Our guest blog from Mike Kearby, President, AML
When it comes to brick-and-mortar retail, the utilization of mobile technology is hands-down the leading vehicle for carrying over the online experience into the store.
It’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retail has been trying to come to terms with technology. Online shopping has eroded the customer base and now stores battle “show-rooming” on smart phones — right in the store aisles. A Pew Research report from 2014 indicates that 27% of cell phone owners pric-shopped while inside a store. Technology is the new enemy, right?
Engaging shoppers in-store
Survival and success is all about giving customers what they are looking for and serving their needs in a timely fashion. Retail stores must create a better shopping experience to keep people in the aisles and close sales. If a customer gets the information they are looking for from the store, they are more likely to buy and keep the smart phone (and show-rooming) in their pocket or purse.
Brick-and-mortar stores need to develop omni-channel strategies to create this environment. Even the best staff can’t be available for every question all the time.
That’s why interactive self-service kiosks can be a highly-effective, complementary solution to ensure a higher probability of engaging more customers in the store with applications that include:
* Display Promotional Videos on Products * Preview CDs and DVDs * Look Up Price * Suggest Accessories * Provide Available Stock Info and Options * Access Warranty Details * Gift Registry * Loyalty Programs & Email Promotions
Retailers can control the message & speed response
These interactive, high tech tools are not the bulky, computer-in-a-box fixtures of yesterday, and they certainly aren’t merely price checkers. They can’t be. Retail kiosks can provide product information, aisle location, options, up sales, and they can even play videos and audio tracks.
A recent survey of senior retail executives by Timetrade reported that 75% of these executives cite excessive wait times as the top reason customers leave a store without making a purchase. They can’t get answers fast enough, and they can’t find what they are looking for. A strategically placed kiosk can provide this information and more to customers, plus the larger display and high-performance architecture means these devices can deliver digital content with more impact than a smart phone.
Ease of integration
These next generation interactive kiosks seamlessly integrate with retailers’ in-store environment and existing software ecosystem, allowing IT departments to manage the kiosk like any other desktop station or server. Software developers are not limited by embedded operating systems thus expanding the functionality of the system. The devices have Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability for flexibility to place the device anywhere an Ethernet cable can be pulled. They are affordable, so they can be placed throughout the retail environment. Truly, a “No Hassle” solution to customer engagement.
Retail kiosks have capacitive touchscreens to offer users an intuitive experience similar to their smart phone or tablet, ensuring continuity between at-home, on-line, and in-store. In other words, brick-and-mortar retail can put technology and information at the fingertips of shoppers, right in the aisle of the store.
Boosting retail mobility in-store
The utilization of mobile strategies alone is not enough to ensure omni-channel success if the goal is to elevate the customer experience for as many customers as possible, not just those carrying smartphones.
Implementation of a kiosk strategy, properly deployed with multi-purpose functionality and the right content control, can bridge the gap and put technology at the fingertips of virtually any customer that walks through the door.
Those relying on mobile and mobile alone, may find themselves falling short in the omni-channel arena.
About Mainstreet & AML
AML engineers and manufactures kiosks and interactive customer displays. Kiosks by AML are powerful, compact devices suitable for a wide-range of user-facing applications with extremely sharp messaging retailers can control.
Mainstreet and AML are partners focused on delivering flexible, effective consumer-engagement technologies to retailers throughout the US with solutions and migration strategies customized to the unique needs of each client.
Thoughts or comments? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download AML’s whitepaper, BEYOND RETAIL MOBILITY