It’s not just about delivering the best merchandise or products or solutions. Retailers have to innovate to deliver a first-rate customer experience using the best technologies they can get their hands on.
Despite the rise of eCommerce, shoppers are still spending majority of their time shopping in-store. According to The Joy of Shopping –a 2012 report from global design consultancy FITCH, brick-and-mortar stores are still the most important retail channel for consumers in China, India, US, UK, Brazil and the UAE with average time spent shopping in-stores the highest amongst other channels. This finding checks in with a more recent 2013 A.T. Kearney study which reports consumers spending 61 percent of their time shopping in stores, compared to 31 percent online.
While the physical store has remained important to consumers, the role it plays in the customer journey has shifted over the years. Contrary to initial predictions, the offline world is becoming integrated, not overtaken, by the online world as consumers spend their time transitioning between Online to Offline (O2O) and back again. This has prompted a change in customer expectations of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.
As consumers evolve their shopping behaviors and expectations, retailers are experimenting with different approaches, technologies and channels to best deliver not just merchandise but their brand promise as well.
On this front, one solution to winning customers’ satisfaction that is gaining traction with large retailers is mobile point of sales (mPOS). According to research firm IHL Group, the mPOS market will surpass $2 billion in hardware and software sales in 2013. In fact, in the US, 28 percent of North American retailers, particularly department and specialty stores, plan to implement mPOS by the end of the year. And while US and Europe leads the way in mPOS adoption, Asia Pacific countries have such as India, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong are now emerging as new destinations for investment in this technology according to a recent 2020 Foresight Report on Mobile Point of Sale Technology.
With customers citing long waiting time and unavailability of stock and product information as some of the top shopping frustrations, it’s easy to see the value mPOS solutions bring in enhancing the in-store shopping experience.
Consisting of a handheld mobile computer or device with a payment card reader and compact, portable printer, mPOS solutions give retailers the ability to process payments anywhere with any card type, including debit, credit, loyalty and gift cards.
mPOS solutions have proven to be particularly effective in closing the sale during peak shopping periods when customers are in a rush to complete their purchase are more likely than usual to walk away empty-handed if the waiting time proves to be too long. At the same time, it frees up precious retail space that would be otherwise taken up by fixed sales counters and enable sales staff to engage with customers in a more personal manner.
In dense cities like Singapore and Hong Kong where commercial property prices are high, mPOS enables retailers to be more efficient with their use of space and helps them reduce their property expenses. mPOS also opens up opportunities for retail environments without four walls and where space is a constraint, such as weekend markets and pop-up stores.
In Singapore, this solution have helped an established department store to process payments much more quickly, easing queues at the cashiers and saving customers the hassle of waiting in line. Armed with their own mobile devices retail sales staffs never have to leave a shopper’s side. And when integrated with the customer relationship and inventory management systems, these mobile devices enable retailers to look up a customer’s information, check inventory, verify prices and quickly and conveniently check out with a shopper.
Interested to learn more about how leading retailers are leveraging mobile technology to deliver merchandise and brand promises more effectively? Visit Zebra.com or drop us a message at SGMarcom@zebra.com