1 YOU’RE LOSING CUSTOMERS TO YOUR COMPETITORS
Every retailer longs for customer loyalty. They want customers to love their brand and to keep buying their products and services. But given the endless offline and online options available to consumers, is customer love for a brand enough for retailers’ bottom line? It may be time for retailers to start considering reciprocal loyalty.
“Reciprocal loyalty is a premium relationship benefiting both the brand and the consumer. It creates a relationship where consumers support brands through advocacy, purchase behavior and community participation. As a result, brands then appreciate consumers through investing in their experiences, providing valuable content and thanking consumers with rewards and benefits.”
(Source: Entrepreneur, “How to Dominate Your Competition With ‘Reciprocal’ Customer Loyalty”)
Retailers can achieve reciprocal loyalty once they build strong two-way relationships with their customers. How can retailers get started? A perfect place to leverage these relationships is at the store level. Mobile technology empowers sales associates by providing knowledge of the enterprise across channels on the store floor. This means that associates can establish one-to-one relationships that are highly personalized in product, service and outreach. Here’s an example that illustrates how an associate could use a mobile device to better serve a customer.
Anne enters a store and is greeted by Jessica, the sales associate. Jessica recognizes Anne from her last visit and pulls up her profile on her mobile device. Anne’s profile indicates that she adores blazers so Jessica opens up a digital catalogue to show Anne the new blazers that arrived this week. Anne spots a blazer on the screen that she likes along with a blouse that is recommended. Anne is thrilled that the blazer and blouse fit and makes the purchase.
You may be thinking that this is great. The retailer made a sale and has a happy customer. Although this is true, remember that the sale does not end here.
Two days after Jessica makes the sale, the store receives a shipment of jewelry. There’s a beautiful necklace that would match perfectly with the blazer and blouse that Jessica sold to Anne. She decides to send Anne a note by email and includes the picture of the necklace. Anne responds by asking Jessica to put it aside. The following day, Anne is back at the store and makes the purchase.
Ongoing engagement is crucial in keeping the associate-customer relationship active and mobile technology facilitates the task. Customers are looking for personalized experiences and if you can’t provide them with what they demand, they will find another retailer that can!
2 YOU’RE ABANDONING YOUR CUSTOMERS
The stock check experience is a classic example that illustrates customer abandonment. We have all experienced it. You spot a shirt you like, rush over to the closest sales associate asking for your size and then wait impatiently until she returns from the stock room. Once the sales associate returns empty handed, you then ask if she can verify whether the shirt is available in another store and then off she goes. Does something seem wrong in this scenario? The customer has not only been abandoned once, but twice! During this abandonment period, customers can become impatient, lose interest for the product and some may even leave the store.
The beauty of mobile technology is that it can be used anywhere and at any time. With the right mobile tools in place, sales associates can stay by the customer’s side and be more involved during the shopping experience. Rather than having to go to the stock room, inventory management solutions allow for easy access to product descriptions, images, alternative sizes and colors, and prices. Associates can check in-store availability of a product or outside availability across the organization without abandoning the customer. Best of all, mobile POS solutions even allow the associate to make the transaction directly on the spot. Remember that there isn’t any better place for an associate to be then right by the customer’s side!
3 YOUR CUSTOMERS OVERESTIMATE TRANSACTION TIMES
Many would say that time is one of our most scarce resources. Consumers are willing to pay for products and services that allow them to save time and they are constantly trying to find ways to be more efficient. For instance, some prefer online chat instead of using the phone when dealing with a customer service representative. Others order items online to avoid having to go in store. Some make complaints over social media instead of sending an email for an immediate response. Consumers expect things to be quick and this also applies to their in store shopping experience.
According to a study by the Association for Consumer Research, consumers overestimate transaction times. This misperception of time can have severe consequences for retailers. Since consumers expect speed and convenience, it comes to no surprise that they don’t enjoy waiting in lines. Retailers can deploy mobile POS for line busting and therefore reduce waiting time. A mobile platform including extensive POS functionality and real-time capabilities can enable retailers to process transactions from anywhere in the store. If needed, extra checkout counters can be added to empower sales associates with the tools they need to serve your customers better. With mobile POS, retailers can provide the level of service and experience that customers demand. Show your customers that you value their time by cutting those waiting lines!
Store experience, customer service, and sales associate education are extremely important in increasing store traffic, conversion, average transactions value and gross margin. Empower your sales associates with mobile technology and the right set of tools so that they can provide outstanding customer service and employ bestselling practices. Several capabilities to consider include inventory lookup, product browsing, accessible in-depth customer information (purchase history, preferences, wish lists) and mobile transactions.