In the retail industry, customer experience has always been important, but it's now vital to drive customer satisfaction, repeat business and store profitability. Improving customer satisfaction and dwell time drives more items in the shopping cart and enhanced profitability. There’s a growing demand for new technologies to help retailers improve operations, develop stronger connections with today’s digital customers, and improve revenue. While many stores are looking to enhance their customers’ experiences and profits through intuitive connected devices and services, there's a risk of losing customers (and profit) when shoppers prefer a personal interaction.
This raises a question: How do you enhance the connected store experience without neglecting human interaction? The answer lies in enhancing the consumer’s in-store experience with technology that frees up sales associates to deliver more personalized customer service that allows for upselling and building sales. This personalized customer service creates more dwell time in-store, greater customer satisfaction and increased store profits.
Let's Look at Today’s Retail Transformation
Recently, Jérémy Dallois, CEO of ReachFive, explained that the future of retail lies in the "digitalization of the supply chain and the customer experience.” This sentiment seems widely shared in the sector.
Retailers have progressed from applying technology for loss prevention to new business models that promote profitability and convenience of connected services for customers. It’s evident that the retail sector is becoming a laboratory of innovations evaluating the return on investment potential of breakthrough technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and big data to deliver a new level of benefits to the consumer and insights for upsell profits for the retailer.
Engaging customers beyond the store begins with a digital e-commerce experience at home or online. Let's take Monoprix, for example, which is leveraging voice control (conversational commerce) technologies by offering its customers the chance to dictate their shopping list via their connected speaker.
Leveraging Technology to Deliver Personalized Customer Service
Some retailers aren't ready to bear the costs and expertise necessary to exploit the full potential of emerging RF/RFID-connected store technologies. Loss prevention today is a standard practice for containing store shrink, but how has technology been applied in-store or via smart devices to enhance the customer purchase experience? Cultural shifts due to mobile devices and e-commerce have changed the retail landscape, and retailers need to adapt to take advantage of how consumers prefer to engage with brands and make purchases. Consider the following:
- 72 percent of shoppers prefer to have an item in their hand before buying it;
- only 29 percent appreciate having a personal assistant to do their shopping; and
- 49 percent of shoppers said they would feel more comfortable if interactions with AI systems were more personal.
Retailers have the opportunity to integrate technologies that aid consumers, take into account their unique preferences and deliver a personalized shopping experience. This is where enhanced customer dwell time (ECDT) comes into play, albeit with a few nuances that may not be familiar.
Increased Dwell Time In-Store Has Direct Correlation to Enhanced Profitability
What exactly is increased dwell time? It’s the concept of trying to prolong a shopper's time in your store by interacting with them, either via technology that personalizes the experience or frees up sales associates to better serve and upsell the customer. Either way, increased dwell time typically results in more items going into the shopping cart. More items, more sales, more profits per customer.
Retailers and Consumers Benefit From ECDT
- Efficiency: Vendors delivering product portfolios comprised of intelligent RF/RFID tagging, sensors, connected AI and machine learning retail devices, and near real-time IoT supply chain and inventory management offer transformational solutions to retailers for personalizing the retail experience, optimizing shelf replenishment and engaging with customers to enhance dwell time.
- Transparency: Promote privacy and security of personal data, enhancing consumer confidence in engaging with connected devices to make omnichannel strategies healthy, online and offline.
- Experience: Leverage connected devices and RF/RFID technologies to create innovative in-store experiences aligned with brand DNA and today’s digital consumer culture. Make technologies more intuitive and personal, creating a Retail Comfort Zone™ where consumers can dwell, aspire and connect with all the brand has to offer.
ECDT is a smart retail strategy linked to smart devices. In today’s digitally connected world, consumers start the shopping journey outside the store, yet seek new in-store experiences beyond those provided by the simple purchase of the brand's products and services.
The art of retail seduction begins outside the store, with aspirational branding and connecting with digital consumers. Whether today’s brand stakeholders identify consumer’s brand preferences via mobile device, AI or in-store by sensors that reference RFID-tagged products taken into the fitting room, the opportunity to increase the size of the shopping cart can be heavily influenced by connected devices that personalize and enhance the consumer shopping experience. Enhanced shopping pleasure results in prolonged consumer dwell time and increased sales.
Patrice Bahuaud is the vice president EMEA channel, and Andrew Ziegler is marketing director, both of Checkpoint Systems, the only vertically integrated RF/RFID solution provider for retail.
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