Retail has long been challenged with keeping pace with technology solutions that have become mainstream for consumers and other industries. Some may point toward the complexity of storewide systems, while others identify organisational and budget restraints.
As a retailer, you’re in the midst of a technological revolution that is transforming the business of selling products and goods. The new retailing model — the connected shopper’s ability to shop online and instore often with the assistance of a smart device — is largely based on technology; specifically, wireless technology.
Retailers need to find innovative ways to leverage their wireless networks to deliver compelling experiences for connected shoppers. Zebra has been a respected technology company in the retail industry for many years, making its name in its range of inventory management products and services. The company explores the key trends shaping the unique needs and demands of the wireless network in retail today.
Trends #1 – Increasing importance of mobile access
When customers want to use instore applications, surveys reveal that almost 40 per cent of the time they can’t due to poor connectivity. There are also significant coverage holes in up to 90 per cent of certain popular store formats.
When a connected shopper can’t get a connection in the store, retailers are in danger of losing more than just that sale. They’re in danger of losing loyal shoppers. In today’s connected world, it’s difficult to deliver an exciting, satisfying shopping experience without internet access.
Ensuring that connected shoppers have storewide network access is fundamental to multichannel retailing success.
Trend #2 – Enabling personalisation through analytics
77 per cent of retailers plan to connect shoppers’ online activities with what they do in the store. As the retail industry searches for solutions to its challenges, a growing relationship is emerging between IT and marketing.
As retailers add customers to their loyalty programs and provide them with free guest access on their sales floor, they can learn valuable information about them. Demographics, of course, but also crucial buying behaviours. Equally important, the information is the foundation of the personalisation of your customers’ shopping experiences – on your website, on their mobile devices, in your store.
Trend #3 – Emergence of location
47 per cent of retailers wish they could receive an alert when a loyal customer walks through the door. Location functionality starts with sophisticated presence services that help detect customers as they near or enter the retail store. This knowledge allows retailers to create rules-based push programs – welcome messages, daily or hourly specials, coupons based on the customers’ shopping preference.
Trend #4 – Differentiating the sales experience
75 per cent of retailers plan to customise the store visit by 2017. For most retailers, the key to increasing differentiation is using powerful new customer-driven applications that help enhance and optimise the sales floor experience. These include applications that integrate data, voice and video capture technologies. Internal service-driven applications that empower sales associates are also critical to creating sales experiences that are pleasant, simple, satisfying and fast.
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