Five Ways Mobile Can Differentiate the Store Experience
It’s no secret that the rise of mobile devices is empowering consumers and altering the way they shop. But mobile isn’t just changing the game for consumers. It’s also empowering chain stores to take advantage of those behavior changes to strengthen customer relationships and distinguish the in-store experience.
Here are five simple ways that chain stores can take advantage of mobile devices like tablets to enhance and differentiate the in-store experience and drive sales:
1. Turn sales associates (particularly new hires and part-timers) into on-demand store experts
The store associate plays an important role in ensuring a positive in-store consumer brand experience. With increased consumer access to information about the product landscape, the challenge for retailers is ensuring that the knowledge of store associates keeps pace. This can be particularly challenging, as high employee turnover rates force retailers to regularly train new hires and part-time associates.
Mobile devices such as tablets on the retail floor present a unique mechanism for continuous training and knowledge reinforcement, shortening the on-boarding process and improving customer interactions by enabling any associate – regardless of tenure – to provide the consultative advice consumers are looking for when browsing in-store.
2. Use technology to enable enhanced in-store consumer self-service while also pushing relevant content and incentives in real-time
By leveraging an indoor positioning system, such as Apple’s iBeacon or Near Field Communication capabilities on mobile devices, consumers can use their own mobile devices as a self-service mechanism to easily navigate any store, locate the exact products they are shopping for, and access content related to product use and/or installation.
Consumer bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in a brick-and-mortar setting also enables retailers to push relevant content, such as specific offers, manufacturer coupons or specials, directly to a consumer’s mobile device in real time — increasing the average shopping order value by not only ensuring that consumers can find the products they came for, but also incentivizing them to purchase suggested companion items with special deals.
3. Recreate the YouTube tutorial trend in store by providing on-demand access to product demos, install guides and how-to advice
Installing a car seat. Cleaning lawnmower blades. Hooking up a new wireless router. If you need a “how-to” tutorial, chances are you’re headed to YouTube. Retailers have a huge opportunity to offer that same information to consumers at their moment of need – while they are in the store and ready to buy. Retailers can easily provide on-demand access to product demonstrations, installation guides and how-to advice via an interactive kiosk tablet.
Furthermore, access to in-store and corporate product experts can be enabled via video chat, providing instant answers. Answering customer questions in real time enables better conversion-to-sale and increases average cart size at check out.
4. Eliminate the lost opportunity of out-of-stock on the shelf
Shoppers hate facing an empty shelf when they’re ready to buy. To avoid that lost sale (and accompanying feelings of disappointment), retailers can enable consumers to check the store’s warehouse inventory for the particular product, instantly receiving rain-check certificates for items that are indeed out-of-stock. This ensures that a retailer maximizes the size of the shopping cart at checkout (and doesn’t give a share of the consumer’s wallet to their competition).
5. Enable collaboration on and best practice sharing of store set-ups, floor layouts and shelf displays
With tablets in hand, store managers can take precise floor and shelf plan views with them as they set up displays. If they have questions or need to collaborate with experts to optimize for local attributes or demographics, they can video chat or annotate on floor plan diagrams right from within the mobile application where the content resides. They can also capture video to share best practices with other store managers to improve performance across all stores.
By opening up opportunities for retailers to directly interact with customers and solve problems via the delivery of content and knowledge directly to mobile devices, chain stores have an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships and differentiate the in-store brand experience. This, in turn, can lead to improved sales — satisfied customers tend to spend more.
Brian Cleary is chief strategy officer of bigtincan.
Sustainable Solutions Can Also Deliver Savings
A recent project my firm was involved in illustrated that, with some creativity and a little extra effort, sustainable solutions can not only be achieved, but also can deliver savings
One of our large national retail partners approached us with a challenging, yet simple project: Adjust the shelving layout throughout their entire portfolio, which consisted of over 8,000 locations. The goal was to remove specific sets of shelving components to allow for clearer lines of visibility to all areas of the store. Any project of this magnitude naturally comes with its usual challenges, including coordination with the local store managers, varying shelving layouts, and an aggressive timeline to complete the projects were all factored in. But this one took the concept of “complexity” one step further by adding an element of sustainability.
The story behind the project was very clear: The retailer’s stores were receiving less bulky merchandise, so there wasn’t any need for the extra shelving, which often obstructs sight lines on the sales floor. The scope of the project was simple: remove and dispose of the shelving units. Expectations were set high and included minimal impact to store operations, heavy communication, coordination and validation at the store level and individual billing per store. The budget was tight, and our client asked us to be creative in ensuring that all stores be completed within the fiscal year. Internally we identified this project as an opportunity to promote a sustainable solution through an aggressive recycling program.
In order to execute a recycling project of any size there must be a well-conceived plan, one that is communicated to the client and, most importantly, followed closely throughout the project. Our first step was to notify the client of our desire to recycle the metal shelving since we needed their cooperation and permission to use on-site storage space.
Our next step was to engage numerous local and national waste disposal organizations to best understand the most efficient options available for collecting and transporting the waste products to recycling facilities. By strategically locating recycling dumpsters at key locations within the retailer’s portfolio, we were able to centralize collection and easily coordinate pick up and removal. Internally, we recognized that managing the recycling program was a job in itself and tasked some members of the project team with solely focusing on managing this aspect of the job.
Having trusted vendor partners throughout the country enabled our operations team to source thousands of sites to those we knew had the capability and understanding of how to complete a project of this magnitude and within our time frame. Each vendor received a store list, a link to the instructional video and specific instruction on the recycling component.
Our team was split into three different groups: project execution, recycling and invoicing. The execution team was responsible for assigning and educating vendors, as well as coordinating with store managers. The recycling team held vendors accountable for delivering the waste materials to the appropriate collection points, to ensure coordination with our waste recycling partners, as well as tracking the financial returns from the process. In the end our invoicing team closed the loop by invoicing each location per customer-set criteria.
Watching any plan come together and delivering on a promise to the client is what this business is all about. But the sustainability factor meant adding a little more to both the client and us. Keeping 100% of the shelving, support posts and insert pins from landfills delivered a truly sustainable solution. By using local recycling locations throughout the country, we were able to help our client in their efforts to be continuously green. We also reduced the overall project cost by 15%, converting what may have been a disposal fee into a financial rebate.
Alex Dworkin is director of capital projects at Ferrandino & Son. He can be reached at [email protected].
Ferrandino & Son named a top 100 landscaping company
Farmingdale, N.Y. — Ferrandino & Son, Inc. has been named one of the largest landscape companies in North America by Lawn & Landscape magazine.
Ferrandino & Son, Inc. ranked within the top 10 on the 2015 Lawn & Landscape Top 100 list, which was published in May.
“Ranking in the top 10% of the largest landscaping companies in North America is a major accomplishment for us,” said Kevin Smith, COO, Ferrandino & Son,
The Lawn & Landscape Top 100 is based on 2014 revenue from landscape profit centers, and is reported by each company listed. Companies on the Top 100 list earned total revenue in 2014 of $8,026,808,707, and reported total employment (seasonal plus year-round employees) of 86,255 people. The list comprises 97 companies in 31 states and three firms in Canada.