THANK YOU FOR SUBSCRIBING
Point Of Sale: Shaping Personalized Customer Experiences
By Madan Murthy, Director of Technology, Crimson & Co
Imagine walking into a retail store and you are welcomed by a store associate who can identify you based on preferences set on the App, is able to look up your Click and Collect order and while walking with you to pick your order, assists in picking party supplies, ordering the cake with a personalized message (endless aisle) with home delivery scheduled for Saturday. Imagine all interactions you had at the store completed on a handheld point of sale (POS) device paid with a tap or swipe of your card or the store card associated with your loyalty account.
The shift to personalized customer experience is happening all around us with reportable success. Zara and Gap are successfully leveraging augmented reality to transform the customer experience and seamlessly integrating with the POS. FMCG retailers are enabling concierge style tailored recommendations on over the counter health and beauty products. Novelty factor contributing to foot traffic and sales aside, customer interactions captured in these stores provide deep insights on how customers perceive and interact with your brand.
The point of checkout is the few golden minutes in the transaction lifecycle where a retailer has the undivided attention of the customer. Yet even today, many retailers view this point as a ‘point of tender’ with focus on convenience, speed, and efficiency, missing the opportunity to effectively engage with the customer. Customers can walk out of the store without purchasing, and retailers have no realistic way of knowing what they could have done differently to better assist the customer.
What if as a retailer you can extend the golden window from a ‘few minutes’ to a larger part of your buying process? What if as a retailer you can transform a ‘transaction’ to an ‘experience’?
Customer experience begins well before customers walk into the store. In fact, it begins at the point when the customer last walked out of the store. For a new customer, brand perception and social media set the bar.
Customer Experience Begins Well Before Customers Walk Into The Store. In Fact, It Begins At The Point When The Customer Last Walked Out Of The Store
Technology today enables retailers to lift and shift the POS terminals and put it right into the hands of the store associates and customers, enabling a seamless in-store experience. Simple and mobile form factors enable personalized and targeted customer engagement. The store operating model, merchandising, ranging and supply chain processes must reorient itself to factor insights from customer interactions (not just sales) captured at the POS elevating it to an experience and interaction capture portal.
Handheld POS terminals become ‘point of experience’ devices that capture in near real-time relevant interactions a customer is having at the store and build a persona of the customer(s). Store associates can augment and enrich data with parameters such as interests, store presentation, store range, products, buying behaviors, demographic, catchment, and cart abandonment to enable CRM and Loyalty systems to deliver relevant, personalized promotions and incentivize the next visit.
Backend supply chain and order management system can provide a near realtime inventory position on the POS empowering store associates to make informed decisions to offer free home delivery when the store is low on stock with no planned deliveries or due an upcoming promotional event.
POS and CRM functions can be merged to streamline data and insights to create targeted marketing campaigns, customer-specific promotions, and push recommendations to the POS to facilitate upsell, crosssell and offer home brand alternatives.
Capturing interactions at the POS can provide realistic store specific labor models to ensure optimal deployment. In near real-time, point of sale can read data from heat sensors and aisle cameras to alert available store associates to assist the customer. Gap scanners can alert to potential stockout situations at the POS to enable store managers to trigger refill from back of the store or trigger replenishment from the DC or another store.
Cost, Complexity, Data privacy, Data Volumes and Law of diminishing returns have been cited as barriers to entry. However, retailers can adopt a trial, learn and scale approach and pressure test with actual customer feedback.Concept ‘stores of the future’ are increasingly blending augmented reality experience into POS and delivering a truly omnichannel experience by merging previously distinct spaces like home and store. Huge opportunities await retailers if they can seamlessly transform these stores of the future into providing a personalized ‘experience of the future’. And at the heart of this experience is the humble POS system seamlessly delivering for every customer who walks through the door.