Arguably, great customer service has always had more than one consumer dimension but today’s multi-channel shopping experiences tend to exaggerate, reinforce and amplify different customer perspectives. Some shoppers still want an assistant on hand to guide and advise them, but others place far more value on a streamlined service which gets the job done in minimal time. Where convenience and efficiency are the priorities, the opportunity provided by the new self-service paradigm of retail service is one solution which should not be overlooked.
An online-inspired retail experience
Online stores offer a great deal of autonomy to their customers. During a typical e-commerce experience, the online visitor can browse products, read reviews, select items for their shopping cart and go to the checkout whenever they please. And it is the convenience of digital shopping, especially its paradigm shift to a self-service focus, which has created a new type of customer who has very little interest in queuing to file through a high-street checkout. What this type of shopper (often depicted to be a millennial) appreciates is a sophisticated self-service facility which more closely replicates the immediacy and efficiency of the online digital purchasing environment.
Reduce waiting times
No customer prefers to wait, but those won over by slick online stores not only detest delays, they have the confidence and digital mindset which really should make standing in a checkout queue completely unnecessary. If these customers spot a self-service checkout area, being thoroughly accustomed to the self-service paradigm of retail service, they will gravitate towards it as their preferred option. Not only will this speed and enhance their own customer journey, diverting some of your customer flow through such a self-service facility will also thin out queues at traditional checkouts, which means other customers also benefit from an improved service.
Deploying technology to facilitate self-service
Emulating the ease of use online shoppers enjoy should not begin and end with providing one or two self-service checkouts. Remember that the self-service paradigm of retail service has created a category of shopper who is very comfortable with all aspects of shopping technology. So, for instance, providing touchscreen digital signage is a practical way to provide information and allow such customers to interact with your business to secure the information they need, as and when they need it. That means a shopper can quickly check if a particular product is in stock, and then be directed straight to the shelf where it can be found.
Indoor mapping is an extension of answering simple queries and navigating via signage. Now that smartphone users can access your website, locate your store, and find their way to your door in seconds, many will be sorely disappointed if their shopping experience then slows to a crawl inside your store. Efficient indoor mapping can remedy that, for example, by explaining where to find the bread, and then intelligently plotting the quickest route through the store to find the biscuits, tea-bags and more.
Customer-friendly data initiatives
As online retailers such as Amazon have consistently shown, adopting the self-service paradigm of retail service can also help to enhance a customer’s relationship with your business, while also creating additional marketing opportunities for the astute retailer. Consumers who use shopping apps to compile their own custom shopping lists before they visit the store in order to quickly tour the shelves when they arrive, also generate data about their shopping preferences and the frequency of their purchases. Armed with such profile information, the retailer can then sensitively adapt push notifications tailored to each consumer’s shopping habits, thus adding relevant convenience for the customer whilst also maximising the impact of in-store offers.
An efficient self-service function not only makes the shopping experience more convenient for all your customers. If done well, it has considerable potential to expand your customer base by attracting discerning digital shoppers too.
So if you want to become a self-service retailer, get in touch with LamasaTech now to arrange a free consultation with our experts to discuss your self-service retail technology needs. You can speak with us on +44 (0)191 341 0016 or send us a message on our contact form.