There seems to be a revolution happening in the retail sector right now, and I for one am in favour of it. Retailers are finally convinced that if our high street stores are to survive threats such as ‘showrooming’ and the appetite for online shopping, then they must stop thinking about ‘point of sale’ alone and get focused on ‘point of service’. By that, I mean that they need to shape the entire shopping experience with the customer’s retail journey in mind.
Much of this boils down to providing choice; regardless of your customer’s demographic, location or stage in a decision making process.
Here are a few things to consider in the shift from point of sale to point of service:
- Pay and Service Points. It might be time to review the type of service points in place and where they are located. Too often I see pay-points situated around a store to suit the retailer rather than the customer.
- People Power. Ensure that your staff is well trained, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. This will encourage more impulse purchases, cross-selling and up-selling. More importantly, they are the backbone of a service-centric retail operation.
- Visualise the Journey. Are your customers shopping for products ‘off the shelf’ or heavier bulkier items that they might view in store, deliberate over and come back later to purchase? This all affects store layout and the location and style of your points of service.
- Mobile. Mobile devices such as tablets are not just for customers, they’re for service advisors too. Consider them to facilitate transactions and help with customers queries, from anywhere in the store.
- Blended Technology. It’s no longer the case that in store customer facing technology is just about tills and queuing systems. We are already seeing glimpses of how hardware and intelligent software alone can offer customers purchasing flexibility, newer payment options, and engaging services such as online ordering services and kiosks. Furthermore, there’s greater integration between traditionally store-based and online systems.
- Click and Collect. This is a good example of how the best of in-store service can be coupled with online excellence to dramatic effect. With 40% of consumers expected to use reserve and collect services over the Christmas period it’s a growing trend. Not to be ignored.
Finally, remember that 70% of shoppers’ decisions to purchase are made in store. And, to convert these decisions into sales, retailers are now realising that they must meet customers’ service expectations with a clever blend of people, process and technology.
Elkjøp, owned by Dixons Stores Group is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries, with 285 stores across six countries and 9,200 employees.