Divide and Conquer
Increasing revenue with a multichannel approach
By Justin Coward, MD EMEA, VeriFone GlobalBay
Technology is giving the consumer greater powers of analysis for products and increased choice as to how and where the transaction is done. The challenge for retailers is to implement new solutions that maximise the opportunity for transactions to take place when the consumer is in or out of the shop, whilst also protecting the value of the investment in legacy systems.
The primary focus of multichannel technology solutions to date has been the exploitation of the opportunities presented by the online channel. All retailers, including ones that have a physical shop, have been working hard to maximise the potential of the ‘click to buy’ consumer. More recently, retailers with stores have started to explore the revenue opportunities that new mobile solutions provide to interconnect ecommerce and in-store consumer interaction. Providing solutions like click out of store and pick up in-store and click in-store for home delivery.
Mobile savvy consumers are looking for a seamless interchange between the online shopping experience and in-store technology. They are not yet ready to abandon the physical shopping experience as there is still a natural desire to be able touch and feel products or check out the texture of clothing for example. In-store mobile technology can help complete the sale and increase the value of the transaction.
Store owners can utilise enthusiasm for these devices to display compelling content for store customers and to engage their interest.
Mobile Point of Sale
Mobile point of sale is all about flexibility for stores and for customers and making sure that the ‘sale’ does not get away. Most stores face times when the queue for the checkout becomes unreasonable and customers start walking away from making a purchase. Mobile points of sale can solve this problem. We have created a solution designed around an Apple iPod touch, which can be deployed to store staff for those ‘queue busting’ times. The device incorporates a bar code reader for scanning and is NFC compliant. Payments can be processed using the chip and pin facility or swipe. Receipts can be printed on a suitable wireless printer. The device can be used for authenticating customers who have reserved online, handling online returns and taking payment for an online initiated transaction.
This solution integrates the online shopping experience with the in store experience. Customers can create wish lists at home and then look them up on iPads once they are in the store. The customer can also place orders for non stock items to be delivered to home later. The mobility of this solution allows the shop staff to use the iPad as a tool to up sell additional items to the customer. Store associates can access customer information online and encourage customers to utilise current store promotions, all from one easy to use device. Stock can be checked without leaving the customer to search the stock room, removing the opportunity for the customer to leave.
The critical issue for the retailer is to ensure that the transaction takes place and that the store does not just become a shop front for anybody else selling the product cheaper.
Engaging the customer with in-store technology is part of the battle ground for modern retailers. If the customer continues to use their own smartphone whilst shopping, it is highly likely that they will engage in price comparison activity. It is highly unlikely that they will complete a sale on their own device. Seamlessly managing the transition from the customer’s smart phone to the store devices is key.
Using the iPad as a kiosk in store is only half the story. As well as having the ability to rapidly deploy new videos and content to all devices irrespective of their location, it is critical that customers can order non-stock items and complete a transaction whilst in the store.
Return on Investment
All retail projects in the current economic climate are being scrutinised to ensure that they are delivering acceptable levels of ROI. By ensuring that mobile applications interface with retail back end systems, we not only minimise the cost of implementing solutions, but also enhance the speed at which applications can be rolled out. Protecting legacy investments is key to ensuring that the new mobile solutions deliver the ROI expected by the retail industry.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012