Finally Physical Store Retailers Can Compete With Online – With Personalization as Well as Customer Experience

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Amazon.com does not drive physical book stores out of business because of lower prices or better inventory. It’s Amazons fanatic focus on customer service and incredibly clever design of their sites that underpins their success.

Think about it – Amazon.com has probably even outperformed and killed more digital competitors than Now some of the possibilities from that digital domain are finally coming to the physical world. I’m talking about iBeacons, or similar technologies that runs on the BLE platform (Bluetooth Low Energy). With iBeacons, a SmartPhone can announce its presence to equipment in a store or office when its owner enters the door.

Why is that important?

Because the blind spot service wise in a physical store is the identification and location of the customer.

When almost all of the things written so far has been on using Beacons as a solution to push messages, I see Beacons as a very promising technology for customers to get access to service. Service provided by human beings.

The longer you spend thinking about beacons, the more you realize that the old rules don’t apply: The physical world becomes an interface, and meaningful connections to moving objects and people suddenly become possible.

Beacons combined with a mobile app having the capabilities to provide service alternatives for end-customers can significantly improve service and experiences. The solution also have great potential in increasing sales, reducing cost and improving the perception of a service provider’s brand. In an presentation, Qmatic provides three interesting use cases on how the technology could be used in “connecting to service”.

Think about it. What is it that makes the Amazon.com customer experience so good? It’s that you, as a customer, is recognized and appreciated. You are greeted by name. You are offered a number of interesting books or other things, partly based on the items newsworthiness, but also based on what other stuff you have bought – or glanced at. When you come to check out, all you have to do is breeze through – Amazon.com knows your credit card, where to ship your stuff, your preferred method of shipping and many other things.

Meanwhile, in the physical store: no one takes notice when you arrive. No one knows who you are. No one knows how long you have waited for service. No one knows what kind of product you are interested in. Does anybody even care?

Now, enter the world of iBeacons. When the customer enters the store, they can immediately with their smartphone select what product category they need information about and get instant feedback on expected waiting time. Also:

  • While browsing the store – and getting tailored messages – the right kind of salesperson, an expert on the product category the customer is interested in – can walk up to the customer (positioned through the nearest beacon) and offer help when next in line.
  • After the transaction, the store can ask the customer for immediate feedback about the visit, and thus get a truly data driven – and in some instances also real time – scorecard on customer experience. It can help planning, educating staff, linking advertising campaigns to selling, and many other things.

Mobile App
Banks, hospitals, and many other facilities where you normally make appointments can also benefit enormously through the aid of iBeacons. If you happen to come early to an appointment and the clerk or doctor is available – they will know you have arrived, and if they have time, they can take care of you sooner. If not, you can get a message that the original appointment time must be kept – so then you know that and can go take a cup of coffee while waiting. You get service or you get information. The two most critical success factors behind a great customer experience and getting that WOW into the mix.

So – Amazon.com is now the most successful E-retailer in the world and they have been at it for 20 years this year. They have put a lot of pressure on a lot of businesses in the physical world, but the pleasure of shopping “in real life” still keeps 80% of the retail sector analog.

Now when this exciting new technology open up the Face2Face world to this kind of close relationship and communication between a customer and a physical store – E-retailers better watch out.

Images by Qmatic and Dreamstime.com
Quote by Doug Thompson, Beekn.net

Sven-Olof Husmark
Sven-Olof is the founder of Experify, a business consultant firm, Senior Advisor at Egain Group a pioneer in intelligent AI driven energy optimization of buildings and former CMO at Qmatic Group, a world leader in creating better customer journeys.Sven-Olof is a senior executive with demonstrated success in growing companies globally by initiating effective sales, marketing and customer service strategies.

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