The headlines can paint a bleak picture of the British high street with the decline of in-store shopping a regular feature in the news. Retailers are grappling with what they can do to save the once-beloved high street and ensure their real estate remains profitable.
More consumers than ever are shopping online, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional retailers are also under pressure from digital natives like Amazon, who have turned their sights on bricks and mortar. It’s a challenging time for retailers. Across all verticals, retailers are looking to experiment with digital technology to improve the in-store experience — the quest for omnichannel has never been more important.
“Store environments are uniquely placed to provide choice and personalisation. For a lot of brands, stores are there to give a holistic experience of a brand where you can literally step in and immerse yourself in it.”
Leanne Cahill, CEO of lingerie retailer Bravissimo
Given that nearly 50% of consumers say they regularly use a retailer’s mobile app while shopping in that brand’s store, it’s no wonder more and more retailers are capitalising on in-store technology to bridge the gap between online and offline. To better understand their customers, deliver more effective campaigns and reward consumer loyalty, retailers must adopt innovative practices to capture customer data in-store.
“The word omnichannel is really omnichannel-plus now because it’s about how you join up [on and offline] completely if you’re not a pure-play,” says Beth Butterwick, CEO of fashion retailer Jigsaw. “Some of the devices and techniques such as tablets that find stock, find it locally, build outfit ideas and send them home or help store staff talk about influencers. There are many more things stores can do.”
Beth Butterwick, CEO of fashion retailer Jigsaw
Here are some key considerations from leading retailers at the forefront of in-store transformation.
Upping the Ante for POS
Historically, little attention was given to retailers’ Point of Sale systems as long as they did the job. But in more recent times, the role of a POS has undergone a radical transformation.
In addition to selling store products, POS systems now provide solutions like the “endless aisle” and are used across the entire buying journey. Many stores now operate as PUDO (pick up, drop off) sites as consumers favour convenience and the POS plays a critical role in ensuring this runs smoothly. For in-store transactions, the POS is also a hub for customer identification, capturing new customers and identifying returning ones in order to help build out that omnichannel view.
There is no better tool for increasing data capture than digital receipts, which can be easily integrated with a POS, however retailers implementing eReceipts across their store network should ensure they partner with a technology that makes it easy to implement. Emailing a PDF of the paper receipt is straight forward, but sending a dynamic digital receipt with additional features to leverage the high open rates is far more specialised. Here at Yocuda, we’ve built dedicated teams to work with your IT Managers to get retailers up and running in 4-6 weeks. And we’re always up for a new record!
Self Serve Extends Beyond Grocery
For many years, the grocery sector has led the charge on self-service checkouts. Initially an annoyance to many consumers, they’ve since become a popular choice in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country. So much so, a recent survey found that 60 percent of shoppers now prefer to use self-service — a figure that’s grown since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 85 percent associate self-checkout with a faster checkout experience than staffed tills. Good news given that long queues at the till are amongst some of the top complaints of shoppers browsing in-store.
Increasingly we’re seeing the emergence of self-service checkouts outside of the grocery sector, with brands like Decathlon, Zara and Wilko experimenting in-store. The checkout process provides an intuitive experience with self-checkouts recognising the item for sale via scanning a barcode or using RFID technology. But there is another opportunity here to identify customers by offering a digital receipt and capturing an email or phone number in the process. Customers entering their own details lead to higher quality data capture and of course, the digital receipt can deliver personalised content to drive post-purchase engagement and to grow the online audience.
Green Actions Provide Rewards
As retailers prioritise their eco-initiatives, we’re likely to see more make use of their store network as a recycling point. Last year Boots unveiled their Recycle at Boots scheme following a successful trial at a small number of stores; the initiative is now available in over 700 stores up and down the country. In a nutshell, customers get rewarded via their Advantage Card for every five products they deposit and accrued points can then be redeemed in-store or online. With over half a million products recycled following its launch, the scheme looks set to be popular with consumers.
Understanding what sustainability practices are essential to your customers is vital to delivering more effective messaging and marketing. And as a communication tool, digital receipts enable retailers to promote their refill products, those made from recycled materials, as well as eco-friendly measures at their local stores.
The “Speed Shop”
Often seen at the forefront of innovation, Nike is pioneering many new initiatives at their flagship New York City store, bridging the offline/online chasm.
Their ‘Speed Shop’ allows Nike customers to reserve shoes online with a more extensive catalogue to try on in-store, reducing the likelihood of high returns. But it’s not your average click and collect. Customers are given their own locker containing their order which can be unlocked via their smartphone. Post fitting, they also offer mobile checkout. They are fully digitising the in-store experience, avoiding the need for queues and identifying store customers in the process.
Jumping the Queue
Marks and Spencer is one of the latest retailers to tackle long queue lengths. Their mobile Pay-Go service, which is located alongside their virtual Sparks loyalty scheme in the M&S app, has been well adopted to date. The technology allows shoppers to scan items as they shop with their phones and pay for goods up to £45 digitally. The receipt is stored in the app for future reference or returns — no need for paper copies — and the customer is linked to their store transactions.
They have also introduced a third way for those who only have a few items and don’t want to queue. Staff are issued a handheld device that scans the customer’s purchases and accepts payment via their phones (e.g. Apple Pay). A digital receipt is issued post-purchase.
Using Data Insights to Personalise the Experience
It’s an exciting time for the merging of online and offline as retailers adapt to evolving consumer behaviour. Capturing customer data in-store using creative identification techniques, like digital receipts, is a critical component of creating a Single Customer View. This enriched customer profile will enable smart retailers to personalise their offers with dynamic content.
At Yocuda, we are dedicated to supporting retailers to better understand their customers through data captured in-store. Our expert technology will help you to:
- Track customer health and understand are they new? Repeat? Churning?
- Profile and segment your customers based on rich behavioural (not only demographic) data.
- Optimise ranges for customer profiles, including developing NPD’s and defending delists.
- Design and deliver personalised customer communication campaigns across all digital channels, and analyse the results intelligently.
Get in touch if you’d like support with identifying your customers and reaping the rewards with better targeting and post-purchase personalisation, we’d love to help you.