The Retail Touchpoints eBook (RetailWire) explores the future growth of a customer-centric approach. One portion of the report focuses on the point of sale and technology's role in making it more customer-centric. But does a customer-centric approach have a begining and an end?
The point of sale is the obvious last-chance in-store to make a great impression on customers. If POS is the end, where is the beginning? Mailers? Internet ads?
If you broaden your thinking, great customer experience has no start or finish. It's a rotating wheel. Even after the customer has left the store, the data received from purchases can be used to build loyalty programs and maintain contact information for customer service follow-ups. Part of building a customer-centric approach is creating processes that are integrated with each other and the entire customer experience.
The Retail TouchPoint eBook make an outstanding argument for improving point-of-sale technology. Today, technology allows us to customize almost every aspect of the shopping experience. From virtual information centers in pharmacies, shopper loyalty cards, price scanners, and the web to brick and mortar storefront integration, the potential to personalize a shopper's experience is endless.
The report discusses several benefits of using improved point-of-sale technology to strengthen your customer experience program. They include:
1) Better inventory control: Imagine impressing your customers with the ability to pay and order an out of stock item at point-of-sale? Think of retailers who integrate online shopping with store pick-up.
2) Customer data: Improving the personalized customer experience couldn't be achieved better without customer data. Loyalty cards at point-of-sale allow you to personalize coupons, promotions, and improve tracking of high purchased inventory. With today's technology, there is no reason why retailers shouldn't be integrating shopper data with promotions. It's a win-win situation.
3) Timely checkouts: Price check scanners, self-checkouts, and handheld scanners are all improving the ease of purchasing. Putting more control into the hands of the customers and -- backed by staff if needed -- your customers' experience can improve dramatically by reducing the wait time for service and point-of-sale.
Overall, a true customer-centric approach will be evolving. It will be a seamless integration of the beginning to end with creating great customer experiences each time.
To read the entire report, go to RetailWire.