Retailers Look to Wireless Solutions to Boost Productivity and Customer Service
Today's consumer is more comfortable than ever making purchases online, navigating a site and buying without ever speaking with a sales associate. In order for brick-and-mortar stores to compete in this self-service economy, retailers need to be aware of several trends that are taking shape. For example, self-checkouts are popping up to enable customers to take matters into their own hands. We're also seeing more in-store kiosks where buyers can get information quickly without having to track down a salesperson. Lastly, smart retailers are adopting in-store mobile devices for better communication and customer service. All of these innovations help to empower the consumer on their path to purchase.
There's nothing more frustrating than going into a store, locating a salesperson only to have them not be able to answer a product question. In some cases, retail employees turn to their personal mobile devices to seek information, but there's a better way. As tablets, online shopping and self-service begin to monopolize the retail experience, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers need to focus their technology enhancements in impactful areas like customer service and experience. With this in mind, front-line sales staff should be provided with the tools necessary to handle all customer inquiries and have inventory information at their fingertips. Purpose-built wireless communication solutions can help change the pace of in-store communication to give store staff and customers instant results.
Retailers using mobile solutions that offer clear, direct, real-time communication amongst employees at all times ensure consumers have a great shopping experience. Here are a few ways that in-store devices are making retailers smart and agile.
In-Store Communication Gets Faster
With the right technology in place, retailers can optimize store operations to access information in real time. Managers on the sales floor can get responses from stockers and suppliers instantly, allowing them to focus on customer needs and other crucial issues. Additionally, if a store manager needs to communicate with district management quickly, they can use secure text messaging over the store's Wi-Fi network.
Timely communication helps retailers increase employee productivity and improve store operations. This not only helps associates fulfill orders more efficiently, but it also guarantees that your customers’ needs can be met at all times, regardless of the situation.
Customer Service Improves
Having the right technology in place is critical to meeting customer expectations. Some in-store devices offer barcode scanners for on-the-spot inventory and price checks. This allows employees to get real-time info about the location of the product without ever leaving the customer's side. It also helps provide answers to the most common or technical product questions. Retail technology can help provide an increased level of customer satisfaction by improving response times while staying engaged with customers.
In today's omnichannel world, with new purchasing options and growing expectations from consumers, retailers are challenged more than ever to meet demands faster and more efficiently.
Personal Mobile Devices Replaced
Earlier it was noted that without store-provided mobile devices, employees might take matters into their own hands and use personal mobile devices to get information or communicate with their managers and suppliers. It's important to understand that these types of devices aren't made for the demands of the retail world. In-store devices are more durable and have easy-to-use handsets that offer clear communication even in loud environments. Furthermore, they leverage existing technology, including the facility's call control platform and Wi-Fi infrastructure, which keeps customer info more secure and allows for faster data transmission.
I expect to see retailers adopt in-store technology at even greater speeds in 2015 to keep customers coming back.
Mike Lanciloti is vice president, global marketing and product management for Spectralink, a provider of mobility management and enterprise mobility solutions.