Brick-and-mortar stores seem to be at a disadvantage with online stores. People may prefer the latter because of its speed and convenience. But, physical stores still have some notable advantages over their virtual counterparts. Customers make better purchasing decisions when in a physical store. This may be because consumers can interact with the products. Also, shop attendants are present to help them if needed. Physical shopping can also serve as a social event for family and friends. This experience is not possible with online shopping.
Physical retail stores must focus on increasing the shopping convenience of their customers. Thanks to the ever-developing technology, this goal is attainable. Here are some ways how technology can transform customer service on in-store retail.
Physical stores could install self-service kiosks at strategic points. The most common areas where you can see them are at the end of aisles. These compact devices can perform many functions. As a result, it could give customers a satisfactory in-store experience.
You have to make sure, though, that they are in prime condition. When you notice some glitches, do not hesitate to have them serviced. There are mobile repair centers that fix brands such as Zebra, Honeywell, and Symbol, only to name a few.
Interactive kiosks allow the customers to save time. They can find the information that they want in an instant. They do not have to look for a sales associate to address their query. With a single scan, they can have access to a wide range of information. They could look up prices, discounts, stock availability, or the location of products. They can even check the remaining balance in their gift cards or points in their loyalty cards. With all this knowledge right at their fingertips, they would be more confident as they shop. They do not have to second-guess on some details.
Online stores make it convenient by delivering the items right to your doorstep. But, some consumers are not into this kind of conveyance of goods. They have apprehensions if the items would come to them in good condition. They also may not want to pay for shipping fees or wait for days before they get their items.
Physical stores had stepped up a notch by offering in-store pickup. The process for this is quite simple. The customer orders their items and pays them online. Then, they can drop by the store to pick them up upon receiving a confirmatory message. This shopping option gives the customer the “get in and get out” experience that many prefer. They do not have to scout for items, experience out-of-stock scenarios, and be stuck in long queues.
One major downside of physical stores is having long queues at the checkout. This frustrating situation can cause your business some lost purchases. Much worse, it could also mar your reputation. Nobody enjoys waiting in long lines. Thus, even if they want the item so much, it could still translate to an abandoned sale. In cases when they are shopping for essentials, they may wait for their turn. But, they could give your store negative feedback after.
Technology solved this problem for brick-and-mortar stores. There are now many options for a quick checkout. With mobile POS systems, staff can transact and accept payments anywhere in the store.
Handheld scanners allow customers to scan individual items that they bought. Then, they can check out everything by themselves. Another option is the RFID self-checkout system. The difference it has with handheld scanners is that it can scan all your items at once. This makes your checkout experience even faster.
Augmented and virtual reality allows customers to try items through interactive mirrors. Others call it virtual fitting rooms. Customers do not have to put on the actual product for them to see how it would look on them. It reduces the time and inconvenience of having to put on and remove several items.
As a consumer, you could try almost anything using extended reality. You can put on cosmetics, pieces of jewelry, and articles of clothing. All these with only a few clicks. You could even try it with home decor, furniture, or appliances. You can envision how these things would look like in your home. Even some car dealers offer virtual reality experiences in their showrooms. This helps the customers have a feel of the car.
Brick-and-mortar stores do not need to fall behind with their online counterparts. Using technology, owners of physical stores can enhance customer experience. They can provide convenience while keeping the warmth of the physical shopping experience.