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Surveying the shift in customer experience within retail

August 5, 2018 • Opinion, Retail

Surveying the shift in customer experience within retail

Surveying the shift in customer experience within retail

Price has always been the most vital differentiator for consumers, when choosing between competing offerings. In the digital era, however, customer service and experience is fast replacing price as a way for retailers to distinguish themselves from the competition.

Within a shopping centre, retail shop, restaurant or hotel, customer satisfaction and happiness should always be the top priority. In a perfect world, every customer wishes for a memorable experience with an unmatched quality of service.

For example, customers walking into a store will want to have assistance in finding what they are looking for as opposed to spinning around and being intimidated by the sheer size of the outlet. If the store is too crowded or the queue to the cashier is too long and has slowed to a crawl, then they would most likely lose interest, walk out and go somewhere else. The same applies to when customers can’t reach items on shelves or can’t find them, because the path is not clear or is too narrow. Consequently, a positive experience is crucial to the conversion rate at such outlets.

Through applications like Queue Monitor, Axis provides retail businesses with statistics about queue duration and queue fluctuations for a store, over the course of the day. Statistics on average queue lengths can help managers to determine how many staff members they should have on certain days and at certain times, leading to better planning and more cost-effective staffing. They can also set the queue thresholds to prompt the opening of a new cash register, when the number of people in a line-up exceeds the limit.

Furthermore, by learning customer demographics such as high and low foot traffic periods, movement around the store, which part of the store they spend a significant amount of time in, companies can enhance both the customer experience and their shopper conversion rate. What your business needs is to convert visitors into happy regulars and create opportunities of sales with positive word of mouth promotions.

So, how can you put your customer in focus? Seeing customers for who they are and what resonates with them is the beginning of creating a positive and memorable experience.

Step 1: Get to know your customers better

Profitable conversions and higher customer satisfactions come with understanding your customers and speaking to their needs.

Solutions such as AXIS Demographic Identifier determines the gender of your customers and their approximate age range, by detecting and analysing the faces of store visitors on a running basis. Amongst other benefits, this enables retail businesses to target marketing efforts at the demographic segments likely to visit in certain areas and at certain times. You can use the application, for example, to automatically change, in real time, the advertisement on a digital display to better suit the gender and/or age group of the person in front of the screen.

Step 2: React to customers need

Train your staff to take quick action to keep your customers interested and engaged – and above all from leaving your store unsatisfied.

Step 3: Analyse and adapt constantly

Customer satisfaction is an ongoing process based on information gathering, analysing, continuing to develop and change. The greatest thing offered by customer insights is the potential to improve over time.

Solutions such as AXIS Store Optimization Suite for instance, includes a series of business intelligence video analytics that run fully embedded on Axis network cameras. This means that there’s no need for additional hardware or servers, which greatly minimizes installation time and costs.

Retailers know that there are many factors that can impact – positively or negatively – the in-store visitor experience and overall profitability. Long queues are just one example of how retailers can lose a sale or a loyal customer, after having successfully enticed them into the store and placed the product in their hands.

For this reason more large grocery and home goods stores are abandoning manual monitoring and adopting automated queue analytics that can trigger a silent alarm to retailers to open additional tills or re-direct customers to a shorter check-out line.

While store optimization analytics are a great way to improve retailers’ bottom line, that additional profitability can still be eroded by loss and shrinkage (inventory theft). Retailers are therefore looking for intelligent technology solutions to prevent and mitigate loss. One example is grocery store chains who supplement their one-way traffic flow systems with direction detection analytics, to alert staff of a visitor exiting from the store entrance rather than the check-out area. Another points to a growing number of round-the-clock open membership clubs and gyms who use tailgating analytics to detect when members bring non-paying friends with them after regular working hours.

By combining a clear retail business goal with video analytic technology and expertise, retailers can improve profitability and maintain a competitive advantage. And in an increasingly competitive retail environment, such insight can be the difference between success and failure.

The return on satisfied customers is high, but the cost of unsatisfied customers can be even higher. Reacting is the vital process after thinking and measuring. Accurate and trusted data always makes a valuable difference. Ultimately, a happy customer is the ideal and best marketing tool a business can have. Now, more than ever, it is easy for retail businesses to use such data for improving profit margins.

By Roy Alves, Country Manager, MEA, Axis Communications

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