Chapter 4: Digitise the physical store.

The line between physical and digital shopping has blurred.

Retailers have already evolved the role of brick-and-mortar by driving customers in-store with flexible fulfilment options like Click and Collect and promoting in-store events on social media. These innovations increase revenue: In fact, 74% of retailers reported that shoppers bought at least one more product while in the store to pick up a purchase.
 
74% of retailers reported that shoppers bought at least one more product while in the store to pick up a purchase.
– 
The Future State of BOPIS and Curbside Pickup, RISNews.com, October 28, 2021
With increasingly complex customer journeys blurring the lines between physical and digital commerce, retailers are under more pressure than ever before to unify disparate experiences.

Empower store associates to deliver better customer service.

Store associates are an integral part of the customer experience. But this year, the ongoing labour shortage means it’s imperative that retailers do everything possible to nurture happy employees. The financial benefits are clear: Not only is replacing and training new workers expensive, data show that happy employees lead to happy customers — and that grows revenue.
 
“Things are always changing, so being adaptable – empowering your people to be able to do what they need to do in the moment – is absolutely critical for us.”
– Patrick Spence, CEO, Sonos

Retailers can accomplish this by giving associates technology that automates repetitive tasks and enables them to spend more time directly serving customers. With a platform that connects your customers’ digital profiles, preferences, and history to mobile devices in the store, associates can:

  • Deliver personalised service: An increase in foot traffic during the weeks near Black Friday means associates need to serve more customers faster. Armed with a complete view of real-time customer data, associates can quickly answer questions about order status, rewards balances, purchase and return history, delivery timing, and more.
  • Check inventory availability: Nothing kills the holiday spirit faster than empty shelves. But with a real-time view of store and distribution centre inventory, you can empower store associates to sell merchandise and satisfy customers.
  • Check pricing, promotions, and discounts: Inflation means shoppers will be even more eager to take advantage of special holiday offers. With promotions changing from day to day, it’s imperative that associates have access to the latest offer rules so customers get the best available deals.
  • Streamline communications: Quickly share time-sensitive news and updates, like flash sale details, expanded holiday shopping hours, or new in-store pickup rules. Facilitate employee collaboration and communication on secure channels.
  • Empower managers: Make it easy for managers to onboard and train new and seasonal employees. Assign and track tasks for completion. Upskill current employees so you can meet changing business demands at scale.

Facilitate frictionless checkout and fulfilment.

For shoppers, most of the battle is finding the right gift at the right price. For retailers, the challenge is to ensure a simple and smooth customer experience. To make that happen, consider upgrading payment, delivery, and return options with an eye on flexibility:

  • Payments: Tap-and-go credit cards have become the norm in the store, but don’t overlook high-growth payments options like mobile wallets, BNPL, and POT. That will be important this holiday season as higher prices make it harder for retailers to capture wallet share. And although these options are more typically found online, they’re also growing in popularity in stores’ point-of-sales systems.
  • Store fulfilment: Retailers are prioritising convenience and giving shoppers the chance to choose their own delivery windows. They’re also appealing to sustainability-minded consumers by offering eco-friendly delivery options (and even carbon offsets for delivery from the store or local distribution centres).
  • Try-at-home: Some retailers are experimenting with temporary try-at-home options that let customers use products for a few days without charge. If the customer isn’t satisfied, they can return whatever products they don’t like.
  • Returns: Evolve your returns experience with an eye toward convenience, customer preference, and sustainability. Enabling customers to drop off online returns in the store and offering contactless return kiosks deliver on the dual promise of ease and sustainability.
 
 
 
 

Next: Chapter 5: Deepen business relationships.

Up-level your B2B service by delivering consumer-grade experiences.
 
See how to:
  • Connect sales, service, marketing, and commerce on one platform
  • Give partners more transparency with a single source of truth
  • Deliver consumer-grade buying experiences
 

More Resources

 
Research and Report
2022 European Grocery Consumer Report.
 
 

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