From barcode scanners to payment machines, the ‘beep’ sound is synonymous with transactions made over the counter; and daily, across these cashier counters, we are able to conveniently complete our purchases with some of retail’s greatest innovations.
In this article, we round up 3 innovations that have drastically improved the retail customer experience over the past few years.
1. Mobile Wallet Payment Options: Ease and Convenience
Walk into any retail outlet in Singapore and you wouldn’t be surprised to see cashier counters littered with a variety of payment machines. From NETS and credit card machines to QR codes for mobile wallet users, consumers are spoilt for payment choices.
How do mobile wallet payment options improve the customer experience?
Ease and convenience of mobile wallets allow retailers to benefit from seamless automatic loyalty enrollment (ALE) at their Point-of-Sale (POS) counters. With features such as ALE, retailers are able to streamline loyalty campaigns and build incredibly personalised brand experiences for their customers. Through mobile wallet payment applications, retailers can drive targeted brand engagement campaigns over text SMSes and even electronic direct mails (EDM).
Instead of having customers carry wallets stuffed with a dozen loyalty cards, mobile wallet apps are able to consolidate all of a customer’s membership cards into a single mobile platform for convenient use. At the same time, retailers can tap on the functionalities of the app to understand customers’ online shopping behaviour and drive relevant and high-quality marketing campaigns for different customer segments. A win-win situation for both parties!
Did you know?
China is paving the way as the country that is closest to becoming a cashless consumer economy. According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), from January to October 2017, a record-breaking sum of 81 trillion yuan was made through mobile payment transactions, surpassing its previous year’s 12-month record of 58.8 trillion yuan.
2. Online Marketplace: Breadth of Reach
The online marketplace is an online retail platform channel that emerged with the invention of the Internet. It is a platform that facilitates commerce between merchants and global consumers.
Benefits of Online Marketplaces
Generally, online marketplaces have lower barriers to entry. As compared to traditional brick-and-mortar shops, it is relatively easier and way cheaper to set up a virtual shop. Online marketplaces also offer overseas sales opportunities as it allows retailers to sell and cope with round-the-clock trading. There are increasingly more retail businesses that have chosen to adopt the online marketplace as their starting sales channel so as to compete more effectively in the omnichannel retailing market.
How do marketplaces benefit the customer experience?
Besides providing a 24/7 and 365-days-a-year shopping platform for consumers, an online marketplace also promotes product diversity. Shop to your heart’s content because it does not matter if you are a “Tech Geek” or a “Fashionista”, there is something for everybody.
A marketplace can be considered as an additional shopping channel as well. When retailers build a cohesive online and offline shopping experience, also known as an omnichannel retailing strategy, it gives customers the freedom to create their own shopping journey.
According to eMarketer, the more channels your consumers use to engage with your business, the higher the likelihood of a weekly purchase.
Lastly, a marketplace promotes price transparency. Product prices are displayed openly in the market, which allows consumers to compare and fairly decide on their intended purchase.
3. Data Analytics: Targeted Customer Experience
These days, goods and services can be easily sourced by conducting a search online. With so many choices available, businesses may find it difficult to differentiate their brand from others, attract and retain customers.
Fortunately, with data analytics and research, retail marketers are beginning to gain insights into consumers’ behaviour and purchase patterns. With a better understanding of customers’ needs and wants, retail marketers are able to implement and recommend suitable campaigns and promotions according to customers’ demographics, interests and past purchases.
How does data analytics provide a targeted customer experience?
By leveraging on data insights of customers, businesses are able to study, infer and understand the motivations behind a purchase or conversion. It also provides a direction for building meaningful content, which in turn helps to drive better customer experience, engagement and long-term loyalty campaigns for relevant target audiences. A study by Mckeinsey showed that companies saw a 15% – 20% reduction in cost to serve, 10% – 20% boost in cross-selling opportunities, and a drop of 10% – 25% of customer attrition rate when they made use of data to improve a customer’s journey.
It is an exciting time we live in. Technological innovations have changed the retail landscape. With customer experience as an upcoming business differentiator for the next decade, we are likely to see the implementation of virtual or augmented reality, fully automated retail outlets and more.
We have only identified a few innovations that can improve a customer’s retail experience. If we have missed out on a few of your favourites, please leave us a comment.