Empowering retail staff and driving consumer engagement with mobile technology

Over the last few years, many brands and retailers have experimented and learnt lessons from mobile technology deployments in their stores. Here Jonathan Wharrad, business development director at customer facing device specialist Moki, explains how the latest advances in ruggedized tablets and intuitive software can drive contextual engagement with customers further, fostering long term loyalty and ultimately increased revenue.

The retail landscape continues to evolve and a key issue for retailers is putting the customer in control. Already armed with smartphones, customers want to feel empowered at all times. However, with the right technology, retailers can provide staff and customers with the information when it is needed in-store and in a manner which matches consumer expectations driven by wider omnichannel experiences.

Self-service

The online experience has opened up brands’ entire inventory to the consumer raising expectations so that products can be ordered and delivered or collected at a time most convenient to them.

To reflect this, self-service kiosks allow shoppers to browse inventory that isn’t in-store, customise their products, read reviews and compare specifications without the need to call on a member of staff for help.

Similarly, consumers can take control of how they order and indeed collect their items whether in store or at home, facilitating the concept of ‘endless aisle’.

Kiosks also allow suggestive selling as Amazon does at its online checkouts e.g. ‘customers who bought this, also bought…’ etc. Having this level of control can increase the propensity to buy and enhance customer satisfaction.

Such developments are also transforming retail by self-service in terms of loyalty. Kiosks enable retailers to administer their rewards programmes with minimal paperwork and reduce the need for customers to carry a wallet full of cards for each store.

Self-service also has advantages over branded mobile apps which reside on consumers’ phones. Just as consumers are unlikely to want a purse full of different loyalty cards, so they are also uncomfortable with a separate mobile app for each retailer they visit. Such apps take up space on mobile desktops as well as memory and it is difficult to get customers to engage with them at the right time to inspire a purchase. The beauty of self-service devices in store is that they provide contextual personalised experiences at the moment consumers require them in the best place for the retailer.

Making it possible

Mobile technology and in particular hardware and operating systems and apps are making the self-service transformation possible.

Mobile hardware enables businesses to create customised in-store terminals, kiosks and digital displays for a fraction of the previous cost while operating systems and apps provide robust and contextual interactions for consumers to foster trust and loyalty in-store. Providers such as Intel are leading the way in this area through cost-efficient, valuable and reliable hardware.

From a business perspective, the latest mobile technology developments enable organisations to remotely control the user experience, update apps and operating systems quickly, monitor user activity and device health. In this regard, companies can provide the customer experience they want while having the IT systems in place to support it.

Adidas and closed loop messaging

Global sportswear brand Adidas engages with millions of customers everyday with highly targeted messages via digital media and wanted to bring similar level of digital interactivity in store, where customers could interact with products, customised to their tastes and take control of their experience with the brand.

Using our Total Control software, Adidas deployed a digital shopping assistant to help customers create looks, discover new ones and see them modeled. Inventory updates automatically through integration with ecommerce platform.

In this way, Adidas lets customer control their brand experience through a simple and elegant kiosk app. The secure customer facing device is locked down and used for the intended purpose. Content is pushed to such devices instantaneously while digital interactions, product health and status can be monitored remotely so that changes can be rolled out when needed.

Analytics

As experienced by Adidas, one major advance that new tablet solutions have brought is the ability to analyse the success of digital interactions enabling retailers to understand the engagement levels of customers with their customer facing devices. This is particularly important as the digital and physical worlds continue to converge.

In this regard, retailers can evaluate what content and functions shoppers have used and can tailor and optimise them accordingly to drive future use and loyalty.

So by taking a fresh approach to mobile technology in-store retailers can breathe new life into their digital interactions with consumers to drive repeat purchases and sustained growth.

To see how your business can benefit from in-store mobile technology, download Moki’s latest report here

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