Maintaining a smooth and positive in-store or on-site customer experience is just as important as ever, especially in certain industries. Technology is not only improving the way we interact with customers online, but also the on-site customer experience we can deliver. In fact, the same principles that govern how we should approach user experience online can be implemented in retail stores and offline businesses too.
If you run a retail store, or an offline storefront, as part of your business and you are serious about creating an equally positive user experience online and offline, then technology is your friend. There are ways technology can improve your on-site customer experience substantially.
Speed Is King
We all know how much speed and smoothness are important online. The most successful websites are those who can deliver the information customers are searching for the fastest and in the most seamless way.
Speed is just as important offline. The last thing you want is for customers to become irritated because you need too much time to input their orders. Systems such as tablet-based Point of Sale and contactless payments are put in place to improve that very purchase experience.
You can see the way technology improves this department the most in restaurants and coffee shops. Older POS machines are being substituted by tablets. There are even restaurants that put a tablet – complete with interactive ordering system – on every table so that customers can interact with the system directly.
You can learn more about restaurant POS systems to see just how far we’ve come. Gone are the days of using number-based codes to input customer orders. The new generation of POS systems now utilizes pictures, visuals, and even tactile elements (i.e. animations and color changes) to speed up the process of capturing customers’ orders.
Integration and Automation
Another way customer experience can be improved is by ensuring product availability. This requires a combination of good inventory management and careful record keeping. For smaller stores, maintaining just-in-time inventory and reaching that sweet spot in terms of efficiency are relatively easy. For bigger outlets, however, things are a lot more complicated than you think.
The solution to unravel such a complex relationship between inputs and outputs is automation. Modern systems are designed to talk to each other. Your POS system, for example, can communicate with the in-store inventory management system you use. This means you can keep track of your inventory in real-time.
It is even possible to take it a step further and automate inventory management altogether. You can set thresholds for every item and the system will make automated purchase orders when those limits are reached. Depending on the suppliers you work with, inventory management systems can also communicate with the suppliers’ own systems directly, eliminating the need for human input.
Payment Made Easy
The critical part of on-site customer experience, however, is payment processing. Customers need to be able to pay for the goods and services they buy quickly and securely. The rapid rise of our fintech industry means there is no shortage of solutions in this department.
Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are leading the pack with their payment solutions. They work because you don’t need any special equipment to accept payment using Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. In the case of Samsung Pay, the payment solution will even work with older EDCs.
Newer solutions opt to eliminate the need for an EDC altogether. PayPal, for example, allows its users to make offline payments by scanning a QR code. Google opts for NFC for offline payments. Other solutions use secure online data transmissions to simplify the payment process to a whole new level.
What’s great about all of these technologies is that it will only get better. New startups are hard at work trying to improve on-site and in-store customer experience. It will be exciting to see these new solutions at work in the near future.