Going into a physical store can be a pain at times. It can be tough to compare products, endure long checkout lines, find a knowledgeable sales associate, or get products if they're out of stock or hard to find. Even if your retail stores do not have these problems, most customers are so used to the hassle that they often decide to buy what they need online in hopes they'll have a positive experience with customer service technology.
If you're seeing foot traffic declining in your brick-and-mortar store, you're definitely not alone. Pew Research Center reports that almost 80 percent of Americans do at least some shopping on the internet, and 43 percent shop online either weekly or a few times a month. This means fewer customers are heading to brick-and-mortar stores when a need arises.
Instead of simply accepting the challenges of brick-and-mortar stores, many retailers are using customer service technology to overcome these common issues and increase customer satisfaction. Here are three pieces of technology retailers can use to improve the brick-and-mortar shopping experience:
1. Cloud-Based Communication Technology
Among the many benefits of cloud migration, every employee at each brick-and-mortar store has real-time access to all information, such as price and inventory. This allows associates to be more knowledgeable about product status without having to leave the customer to take a look in the back. Retailers can use cloud-based communications to access and share this product information directly from the store floor. As retail enterprises grow, cloud technology also allows them to scale business growth while seamlessly connecting multiple locations to the same communication system.
2. Omnichannel Order Management System
Your customers view both your online store and brick-and-mortar store as part of the same brand and become frustrated with retailers whose stores are separate. By using an omnichannel order management system (OMS), you can seamlessly connect both stores in terms of inventory and orders. This also allows you to ship merchandise that is sold out at the warehouse directly from a store with a surplus. Additionally, sales associates can use the online store alongside store inventory to order merchandise for customers, either shipping to a store location or directly to customers' homes.
Pew Research Center reports that almost 80 percent of Americans do at least some shopping on the internet, and 43 percent shop online either weekly or a few times a month.
3. Developer-Friendly Communication APIs
One of the most important features to look at when purchasing systems is their API set. Are they open, so you can make customizations? Are they developer-friendly? With a developer-friendly communication API, you can create apps that allow customers to initiate transactions before they enter a store. This integrates both the cloud and OMS technology so customers can simplify the buying process. Many retailers are using this feature so sales associates can have the merchandise ready at the front of the store for customers to pick up after they purchase it through the app. This way, the customer gets the best of both worlds, with no hassle and immediate delivery.
Your customers shouldn't have to go through the worst-case scenario that many expect each time they step inside a retail store. By ensuring customers leave your store with what they came for in a timely manner, your store will stand out above the others. And next time they need something, they'll pull out their keys instead of their laptops.
Visit Vonage Business to learn more about how your business can benefit from customer technology.