You can’t argue with the notion that widening your digital capability in your store will provide you with the chance to increase customer spend and loyalty. But what to prioritise? The choice of technologies and providers can feel overwhelming.
When faced with too much choice it’s easier to not choose at all, rather than risk making unwise decisions that leave you shackled to the wrong, expensive investment. But sticking your head in the sand will just slow or halt business growth, and give your customers a poor experience compared to your competitors.
So, how do you identify which in-store technology will give you greatest value? Here are four suggestions that might help narrow the field down and save you spending hours on research.
1 – Your store network
This is the foundation for all digital interaction in the store. Without a robust, scalable store network, no technologies will run efficiently, wasting any further investment you make.
When choosing a network provider you need to test their claims of reliability – how many outages they report – as well as their security track record. You don’t want to risk customer data breaches.
Look for a managed data network, tailored to the needs of retailers, especially if you have complex, multiple sites. You’ll also want speed – how fast can their network carry your data?
A robust network gives you fast-running technologies and will improve your business productivity and customer service. Budget is key, of course. Look for fixed cost, as you don’t want painful surprises. And find a provider that isn’t tied to one telecoms company, so can shop around to offer you the best bandwidth for your budget.
2 – In-store Wi-Fi
It’s surprising how many retailers still don’t have a Wi-Fi solution that lets staff and customers connect quickly and securely. Having no public Wi-Fi compromises your shopper experience – they can’t connect to the internet while in your store, or slow speeds frustrate them. For shoppers inspired to check out your catalogue or compare customer reviews that’s a big service fail.
Even those retailers that offer Wi-Fi aren’t always maximising the marketing and analytics possibilities it offers to increase customer value. Imagine a customer walking in to your store, picking up their phone to be welcomed instantly, offered additional purchase choices or a bespoke offer, over a high performance network.
Not being able to use fast and secure in-store Wi-Fi will not only deter shoppers, it can result in more customer demands placed on already time-pressured sales people.
3 – Mobile point of sale technology
We know that nearly half of all retailers are most likely to adopt mobile platforms to cater for rapidly changing customer expectations. Where are you on that journey?
With the network foundation in place to run store technology quickly and securely, you can extend brand and product information, ordering capabilities, and payment options on mobile point of sale.
Additionally, store associates can give customers that exclusive, personalised offer, anywhere in the store. It’s a fast and powerful service that means everyone wins.
4 – Payments technology
The payment experience is your last point of contact in the customer purchasing journey. It can make or break their overall experience and affect your customer’s decision to return.
It’s important that you optimise the payment process to give a seamless purchasing experience and make sure customers leave feeling satisfied.
The key to this is offering customers a range of quick, secure payment options, including emerging technologies like mobile payments. Contactless is another method that you need to prioritise; if you’re not up to speed, you’ll need to know that all European merchants will be required to offer contactless payments by 2020.
With both payments and mobile point of sale, make sure staff are well-trained in the technology to see maximum benefit. However, you’ll experience none of the effectiveness or value without your strong foundation: your robust and reliable network.
Vodat International provides market-leading network solutions for the retail industry. Get in touch with our team today to find how our network can boost your customer value.