Despite reports that brick-and-mortar retail’s day is done, studies show people overwhelmingly prefer to shop in physical stores. But today’s real-world retailers must provide the kind of optimized experiences shoppers have become accustomed to online. Fortunately, there are a number of innovative technologies that can help you modernize your retail operations and provide a customer experience to rival even the biggest brands.
1. Get bullish for beacons
Beacons are a great way deepen customer engagement with your retail store. Mounted to walls or ceilings, these small wireless devices can send relevant messages via Bluetooth to nearby smartphones that have the right app. Retailers have used them to reach out to shoppers in-store, pushing everything everything from welcome messages when they walk in the door to exclusive offers and recommendations as they browse the aisles. They can also be used to shepherd shoppers through the store and ensure they find the items they’re looking for.
2. Take the transaction to the customer
Nothing makes shoppers abandon purchases faster than long, slow checkout lines. Implementing a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system—where tablet-toting sales associates bring the point of purchase to the customer—is one of the easiest ways to speed up the checkout process. But the strategy has benefits beyond line busting. Armed with a mobile POS device, staff can check item pricing and inventory for a shopper without leaving the sales floor. The ability to check out customers in the aisles also gives retail staff more opportunity to make product recommendations, employ up-sell strategies, and generally provide more personalized customer service.
3. Streamline scheduling with software
Shift-scheduling challenges can quickly undermine the best customer service strategy. Managers can overcome the most common of these by switching to cloud-based employee scheduling software. These applications easily match available employees with open shifts, alert you to scheduling conflicts, and allow you to turn schedules into templates for easy reuse. They also empower employees to pick up, drop, or swap shifts with or without manager approval. And you can keep them informed and accountable with scheduling notifications via email, text, or in-app messages.
4. Embrace analytics
Who are your customers? How often do they come in? What products are they most interested in? You can answer these and other questions by using a retail analytics solution. These programs analyze data collected from video camera feeds, beacons, Wi-Fi, POS systems and other components of your store’s infrastructure and organize and present it in easily digestible reports and graphs. With the insights you gain, you can improve everything from your marketing to your staffing strategies to provide a more satisfying customer experience.
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