HR & Management

Speed is the key to customer convenience

5 min read

19 August 2016

In the post-recession shopping environment, price is no longer a competitive advantage nor the primary motivation behind who consumers choose to shop with. Instead, modern shoppers are being driven by new currencies, one of the most valuable of which is convenience.

Speed is the key and, due to the increasingly busy modern lifestyles of connected customers, businesses must rethink the in-store environment to make shopping a quicker, slicker and generally a more pleasant experience.

One area where innovation could deliver immediate returns for businesses is the queue. Our research shows that the average shopping trip includes 20.2 minutes of queuing and, worryingly, after nine minutes’ consumers are likely to give up and walk away, with a quarter of consumers abandoning purchases after just five minutes. Overall, 41 per cent of consumers have failed to buy an item as a result of long queues.

So, what can businesses do to ensure that the store environment meets the needs of the consumer and delivers the most convenient queuing experiences?

Payments on the move

Being able to adapt to the needs of the customer is vital to modern retailing, and nowhere is this truer than at the point of sale (PoS). Enabling conversions anywhere within the store, mobile PoS (mPoS) is a great way to offer the customer more convenience – devices can be used as standalone solutions or to support traditional fixed tills during peak times.

Mobile payment technology offers store staff increased control and influence over the customer journey, empowering them to cater for each customer as an individual and preventing situations where long queues negatively impact sales. Even better, many platforms work across fixed and mobile PoS smoothing the transition process, as staff can use the system on a different device with minimal training requirements.

Kiosks and self-service

Self-service is under-utilised in retail. Retailers have been successful incorporating the technology as a website touchpoint in-store, information hub and inventory resource, however, more can be done to integrate these services with payments and order placing.

Offering kiosk and self-service options brings the best of the consumer’s online experience in-store, allowing them to control their journey by making the whole process autonomous, while at the same time giving shoppers the opportunity to interact with staff should they need to. These solutions give the customer more options when interacting in-store, not only mitigating queuing time, but also catering to their need for convenience.

Seeing is believing 

In-store signage is often used just to display existing marketing imagery within the store space, and while it is often an important part of shop design, few businesses think about its potential to improve the customer journey. Businesses who are using this technology have found that making digital signage interactive can deepen customer engagement.

Putting digital signage behind the PoS can help to slow down the customer journey, allowing businesses to engage, inform and entertain busy customers. By curating content that is relevant to the consumer, brands can open up a conversation with the shopper about the brand’s ethos and explain more about products and promotions. For the retailer, this in-store content can be easily packaged up to share across their other marketing channels, e.g. social media.

Customers are busier than ever, and to stay relevant in-store businesses must adapt. The best way to achieve this is to use these technologies in combination. Not only will this improve the customer experience, it also supports staff by giving them the tools they need to problem solve when faced with peaks in shopper traffic, and offers the ability to adapt to individual needs.

Upgrading the in-store environment is critical for businesses looking to cater to modern consumer needs, making shopping and transacting as convenient and seamless as the online offering, while also adding value through human interaction.

Raj Parmar is managing director at Box Technologies.

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