Retailers, take note: Contrary to what you may believe, customers do want to hear from you—providing that whatever information is being communicated to them is relevant and personalized to suit their needs. Here’s how five different retail technology trends can be used to connect with and engage consumers.
Data analysis tools. Many retailers are already leveraging point-of-sale and other data analysis tools, as well as information gleaned from social media, to create customized offers based on consumers’ previous purchases, affinity for a particular product, narrow demographic group (e.g. Hispanics), or the like. These offers are then conveyed through email and text to individuals who have “opted in” to receive them, with retail technology (e.g., a point-of-sale software modules) as a conduit.
Mobile devices. Another approach entails equipping store associates with mobile devices like tablets that they can use not only to answer shoppers’ questions about merchandise, share product details, and confirm inventory availability, but also to transmit relevant product information to customers’ smartphones and tablets as they peruse store aisles. Remember, the need to research purchases before making a buying decision comprises one of consumers’ key reasons for using smartphones in-store. Most welcome any additional information merchants can give them, with retail technology at the core.
Also on the mobile device front, some retailers are generating bar codes and QR codes and affixing them to some merchandise displays. Customers are encouraged to scan these codes with their smartphones for more information about particular products while perusing the aisles.
Digital signage and kiosks. Retailers in many verticals utilize digital signage to showcase promotional offers in-store, as well as to share everything from “how-to” videos to suggestive selling messages.
In a similar retail technology vein, interactive kiosks can be deployed to open lines of communication with customers. Beyond accepting merchandise orders, retailers employ kiosks in guided selling applications and to distribute coupons or other promotional vehicles based on information entered into the system by an individual shopper or obtained through a swipe of the patron’s loyalty card.
Location technology. Mobile apps are being location-enabled to provide shoppers with specific alerts and triggers that either encourage them to visit a physical store or engage them while they are already in it. iBeacon is a good example. With this technology, retailers can instantly find out in which departments and areas of their stores customers are browsing, then send them information about the products they are currently viewing. Some apps “pick up” on the fact that an individual consumer is in close proximity of a store and send a message to that person’s smartphone, inviting him or her to stop in to see new merchandise, take advantage of a special offer, or the like.
eReceipts technology. Embedded in the point-of-sale system, eReceipt technology is used to e-mail electronic receipts to customers as they complete their transactions and to build customer databases for communication purposes. Retailers have begun to use eReceipts to not only learn more about their customers, but also to recommend additional purchases, suggest that consumer’s sign up for their customer loyalty program, and solicit feedback.
By leveraging these retail technology trends, retailers can stay one step ahead of the competition and maximize customer engagement.