--10th Sept 2018
How to Supercharge the Retail Customer Experience and Revenue with RFID
By Alan Tamny, Global Product Management, Checkpoint Systems
How can retailers maintain or even thrive in an environment in which brick and mortar sales and profits have become more challenging? According to a PWC study, 78 percent of shoppers say sales associates with deep knowledge of a product is important to the shopping experience. And a study by McKinsey and Company notes that if retailers can improve the customer experience by 10 percent they can grow revenue up to 10 percent.
That may sound straightforward, but the problem has been that consumers expect the same shopping experience they get online inside a store -- but retailers aren’t yet delivering it. In fact, it remains difficult for consumers to get product info and recommendations, find products and get assistance in dressing rooms to request alternative sizes and remember merchandise for later purchases.
Today, with customer experience and engagement in the spotlight, retail stores realize the increased need to engage their customers and improve their experience, service and satisfaction levels. The objective is to retain customers who have an infinite number of channels to spend their disposable income. As such, in-store engagement, customer retention and loyalty have become key to brick and mortar stores
Why Is Customer Engagement So Important?
The bottom line is that customer experience equals loyalty, which directly correlates to increased revenue. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 14 times higher than selling to a new customer, according to Market Metrics. When satisfied by a shopping experience, 73 percent of consumers will recommend a brand to others and 46 percent say they will “trust” that brand’s products and services above others, according to SDL Global CX Wakeup Call.
Some 97 percent of global customer say that customer service is “very” or “somewhat” important to their choices, according to Microsoft. And 62 percent of global customers have stopped doing business with a brand or organization due to a poor customer service experience, according to that same Microsoft research. Finally, once a customer leaves after a poor experience, 80 percent say they will never come back and, if they do, 59 percent say they will be less loyal, according to SDL Global CX Wakeup Call.
Recommendations Increase Sales
One area that online retailers have struck gold with is the use of recommendations. Retailers make heavy use of recommendations in their on-line stores because it significantly enhances revenue. For example, Amazon has recommendations based upon purchased items or those customers indicate they own. Several studies indicate that recommendation in online stores have increased revenue in general from 5 to 15 percent. For Amazon, that number is said to be 35 percent.
The same holds true in the brick and mortar world. In-store recommendations increase sales. Consider the use of mannequins, which have proven a simple way to boost sales since their introduction in the 19th century. They have a number of things going for them. They provide a better shopping experience, they recommend products, they guide shoppers to product locations, they are inexpensive and they fill voided shopping areas.
Improving on the Mannequin
Now consider putting RFID to work in creating an electronic version of that mannequin, which provides all of those benefits in a digital environment. Today, RFID makes possible solutions in which interactive solutions utilize data collected from RFID-tagged merchandise to provide customers with recommendations and additional information about a product. They can sense when an RFID tag approaches and provide shoppers with information about the product, as well as which other sizes and colors are available in the store via touch screens. Apparel stores can use them as an extension of mannequins.
When shoppers look into an interactive mirror, they can see not only what an item of clothing will look like on them, but also display different combinations of merchandise and guide shoppers to product locations or let shoppers call associates for assistance. If internet-enabled, shoppers could post their selections on Facebook/other social media platforms or email a wish list to themselves for later consideration. Consider the benefit whether used on the salesfloor, in fitting rooms or via smaller devices mounted on display tables. Versions for associates could be used to enable staff to better serve customers by delivering more information about products and accessories.
Early feedback on these systems has found that visual images of product recommendations increases upsell and can increase retail sales between 10 percent and 30 percent.
It’s clear that stores need to evolve in order to meet the demands of today’s consumers. The in-store experience is very closely aligned to the store’s overall success. Interactive shopping is a unique way to use RFID data, helping engage the customer, improve satisfaction and boost sales.
Alan Tamny is responsible for assessing needs and requirements, and for delivering client-specific solutions that provide a real return to the business bottom line. Alan has a Bachelor of Science degree in systems analysis and more than 35 years of IT experience, 25 of which have been focused on the retail industry. His experience ranges from speaking as an IBM representative on what the internet would bring to companies and consumers in the early 1990s, to delivering complete assessments of retail store efficiencies and operations, to more recently focusing on how RFID and IoT technologies can assist retailers in delivering a better customer experience, while improving their bottom-line business. Alan can be reached at Alan.Tamny@checkpt.com
Checkpoint Systems, a division of CCL Industries, addresses two critical issues for its customers: Improving Profitability and Improving Consumer experience. With consumer demands accelerating at an extraordinary rate driven by technology, Checkpoint recognizes the challenges faced by its customers in the rapidly evolving retail market. We deliver intelligent solutions – bringing clarity and efficiency into the retail environment anytime, anywhere. Through a unique offering of software, hardware, labels, tags and connected cloud based solutions, Checkpoint optimizes operational efficiencies through analysis of real time data captured throughout the Supply Chain and in store then translating this to clear concise actions and tasks.
We provide end-to-end solutions enabling retailers to achieve accurate real-time inventory, accelerate the replenishment cycle, prevent out-of-stocks and reduce theft, thus improving merchandise availability and the shopper’s experience. Checkpoint’s solutions are built upon 48 years of radio frequency technology expertise, innovative high-theft and loss-prevention solutions, market-leading RFID hardware, RFID software, and comprehensive labeling capabilities, to brand, secure and track merchandise from source to shelf. Checkpoint’s customers benefit from increased sales and profits by implementing merchandise availability solutions, to ensure the right merchandise is available at the right place and time when consumers are ready to buy. Checkpoint operates in every major geographic market and employs 4,500 people worldwide.