The power shift
There’s been a shift of power in retail and hospitality over the last few years – gone are the days of a retailer or venue determining what service they are going to provide, with a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude towards their customers.
With a rapidly fragmenting market, new online and overseas entrants, and competition greater than ever before, retailers and hospitality providers can no longer dictate the level and type of customer experience they will provide. Customers are the ones doing the dictating – they are smarter and more demanding than ever before.
Experience drives loyalty
Research clearly shows us that one of the greatest drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty - and ultimately of course, revenue – is experience. Customer experience is the holy grail of retail and hospitality. Switched on retailers and hospitality providers ensure that everything they do is aimed at providing a positive and memorable experience for their customers.
The prize for getting this right is worth winning – happy loyal customers spend more with every visit to store or restaurant. But – beware – it only takes three bad experiences to undo all the good work and to lose the customer’s loyalty.
For forward thinking businesses, technology has opened a whole range of opportunities to enhance the customer experience. Here are Sektor's take on the top 5:
Mobile customer assistance
One of the things that customers value about coming into a store is the help and advice of staff. Whether they’re looking for product specifications, delivery times or help in putting together the accessories to complete an outfit, customers look to the staff for guidance, and the response forms and important part of their shopping experience. Mobile technology puts all the necessary information into the hands of store staff, so that they can assist the customer on the spot and without leaving their side.
Nothing is more frustrating for a shopper than queuing to pay. They’ve chosen to come into the store, selected their goods and are willing to hand over their money. Then the store makes them wait in line. Not a good experience. Staff with mobile POS can help customers move from purchase decision to purchase completion quickly and efficiently, from anywhere in the store.
Rapid, on-the-spot payment options
Whether customers are paying at a mobile POS or a traditional checkout, they want rapid payment options – from contactless cards to digital wallets. In restaurants, they want to be able to reduce all the to-ing and fro-ing and pay with a single visit to the table. Technology that enables rapid payment, with digital receipts, can significantly enhance the consumer’s experience.
Part of a positive shopping experience is feeling like the store knows you and your preferences - customers love to feel understood. Technology plays a part here too – helping the retailer to capture a really clear picture of shopper habits, which enables them to them tailor their store and their offers to the way their customers want to shop.
90% of consumers use smartphones while shopping and 76% are willing to engage with offers in real-time. So retailers who encourage their shoppers to register and use the store network have a whole new way to engage with customers through their mobile devices. Knowing that the shopper is in the store, they can send personalised offers and promotions to enhance the customer experience and boost sales.