The Consumer’s expectation from the Retail Stores today is very different from what it used to be a decade ago.
Given this background, we have focused on creating a suite of offerings around “Next Gen Stores Management” which encapsulates our understanding, expertise and thought leadership on how to leverage the ever changing technology scenario to meet and exceed consumer expectations.
The Situation Today
Traditional retail was only limited to physical stores in the past, however the advent of digital/social commerce has changed that equation with an increasing number of customers shopping online for the convenience it offers.
To bring the physical stores back into prominence, they need to be ‘reinvented’ to provide an in-store experience that’s greater than the online convenience. Also, in the omni channel world, physical stores are not stand-alone as they play a crucial role in online purchases as two-thirds of customers purchasing online use a physical store either before or after a purchase.
Hence, it’s important to have a seamless transition between stores and other channels. This necessitates the stores to undergo a transformation in the way they operate and retail leaders are already on their way in transforming their stores to meet the customer expectations in store.
In order to differentiate themselves from the stiff competition, retailers are identifying ways in which they can engage customers’ in-store, empower store associates with knowledge and technology and improve store operational efficiencies. Some of these ways include:
Real-time in-store promotions
For a personalized engagement, retailers are using proximity beacons to push real-time promotions to customers’ smart phones. This approach not only results in a happy customer but also provides a wealth of data based on customer response.
In-store location tracking
In an effort to understand the most trafficked areas in a retail store, retailers are trying to track the path traced by customers’ in-store using Wi-Fi triangulation technique. By doing this, retailers gain an insight into which section /aisle of the store attracts more traffic and at what time. This information is used to improve space and floor planning in turn improving the store efficiency.
Virtual product trials & product information
Few apparel retailers have started making it easier for customers to try their apparel using augmented reality. This creates a differentiated experience for the customer which no online convenience can match.
Consumers have the opportunity to shop via the endless aisle, in which shelf space is extended to the brand’s full catalogue of products and accessible content. This provides the customer a broader category that they enjoy in online shopping.
Electronic price tags
Some retailers are using electronic price tags to change prices in real-time, helping retail store staff to save the time consumed in manually changing the price tags.
With the advent of mobile applications and NFC, customers are completing the sale on the shop floor without having to wait in the queue.
Reward sales associates
Knowledgeable and empowered sales associates create better customer engagement and brand image. Hence retailers need to invest in training sales associates and rewarding them for the difference they create.
HCL’s rich expertise helps retailers develop new strategies for profitability, optimize store merchandising & store operations, customer engagement and retention, and create a differentiated in-store experience. Some of HCL’s retail solution offerings in this space are:
- Store Inventory Management System: HCL helped Australia’s largest retailer with more than 2500 stores to develop its store inventory management system. HCL completely automated the calculation of ordering quantities and the solution distributed across all stores, head office and warehouses automated the ordering quantities each store is intended to receive. The solution resulted in tremendous savings through competitive advantage from mix-and-match promotions and optimized store stocks levels.
- Annual savings from POS Solution: HCL helped the largest co-operative group in the world to develop a POS solution to handle a multitude of business transactions. HCL customized a chip & PIN module and integrated it with the existing POS application. The solution resulted in an overall annual savings from various operational areas including transaction processing, fraud avoidance, prevention of lost transactions, overheads, chip & PIN cards, “real time” stock control, and price and product auditing.