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How brick-and-mortar retailers can deliver a better experience

January 14, 2019

How brick-and-mortar retailers can deliver a better experience
Today you’d be hard-pressed to find one of your retailers who isn’t being negatively impacted by online competitors like Amazon. While the goal for retailers should be to move to an omnichannel business model, making a wholesale change isn’t feasible for most. Thankfully, it’s possible to roll out aspects of omnichannel as time and budget permits. Take, for instance, these powerful ways to create a more personalized in-store shopping experience.

Loyalty programs
A realistic first step into the world of personalized shopping experiences is a loyalty program. Many leading POS software platforms will include or can easily integrate with a loyalty application. However, we know that most retailers aren’t taking full advantage. With one in place, customers can be encouraged to enroll during checkout or prior to shopping via targeted social media ads.

Targeted marketing
Once a customer is a part of the loyalty program, the retailer can track their purchase history and create powerful email, SMS and remarketing campaigns designed to give customers discounts and a heads up concerning items that match their past interests.

Enable and educate store associates
At the same time, many retailers are now arming store associates with mobile devices, enabling them to interact with customers on a personal level. With the devices acting as a mobile POS, associates can search for items, check inventory, and make recommendations based on past purchases.

Branded apps, guest Wi-Fi, digital signage
While loyalty programs can be very effective, retailers can achieve even deeper engagement by tapping into the mobile devices that customers carry themselves. This can be accomplished a few different ways with varying results. The most ambitious solution involves creating a branded shopping app for the retailer. This would give customers more control over their shopping and deliver valuable data the retailer can use to enhance the shopping experience. The app can also use NFC (a communications protocol built into all modern phones) to identify the customer in-store, allowing store associates to add a personal touch to interactions. NFC can also drive targeted digital signage throughout the store.

Unfortunately, a custom app isn’t in most retailers’ budgets. Another option is for the retailer to offer guest Wi-Fi that requires a customer to register their contact information before using. With that information, the retailer can enroll the customer into its loyalty program. Additionally, once a customer is connected to the Wi-Fi, it’s possible to estimate their position in-store and drive targeted digital signage in the shopper’s immediate vicinity.

Regardless of your customer and its budget, it’s no longer acceptable not to be taking at least some action to better engage with customers. As we’ve outlined, there are many options available today. Fortunately, none overlap so your customer can start small and work toward more complex and costly solutions in the future. It’s up to you to help guide the way.

For more information on creating effective customer experience solutions, contact Ingram Micro’s DC/POS expert, Daryl Schuster.