar store recover from the pandemic and will bring more happy customers back from eCommerce, ready to enjoy the benefits of in-person shopping again. Want to learn more about how technology can help your associates deliver great customer experiences?
The Store of the Future is now. We’ve curated some of the best resources that dive deeper into why hyper-personalization is the future of retail.
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