In the battle between online and offline retail stores, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see who’s winning the race. We find ourselves in a world where everything and everyone is connected through the Internet of Things, and mobile services that provide people with access to information and purchasing decisions like never before. People still want and need real-life connections and experiences – a massive advantage bricks and mortar stores will always have over online stores. Despite this, most bricks and mortar retailers still treat every customer as just another transaction. This is partly due to the “dumb” technology currently used in-store today, commonly known as cash registers and Point of Sale Systems.
The two most important things in a buyers’ pocket is a wallet and mobile phone. Cash is still going to be around for a little while longer and Point of Sale will still need to easily facilitate both traditional forms of payment like offline cash and card transactions. The game changer is what’s happening in the other pocket. Using their mobile devices, buyers can now research, find products that match their interests and needs, receive offers to their mobile phones, pre-order, pay and accrue loyalty points in the palm of their hand. The power has shifted completely into the hands of the customer – who is online 24/7, with access to all kinds of information like product choice and purchasing decisions. According to PayPal’s recently released white paper, “The Future of POS: Point of Sale Evolution and Its Impacts”, the future is in mobile payments and intelligent POS systems — and that now is the time for businesses to make the leap.
Here’s what businesses need to do to stay ahead of the game:
Businesses that implement POS solutions that are able to integrate with in-store retail systems and customer experiences such as loyalty schemes will increasingly have an edge over competitors as it will drive customer engagement. Keeping up with hardware and software trends – the integration of backend and frontend software thanks to tablet-based POS systems, can now keep track of customer information and manage inventory. Combined with the power of Big Data and cost savings of cloud computing, businesses will see everything from their customer relationship management (CRM) to supply chain management evolve considerably.
Smartphones will lead the charge
Not only do smartphones empower shoppers with price comparisons, product reviews and social media influence, it also provides an opportunity for merchants to leverage mobile engagement.
Find out more about Kounta’s Cloud based point of sale system
Personalised shopping experience
The combination of mobile devices and Big Data will personalise customer experience in a variety of ways based on individual preferences and shopping history. It will also increase consumer interaction via loyalty rewards programs, self-checkout and on-demand payment locations, and revolutionary authentication methods such as visual identification, voice recognition and biometrics. SMB retailers have a competitive advantage over larger businesses when it comes to the POS migration and integration process. To make the best of this, stores also need to get online as quickly as possible, get customers in the door and provide them with a supreme customer experience and service that will end up separating the successful stores from the ones dying.
So, how can bricks and mortar stores use Cloud effectively?
Access to real-time data on the floor
Retail sales can become tedious and boring. Occasionally staff may become disengaged or disinterested. By having access to real-time data on the store floor, which products are selling well and which aren’t, staff will be empowered to take action to turn lagging styles into leading styles.
Use real-time data from the sales floor
Real-time data is available across all channels and if used well, empowered decision-making from the sales floor up to the C-Suite. Teams are able to see sales trends and traffic patterns in real time and be able to see conversion rates at the product level.
Retailers can use the Cloud to create an attractive reward for the team member who has the largest sale in the month. This can be a great way to keep everyone engaged and by showing the leaderboard in real time, creates healthy competition what it will take to be number one. The bricks and mortar industry is not dead – rather, the future is bright. Cloud based SaaS solutions are making data available in real time and will be able to unite the digital and physical retail environments.
Find out more about Kounta’s Point of Sale for Retail