Today’s omnichannel shoppers expect a unique, personal, efficient retail customer experience. In order for them to leave the convenience of shopping from their homes via a mobile device or PC, retailers must lure them in with something that online shopping can’t touch. And that is an engaging, full-contact experience that includes face-to-face human interaction that brick-and-mortar retailers can offer. And e-commerce, alone, can’t.
But it’s so much more complicated than that. Shoppers go to stores to fire up all five senses. They want to touch, smell, examine and even try on items. They test for quality, fit and compare items side-by-side.
Customers don’t stop there as they continue raising the bar on expectations: competitive prices/price-matching; the ability to research items online before stepping foot into a store; to order online and pick up the same day at the nearest location – also known as click and collect or buy online, pick up in store (BOPUS). They want choices at the checkout – such as self-serve options that provide convenience…as long as a real, live human is nearby to help when needed and their experience is free of delay or frustration. And oh yeah, they still want good old-fashioned help: a second opinion – reinforcement of a potential purchase – that trained sales associates can provide. In some cases, consumers just want the normal, pleasant, everyday interaction that we used to take for granted.
E-commerce is ubiquitous and has forever changed the retail landscape. But growth opportunities exist for brick-and-mortar retailers because they can deliver what consumers can’t get from shopping online: face-to-face human touch, and memorable, unique customer experiences.
That being said, why do so many retailers make cost-cutting decisions, such as reducing staff hours or closing down lanes, when it’s detrimental to their long-term viability? And why are they allowing automation to replace humans instead of using it to free up employees for other customer-facing duties and becoming active participants in the customer experience? In the short-run, perhaps overhead is reduced. But by eliminating the human touch, many retailers are also doing away with the retail customer experience that in-store shoppers so crave.
Consumers want the help of trained, in-store associates
According to the 2017 Retail Trends Report Why Human Interaction and In-Store Experience Still Matter, consumers shop in stores for various reasons that include:
The second two points reinforce what I mentioned earlier. Face-to-face interaction with knowledgeable, helpful employees is not only wanted – but needed for brick-and-mortar retailers to thrive. Combine excellent, customer-focused employees with retail technology that assists customers and employees alike – and you’ll be well on your way to creating positive customer experiences and hopefully, loyalty.
Many retailers are already a long way down the road of implementing retail automation; however, they aren’t necessarily using it in a way that improves the customer experience. Instead, they’re implementing technology that puts more of a burden on the customer in order to cut labor costs. But, what if you could do more? What if you could implement intelligent technology that not only helps your cashiers, but also provides a better customer experience?
Automation, when used correctly, improves the customer experience
Cash management technology is used to automate the mundane, time-consuming processes that takes your employees off the shop floor (and away from your customers) – such as manually counting coins or the dual-count method often used at shift changeover time. Cash management technology, such as an intelligent cash drawer, can drive efficiency, drive adherence to process, reduce shrink and cut labor costs while providing a better retail customer experience. How? It provides real-time tracking and data that helps management make decisions to better the customer experience.
An intelligent cash drawer, such as Tellermate’s LiveDrawer®, automates the traditional cash management process, such as reconciling tills or preparing bank deposits. It flags cashier errors, so customers are ensured that they will receive the correct amount of change. And vice versa: It backs up cashiers when customers erroneously claim they were given the wrong change. By increasing efficiency, an intelligent cash drawer allows your employees more time on the shop floor to generate sales, interact with customers and become your brand’s ambassadors. Offering help and creating relationships that lead to a memorable customer experience.
What’s more, it removes the opportunity for theft at the point of sale – whether by customers or employees. Because it knows each and every transaction, which cashier handled cash, and when an overage or shortage occurred. In short, cash management technology is a relatively inexpensive way that retailers can use to focus on the basics of satisfying basic shoppers’ desires while delivering a seamless, engaging in-store experience. It can help your business by allowing employees more time with customers – helping them make selections, upselling and providing that personal exchange that they so want.
To find out how LiveDrawer allowed one European retailer improved the overall customer experience while increasing efficiencies and reallocating labor hours, download the LiveDrawer case study.