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The customer expectation is changing, and with that changes comes a need for retailers to deliver exceptional customer service at every available opportunity.
Over recent years that’s seen a sharp rise in technology all designed to improve customer service, and most importantly meet the customer expectation in new and exciting ways.
Here are just some of the ways that technology is reshaping customer service…
The Point of Sale (POS) is one of the key areas where real world retail caters to and nurtures a customer. It’s the place where brand loyalty is formed, knowledge is shared, and customer service truly counts.
It’s also a place where speed is of the essence. Research consistently indicates customers are more time-poor than ever before, and the wait they are prepared to endure in a queue has shortened.
Lightspeed recently found the maximum time people are prepared to spend waiting is 6 minutes 46 seconds, while Retail Week notes 89 per cent of shoppers have left a store due to a long queue, and 65 per cent of those said they immediately went to a rival outlet afterwards.
In a tech savvy age, customers are not only unwilling to wait, they’re also more than happy to complete the transaction themselves courtesy of a self-service Point of Sale.
According to recent findings by the National Retail Federation, 62 per cent of consumers are aware of self-checkouts, of those 89 per cent have trialed them and 63 per cent are satisfied with the experience.
That’s seeing POS self-service become a tried and tested tool across the retail sphere, and for those choosing to embrace it, adoption of the technology is simple.
No longer is POS self-service complicated to implement, it can be rolled out en masse or in moderation courtesy of a simple tablet and tablet stand.
Until recently, the fitting room was an arena that had remained relatively unchanged for decades. That was until the arrival of smart fitting rooms.
Now customer service can be taken to a new level courtesy of simple a iPad and iPad holder where the customer can call for items at will, try them on virtually in another colour, or instantly see whether another size is available instore.
It’s allowing apparel retailers to meet their customers on their terms at a critical moment in the decision-making process. It’s furnishing consumers with knowledge and it’s allowing them to upsell at the same time.
Critically, smart technology can also save on staff resources, allowing them to be summoned when an item is required.
As customers become more familiar with mobile technology like tablets, these tiny devices are playing a greater role in retail as a virtual assistant.
For example, US retailer Saks Fifth Avenue recently introduced augmented reality “magic mirrors” that allow customers to try products virtually.
Known as virtual browsing, it allows consumers to experiment with a range of new looks, without actually altering their current physical appearance.
“Virtual browsing is more convenient than physically trying on makeup and dealing with unsanitary samples or having multiple colours smudge,” IoT For All notes.
“Customers can even experiment and change their hair colour without the long-term commitment. Such experimentation makes it easy for shoppers to explore a variety of options and have their experience be not only comfortable but also enjoyable and entertaining.”
Meanwhile, Forbes explains German liquor store BASF is using tablets combined with RFID tags as a virtual sommelier. Shoppers enter their wine preferences on a tablet connected to a digital shelf. Bottles with the features they prefer then light up, with additional information about the wine on offer.
Importantly, this technology is far from complicated, often involving existing tech like RFID and an easy-to-install iPad kiosk.
Technology isn’t just playing a role in customer service, it’s also facilitating store security while improving customer interaction. This is especially the case when it comes to displaying smart products and electronics.
Not so long ago, these items would have proved a challenge for the retailer. Due to their high value, they need to be secured against theft. But these aren’t the types of items you can simply lock behind glass. Customers want to touch, test and try them prior to purchase.
Courtesy of loss prevention technology like lockable iPad holders, tablet stands and smart product displays, the customer can now touch, test, and try while the devices remain protected against theft. Check out our cable locks to secure tablets and iPads.
You can learn more about our iPad stands and secure tablet holders for retail here.