How Stores Can Work Smarter (Not Harder) to Appease Today’s Customers


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Today’s customers look very different than they did a few years ago. For decades, people were satisfied with traditional retail – perusing in-store, receiving help from associates, occasionally struggling with lack of inventory, and often waiting in long checkout lines. E-commerce grew consistently over time, but enter the pandemic, and suddenly it became the new normal for many. Sales increased by $244.2 billion in 2020, and customer expectations for convenience, seamlessness, and personalization grew accordingly.

Now, as more consumers return to stores, they expect the same benefits they received when shopping online. They’re looking for hyper personalization, innovative experiences, and an informed and frictionless shopping experience. As a result, retailers must now ask themselves, “How do we satisfy the 2023 customer and offer similar experiences to e-commerce? How do we ensure customers keep choosing our stores as well as our websites?”

To continue driving revenue in today’s market, brands must operate with an omnichannel mindset and fully embrace the smart future of physical retail. As part of this, one key opportunity is for retailers to ensure they’re harnessing the power of smart data capture on dedicated data capture or smart devices to foster one-to-one relationships, build customer loyalty, and set themselves apart from the pack.

The following are a couple mobile technology trends companies are using to provide experiences that leave a lasting impression on their customers.

Engaging Mobile Experiences

When retailers apply their smart data capture strategies to their applications, they give power to consumers and enable them to shop in-store just as they would online. This is particularly helpful for retailers who are understaffed or have high turnover and don’t have the ability to have one-on-one, customized interactions with each consumer.

Through smart data capture, companies can add extra capabilities such as augmented reality, which creates in-store mobile shopping and ordering experiences that are informed, seamless, and captivating. For example, customers can scan tags with their smartphones and view invaluable product details like peer reviews and ratings, materials, country-of-origin, sustainability efforts, and more. They can also see a wider selection of products and receive real-time visibility into store inventory.

Additionally, retailers can gamify their discount and rewards programs by integrating augmented reality into their apps – giving customers the ability to scan shelves and have various personalized product offers and coupons overlaid on their screen for consideration. And for the busy consumer, grocery stores and other retailers with regular high-volume sales can integrate mobile list features where consumers can look through current offers and plan their purchases in advance, helping make the shopping experience easier and more enjoyable.

Contactless Self-Scanning

Smart data capture-enabled applications on consumer smart devices can also help retailers avoid walk outs and missed sales that can often result from long checkout lines. Using their own smartphone, customers can either purchase items on-the-spot, or order from other locations if an item’s out of stock. Not only does this reduce wait times for customers, but it also frees up staff from having to sit at the checkout counter.

For many consumers, having a mobile self-scanning option influences whether they select a store or not. From busy individuals racing to complete errands, to those who prefer limiting physical interactions – self-scanning appeals to both. It’s a way for retailers to offer shopping that’s convenient and contactless.

Effective Clienteling

On the flip side, retailers can also empower their employees and supercharge clienteling through mobile shopping experiences. By equipping their store associates with dedicated or smart devices enabled with smart data capture, they receive real-time insight into product details and stock information. As a result, customers aren’t left waiting for their questions to be answered, and employees are better able to upsell or cross sell products, further increasing conversion rates and basket sizes.

These devices can also be used to scan loyalty program codes and create customized product lists based on a customer’s past purchases in-store and online. To go the extra mile, associates can share style tips and tutorial videos after an appointment or interaction.

Give your customers and employees superpowers

Physical retail can’t go back to the way it was before the pandemic. To survive, particularly amidst today’s continued economic uncertainty and consumers having tighter spending belts, retailers must prioritize omnichannel digital transformation strategies that meet consumer demands for seamless and memorable experiences.

In-store mobile shopping is key. It gives superpowers to both employees and customers to ensure captivating experiences – from rewards programs to personal shopping to the overall purchasing process. Through smart data capture and augmented reality, retailers can equip their employees with the devices they need to satisfy customer demand and generate sales. It also turns smartphones into powerful decision-making tools, enabling customers to take control of their shopping experiences exactly how they can with ecommerce. In doing so and feeding customer’s appetite, retailers are driving conversion rates and revenue.

In a market where consumers are starting to constantly have new, memorable experiences, all of this is an opportunity for brands to further captivate individuals, secure sales, and keep them coming back for more.

Steven Cunningham
Steven Cunningham is Senior Sales Director, Retail – North America at Scandit, where he is responsible for developing the business through direct and indirect channels. With over 20 years of experience in the retail sector, Steven has frequently shared his insights on new and evolving industry trends through events (Future Stores) and publications (RetailToday). Prior to joining Scandit, Steven was Vice President of Sales at Spencer Technologies. He also held senior sales and leadership roles at Diebold Nixdorf, Essintial Enterprise Solutions, Data Junction, and Aperian.


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