Every customer journey is unique.
As fragmentation erodes at brand loyalty, retailers are constantly finding ways to make the shopping journey more seamless for consumers. From self-service to store digitalization, innovative tech-driven solutions have paved the way for quicker, easier in-store experiences designed to improve the customer journey.
When implementing new technology in the store, consumer buy-in can be half the battle. To help achieve this, it’s important for the retailer to provide the right application, the right configuration and the right education about the technology – to both consumers and staff - to make it easier to achieve consumer buy-in.
Understand your customers’ unique preferences
The brick-and-mortar experience is one that many customers still highly value. In order to get customers to adopt any new technology, retailers will need to frequently integrate new touchpoints into their brick-and-mortar stores to encourage quick adoption. All the while, they must be careful to balance efficiency with the consumer’s high levels of experience.
Not all consumers interact with technology in the same way. By understanding the different technology preferences of shoppers at your various store locations, you’ll have a clear understanding of which solutions are most needed and where. This not only helps to increase technology adoption, but also provides the highest return on investment for the retailer since the solutions installed are what shoppers want and expect.
Nielsen’s International Grocery Shopper and Technology Survey, commissioned by Diebold Nixdorf, found six distinct "shopper types,” personas that demonstrate the variety of ways consumers leverage technology in their shopping journeys. Retailers’ tech investments should be tailored to their unique customer needs. Recognizing the different shopper types at your stores can ensure your investments add true value and are immediately utilized by your customers.
Create customer journeys for today and tomorrow
While today’s retailers must constantly adapt to changing consumer expectations and preferences, it’s become clear that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not enough. A “right-sized” modular approach ensures that the right technology meets the needs of each unique consumer expectation. Deploying the right mix of technology upfront is critical in creating an efficient checkout experience.
Being able to quickly adjust store technologies, and sometimes even store layouts, has become a key differentiator. Modular self-service systems offer this flexibility and agility by providing the optimal mix of service, at the right level and at the right location, so retailers can focus on creating unique, personalized experiences for their customers that can adapt to customer journeys for today and for tomorrow.
Make the integration seamless
Modularity also applies to the software and services being used as well, and that means having an open system in place that enables agility in building and maintaining an ecosystem of partners and innovation. Being able to deploy new innovations seamlessly into an existing open ecosystem not only provides added convenience to the shopping experience, but can also generate excitement amongst shoppers and incentivize them to incorporate these intuitive and easy-to-use enhancements into their regular routine.
It is essential that retailers embrace openness to keep up with ever-changing consumer expectations. This requires an open IT philosophy and flexible technology architecture that can work with multiple vendors, ensuring that retailers can introduce new solutions in the fastest possible way. If this past year has taught us anything, adapting to sudden, unexpected changes is imperative to business success. Open retailing enables a smooth evolution of consumer journeys and IT landscape in order to navigate a future that is increasingly hard to predict.
Ensure your service is ‘always on’
Self-service has quickly become a mission-critical process for consumers, and they expect a frictionless, hassle-free experience. This places heightened emphasis on uptime and availability of checkout solutions, especially for newly implemented systems. For the smooth adoption by consumers, it is critical that self-service equipment is “always on’—and at all times. Retailers can’t risk losing consumers’ trust due to malfunctioning systems.
Since the technology is expected to be available at all times, traditional service models no longer suffice. A new and different way of thinking about service and maintenance models is required: the fewer the number of business interruptions, the better. This requires moving away from a reactive services model to a proactive, end-to-end managed services solution.
Retailers are currently navigating the rapid momentum of widespread digital transformation. As they continue to roll out innovative technology for their shoppers, they must also take steps to ensure consumers are eager to adopt the new solutions by providing a positive and seamless experience. Through scalability and upgradability, retailers can stay ahead of consumer expectations and continuously meet their evolving demands.
Matt Redwood is director, advanced self-service solutions, Diebold Nixdorf.