Anatomy of Customer Identification
The identification of a customer can play a big role in retaining as well as gaining new business. Although several stores have adopted technologies conducive to identifying and tracking customers, they have failed to utilize them for attracting more footfalls and boosting sales.
Additionally, stores can have kiosks /self-service stations where shoppers use their NFC-enabled gadgets to identify themselves. Loyalty cards embedded with NFC tags and Bluetooth–enabled devices can enable customer identifi cation and tracking as well. Retailers can also recognize customers when they seek product information by looking up Barcode/QR codes on aisles/products on the store app. For instance, when a shopper logs on to a store’s Wi-Fi network, his position can be pinpointed using Wi-Fi Triangulation methodologies. Third party software development kits (SDKs) can be used to create multiple solutions for accurate pinpointing. Also, location-based services and applications (on mobile phones) typically rely on GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to trace customer location. Further, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags on products facilitate tracking of every product in the shopper’s cart.
Retailers can also pick on a combination of all the above technologies to build a comprehensive customer identifi cation and tracking mechanism. The seamless integration of the various platforms will surely enhance customer experience by several notches.
Delivering an Enhanced Customer Experience
Leveraging in-store devices to increase customer touchpoints
Retailers can use the existing devices available in-store to provide an enhanced customer experience. Devices like POS, Kiosks and Digital Signage along with the customers mobile device can be used as touchpoints by retailers for upselling opportunities. The in-store devices when interacting seamlessly can provide customers a superior shopping experience and offer a new level of personalization.
E.g When a shopper walks in to a store and identifi es himself at a kiosk, the kiosk can deliver personalized coupons to the customers mobile device instantly. These coupons along with the customers shopping list will be presented on a map to the customer with walking directions to the various aisles. The coupons are also ‘known’ to the POS devices and can be automatically applied to the customers shopping card during the checkout process. As the customer checkouts, the digital display at the checkout terminals can showcase ads relevant to the customers purchase. Retailers now get multiple opportunities to upsell, something which the online retailers cannot match. This customer experience will always be unique and the personalization involved will be more specifi c based on the stores analytics on the particular customer.
All the above can be achieved by building a bespoke store infrastructure solutions to integrate the store and shopper devices and also interface with the existing store and backend systems.
Online sales, although still a small percentage of the overall retail sales, are rapidly growing. Retailers need to gear up to this reality.
Studies have shown that customers who spend more than 10 minutes in a store end up making a purchase3 . So retailers have to focus on increasing “the dwell time” in the store by looking for solutions that use customer insights to enrich the shopping experience. Technology enablers can transform the hitherto ‘dumb’ devices to intelligent and smart assistants that shorten response time and deliver better service.
Retailers can choose from an array of inter-device communication solutions and transform their business by proper customer identifi cation, tracking and communication. In this rapidly evolving digital age, the “human touch” paradoxically facilitated by technology, will enable physical retail to survive and even thrive, despite the threat posed by online retail.