Retail News & insights

Based on our attitudes towards future tech, Australia is one of the top three countries in the world ready for an omnichannel revolution. This is great news for brick-and-mortar retailers who are looking to better integrate all of their channels, or those looking to reclaim territory from purely online retailers. But in all the excitement surrounding the revenue potential of omnichannel, one key factor has been overlooked – personalising the customer experience. Hiring good staff is essential to this, of course, but technology has its role to play too, and when used correctly can turn even the best staff member into a true personalised sales champion.

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Zebra’s 2017 Retail Vision Study suggests that by 2021, 75% of stores will not only know when specific customers are in the store, but will also be able to customise the store visit for them. Providing a personalised experience enables easier upselling, increased revenue and an overall more satisfied customer. Online retailers have tended to be better at this, for purely logistical reasons; the ability to capture data based on browsing and purchase history means that plenty of the work is already done for them. It’s trickier to do in a retail environment, but not impossible.

Membership cards are a relatively simple means to do this – if in-store staff are able to see customer’s purchasing history, they are able to upsell on the spot; additionally, the data captured also allows for follow up emails to be sent to the customer. POS solutions can also play a role; if your barcodes are linked to similar or related items, a simple scan can lead to upselling opportunities. If the customer’s not interested, the staff member can mark unwanted items accordingly, training the system to provide other, more appropriate recommendations in future too.

There are more sophisticated means as well. With technology, it’s easy to upsell customers on items they like which may not even be in-store. “Smart” devices that are powered with sensors and network connectivity can collect and exchange data, weaving unprecedented business intelligence throughout the retail ecosystem, from the warehouse to the store floor. Nearly 70% of retail decision makers are ready to make changes required to adopt IoT.

In fictional settings, we’ve already seen the idea taken to its logical extreme. The 2002 film Minority Report shows Tom Cruise’s character walk into a shopping centre; immediately he’s shown a variety of ads targeted specifically to him, based on his retinal signature. This is a level of personalised sales that isn’t currently possible, and to be honest, would probably be quite creepy in real life, but it’s nonetheless demonstrative that customers don’t mind being sold to, as long as you can provide them with relevant products. Provide the personalised experience and keep a customer for life.

Get the inside track on retailers’ top investment goals to survive and thrive in a multichannel shopping landscape – download your copy of Zebra’s 2017 Retail Vision Study today:

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