Early last week we showcased our HPE ProLiant Easy Connect solution at RBTE – the largest retail show in the UK. So we wanted to share some of the comments and learnings with you.
It’s clear that retailers are seeking to raise their game on the customer experience stakes. No surprises there when competition is so fierce. Even more so when you consider that 5 of the top 20 UK retailers in 2008 are no longer in the top 20 today.
So what’s the plan and how are they going about this? Well the busiest areas were Digital Signage and Display innovations with tremendous interest in 3D displays to make the in-store experience more engaging and in some cases more personalised. Dixons are actively using signage to drive interest and interactivity in-store, however they believe the real value derives from delivering more personalised offers to mobile in the store. Their engaged customers buy 90% more frequently and spend 60% more per transaction.
Retailers of the future need to take the store to the customer – so that word ‘omni-channel’ is ever present. It’s so important to offer a quality single experience across on-line and in-store. No point in offering good in one if bad in the other. Not when you consider that 67% of digital natives still prefer to go in-store. Using this as a vehicle to compete with the likes of Amazon who can’t do ‘Click & Collect’ was also key. 70% of online sales in Boots was ‘click & collect’.
It’s also about using applications to redefine the way in which store assistants can improve customer experience. The introduction of improved RFID in-store technology is enabling shop assistants to be confident that they really can go quickly into the back of the shop to find the size you were looking for – thus reducing time spent searching and increasing face to face time with customers. The net result is a better customer experience and a motivated sales assistant.
The impact of RFID technology is measurable. Richard Jenkins, Head of Loss Prevention & RFID at Marks & Spencer said their stock taking was now 40% more accurate and Rob Mitchell, Manager of Stock Operations at John Lewis said they had seen a 50% reduction in stock held at the back of the store due to improved accuracy. These are game changers as there is no point in your shelves being full but with the least selling product. Retailers want to ensure that the best selling lines of stock are always available while reducing their working capital.
Real time customer data processing was also a key discussion point. Boots had very sophisticated segmentation and pen portraits of their customer base into 30 variables and used this to drive interaction online or instore/mobile. The goal was to offer new customers slam dunk offers to get them to engage more frequently, and with loyal engaged customers to give them offers that spread their purchasing wider and of course higher. However there was still considerable discussion about the challenges retailers face because of using different customer databases for on-line and in-store. Further complicated with the need to serve customers seamlessly across multiple devices.
As these needs grow retailers will increasingly require a decent in-store technology platform that is secure, simple to integrate applications and simple to install – and with the ability to be cloud managed from one location so you don’t have to travel from store to store to repair IT issues. Well that’s where Easy Connect comes in so we are pleased with these trends and looking forward to further helping retailers reach new horizons. Perhaps the best part was when a major retailer used one of our clients Made.com as an excellent example of a company that was borne in the cloud but has now opened showrooms successfully.