Shoppers are fed up of being treated like strangers when they walk into a store. They’ve lapped up the personalised experiences created by online disruptors, and the efforts of bricks-and-mortar retailers now generally fall flat.
Research shows the businesses case for in-store personalisation is compelling:
- 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that knows them by name, recommends options based on past purchases or knows their preferences. [source]
- 63% of consumers are interested in personalised recommendations [source]
- 64% of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for benefits [source]
Now retailers need to install the network infrastructure necessary to unlock the path to personalisation. Here are four ways retailers can harness technology to deliver individually tailored customer experiences.
- Join the scan-and-go revolution
Some serious, big-name retailers are waking up to the potential of in-aisle payment apps that enable shoppers to simply pick up a purchase, pay on their mobile and leave the store without using a checkout. Grocery giants Tesco, Co-op and Sainsbury’s are among those trialling such apps. Scan-and-go tech isn’t just convenient and fast, it’s also a potential treasure trove of personalisation.
By linking a payment app to a retailer’s CRM it is possible to collect data about an individual’s purchasing behaviour and then use this to create tailored experiences. For example, users could be sent in-app push notifications if they haven’t bought a specific product, such as pet food, for a while and could be running low. They could also be given discount codes to tempt them to buy alternative products or simply to thank them for extended loyalty. Payment apps would also be a great way to incentivise customers and keep them up to date with their loyalty card status.
- Get personal with Wi-Fi connectivity
The fast track to personalisation in this channel is through so-called social Wi-Fi. When a customer signs into a Wi-Fi network using their social media account, such as Facebook, they automatically provide a data-rich insight into who they are, what they like, along with their name and contact information. This goldmine of personal data enables the retailer to deliver hyper-personalised experiences and target and re-target customers through email, surveys and their other social networks. In other words, they need never be a stranger again, benefiting from personalised landing pages to market new products through interactive campaigns.
Once retailers have the data necessary to identify customers when they’re logged on, they can begin to track real-time behaviour and tailor their engagement. For example, customers’ online preferences can be integrated with on-premises activity, opening up the possibility of a new world of data-driven personalised experiences.
Deloitte suggests that 75% of all consumers already have a Wi-Fi enabled device in their pocket, and this figure will rise to 90% by 2022. So, it’s a no-brainer that retailers should supercharge their in-store Wi-Fi networks, ensuring they’re cloud and social media compatible, to help meet shopper demands and expectations.
- Light the path to personalisation with beacons
Your valued customers never be treated like strangers again, thanks to beacon technology. These tiny, low-energy devices use Bluetooth technology to detect customers’ mobiles and send out personalised content while they’re in or near your store.
Push notifications or text messages can be sent to customers phones as they walk through specific departments of a store. They can also be sent as a customer arrives or leaves a premises, or if they simply walk past without entering. Customers must download an app to benefit from this personalised content, but the potential value makes it well worthwhile.
Several big-name brands have already found success with beacon deployments. US department store Lord & Taylor has seen a 60 percent engagement rate with customers as a result of the beacon technology they installed in one of their Boston locations.
The Swan Centre shopping mall, Hampshire, was among the first UK locations to use beacon technology with brands including WHSmith, Game and Nandos using the devices to deliver targeted ads to shoppers’ mobile phones.
Beacon technology also provides data-rich back-office consumer Intelligence, such as how long customers stopped at personalised beacon-enabled displays, the relationship between beacon-enabled sales offers and actual sales, and similar information that can be analysed to adjust offers as well as staffing and placement of sales associates. These insights enable retailers to drive better revenue and profits from brick-and-mortar locations.
- Clienteling: know your customer better
Back in the glory days of bricks-and-mortar retail, shopkeepers knew their customers personally. Legend has it, they would greet them by name and remember their spending habits and purchases in encyclopaedic detail. That may be impossible to achieve at scale in modern retail, but that’s where clienteling comes in. Clienteling harnesses technology to give any assistant at any store a real-time, 360 view of their customer. The ultimate aim is to find the right product or service at the right price point and ensure the customer feels good about their purchase long after they leave the premises. The benefits for the retailer include higher conversion rates, a higher rate of repeat business, increased customer advocacy and great opportunities to upsell and cross sell highly relevant products and services. In practice, clienteling involves equipping a customer-facing sales team member with an internet enabled device, such as a tablet, which is linked to the following retailer systems to provide actionable insights:
Customer relationship management (CRM) system. This gives the employee a real-time view of the customer’s profile, including purchase history, average order value, online browsing habits, likes and dislikes, wish lists and their loyalty status. Based on this granular information sales staff can make highly personalised recommendations, nurturing their customer to achieve a sale.
Inventory management system. Once the store associate is in a position to share personalised recommendations, a real-time view of the inventory will show them if the item is in stock on the premises, or if it is available at another store or distribution hub. The customer will then have options of how and when they can complete their purchase – for example buy instore, take away or order and have it delivered.
Mobile Epos. The final stage of clienteling is taking payment quickly and conveniently using mobile Epos, enabling the customer to avoid queues at checkout.
To witness slick clienteling in action you need only visit an Apple store. While Apple has a dominant online presence, a trip to their physical store is still something to look forward to thanks to their mastery of the three stages outlined above.
Find out more about the benefits of retail personalisation and discover if your digital network is robust enough to deliver. Read our latest report now for more information.
Vodat offers the solutions to ensure your brand is fully connected and your network is scalable, flexible and can be fully managed with 24/7 service and technical support. Get in touch to find out how we can help you protect your business.