How Retailers Can Prepare To Engage Customers Eager To Return To Their Favorite Stores.
Chances are you’ve been hunkered down for quite some time – working from home, conducting business online, and, perhaps, being driven slightly batty by kids who find themselves quite literally doing homework.
The coronavirus pandemic has put most industries, and, quite frankly, most of life in a holding pattern. Obviously, right now nothing is more important that slowing the spread of the virus and protecting the elderly and those in society who are most vulnerable.
We can all accept that these measures are for the best. However, that doesn’t quell the economic worries for families and businesses across the nation who can’t simply hit the pause button without feeling some serious consequences. As brands and retailers, we are in the thick of it right now and the reality is there’s no precise timeframe for when things will begin to resemble the normal course of business and we can welcome customers back into our stores with regularity.
What is certain, however, is that this difficult period of must-take measures and precautions will end. The question is, when it does will brands and retailers be ready?
Downtime Doesn’t Have To Be Downtime
Understandably, the initial reaction sensible brick and mortar brands and retailers had at the onset of the pandemic was concern. Certainly, there was some worry about the economic impact on their businesses. However, the real concern was far more human. How do I pay my employees? How do I safely serve my customers and community? Do I shut down completely or limit hours? The questions were many and the answers were few – and in many respects that’s still the situation today.
How has your brick and mortar business faired during the Covid-19 crisis? How are you preparing for the challenges of the road back? To explore possible solutions, click here.
Brick and mortar retailers have absolutely been forced to hit the “pause” button. But it’s not the “stop” button and it’s definitely not the “eject” button. Brick and Mortar retail is the cornerstone of the global economy. It will bounce back and customers will return to stores eager to reconnect with the brands they appreciate.
That’s not to say that things won’t be different than they were before. That’s not to say that the road back won’t have a few twists and turns that brick-and-mortar brands and retailers will find themselves forced to navigate post-pandemic. It’s not to say that customer behavior won’t be somewhat different and that the competitive landscape won’t have changed, perhaps, even dramatically.
Brands and retailers, particularly those in high-value categories – mobile electronics and cellular services, home appliances, cable and internet providers – are likely to face a brick and mortar landscape that doesn’t act quite as it did before, and, like it or not, now is the time to start preparing for it.
Leveraging Retail 4.0 Technology Can Provide Valuable Insights
One of the challenges brick and mortar retailers are sure to face is winning customers back from online shopping. The COVID-19 crisis has driven people to e-commerce out of necessity and getting them back into stores presents a number of challenges. One vital component of any solution, however, will be to bring the power of digital technology into the physical retail space. It’s no secret that the digital breakthroughs of Retail 4.0 were driving brick and mortar sales pre-pandemic and they’ll be the tools that reveal the valuable insights business will need to improve operations and engage with customers coming back.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for brands and retailers who rely on brick and mortar experiences to move their products,” said Eduardo Santaella, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Mobile Insight®, a leading Retail 4.0 solutions. “I’m confident, as we emerge from these uncertain days, the way forward is going to be using the latest digital data solutions to better understand where individual retail businesses stand and how they should be interacting with customers.”
The growth engine post-pandemic will most certainly come from digital technology. Brands and retailers that can effectively and intelligently capture data from RFID, robots, and in-store sensors, as well as sales, pricing, merchandising and even activity data from employees, contractors and 3rd party labor providers will be the leaders.
Solutions like the one offered by Mobile Insight® capture and distill data into clear reports that provide brands and retailers visibility across their stores, personnel, operations, markets and customers. The insights gleaned from this data is a tremendous advantage in driving informed and confident decisions and that’s exactly what’s going to separate the pretenders from the contenders as retail pulls itself out of this downturn.
What Can These Digital Insights Tell Brands Retailers?
That all depends on how deeply the solution runs. However, integrating a comprehensive digital and data program can reveal insights that really can’t be gained any other way. Here are a few valuable outcomes that brands and retailers can achieve with the right Retail 4.0 partner.
Higher Conversion Rates
Real-time data capture is like a window into every store, across every city and region in which you operate. Instantly gain insights into store appearance, product placement, promotional materials, merchandising and other factors that impact the in-store purchase journey. You’ll experience stores exactly as customers are experiencing them for a clear look at what’s working, what’s not and what you need to change in order to deliver experiences that result in better conversion rates.
Cost Reductions and Productivity Increases
Where and how you use your valuable resources (employees, contractors and 3rd party labor providers) will be more important than ever. So having the right data to drive territories and store coverage will be of paramount importance. Using smart e-forms to capture location specific, real-time data on pricing, inventory, promotions, shelf space and product movement provides visibility to make impactful decisions. These are important things to know under any circumstances, but coming back from the coronavirus they will be mission critical.
Merchandising and Price Optimization
The most effective data-driven solutions don’t just look within a retail business, they examine factors outside it that impact revenue – weather, geographic data, traffic periods, competitive intelligence, time-of-day, day-of-week, and much more. The bigger the picture, the better retailers can adapt, adjust and improve. Combining this with sales data and in-store conditions will drive smarter merchandising and pricing strategies.
Was your retail business capitalizing on the emergence of Retail 4.0 prior to the COVID-19 outbreak? Click here to learn the ins and outs of retail’s digital transformation.
The Retail Rebound
We’re still in the midst of the international upheaval created by the coronavirus has caused. So it can be a little difficult to look beyond the moment at hand. However, the day will come when looking forward isn’t just possible, it will be imperative. How we’ll retailers are prepared to greet customers returning after a long while away will directly correlate to how well these business rebound. With this in mind, perhaps exploring digital retail management solutions is something for brands and retailers to consider sooner than later.
To explore Retail 4.0 solutions offered by Mobile Insight®, visit www.mobileinsight.com.
Mobile Insight® is the only retail management solution designed to meet the brick and mortar sales challenges of high-value brands and retailers. Unlike hardware and software providers that focus on fast-moving goods, the Mobile Insight® platform delivers assisted sales solutions for more complex, interactive and customer-centric environments. Combining data from in-store systems, 3PLs, employee and partner activity, Mobile Insight® enables informed, smarter decisions that drive sales and operations excellence. For more information, visit www.mobileinsight.com.
Seeing is Believing. See Mobile Insight® in Action.
Experience game-changing insights that will improve your retail operations and drive revenue.