We’ve all been there. You arrive home to find a ‘sorry we missed you’ card for that dress you needed for your big night out. Frustrated, you’ve now got to travel to the local depot, which is only open whilst you’re in work to collect your items, reminding yourself to not order online from that retailer again. Sound familiar?
Improving delivery and collection service through Click and Collect is crucial to retailers, as customer expectations are higher than ever and 43% of customers (including 52% of 21-25 year olds) agree that a store using Click and Collect means they now shop online.
Inspired by Argos back in 2000, Click-and-Collect is used by approximately 72% of UK shoppers and is proving to be a major boost to multi-channel sales conversions. However, while convenience and free delivery are amongst the top motivators for consumers using Click and Collect services, recent Cybertill and You Gov consumer research highlights that retailers are potentially failing to deliver a pain free service:
- 65% of consumers are frustrated when items ordered for click and collect arrive later than promised or they only have a rough collection date and time
- 57% are most frustrated when there are long queues for collection, with 52% being most frustrated when they find themselves waiting in the wrong place!
- Poor mobile signal in-store is also a bugbear for 38% of respondents
Providing the customer with more choice over how they shop, this multi-channel approach is an essential element in helping retailers retain market share. Introducing an efficient Click and Collect service can be easily integrated into retail software and is something that cloud based EPoS and retail management systems are leading the way in. Providing business of all sizes the ability to seamlessly integrate Click and Collect, gives retailers the competitive advantage, whilst keeping up with customer expectations. As a retailer you need to take the time to assess if you want to improve your delivery and collection service and more importantly, if your current retail system can cope with the improvements.
7 tips to improve delivery and collection:
Real Time Stock:
Real time stock is essential in letting customers know that the items they want are available in store. No one wants to waste their time travelling to a shop only to find the item they want is out of stock. Cloud EPoS is leading the way with this and retailers are not restricted stock only being updated during store opening hours. All stock is real time and updated when each reservation or transaction is processed whether in store or online with no time delay.
More people are using mobile smartphones as part of their customer journey and with online sales for September sitting at 17.8% in the UK, providing customers with the option of reserving and collecting in store via their smartphone is crucial, as is allowing payment via mobile in store on collection to avoid queuing, which gives the customer an improved experience.
Convenient Store Collection:
Customers will want to choose a collection option that is most convenient to them, which may not necessarily be from the nearest store to their home. Allowing customers to select collection from a variety of stores will provide convenience and encourage future ordering and collections. John Lewis use their Waitrose stores to their advantage for customer collections, providing them with the option to collect their orders when they do their weekly shop.
Alternative Collection Points:
High street retailers have followed their online competitors including Boohoo, ASOS, Missguided and Littlewoods in joining forces with companies such as Collect Plus to offer alternative pick up points from over 6000 local stores across the UK. Increasing choice and convenience for the customer without them having to travel too far encourages repeat sales and loyalty.
Most fashion retailers offer next day collection on orders placed before 8pm; however, stores such as The Fragrance Shop have implemented click and collect express within two hours, providing customers with the speed of ordering a last-minute gift and collecting at a convenient time, especially if they are in a hurry. Other retailers following suit are B&Q and Cotswold Outdoor with their one hour click and collect service available for items held in stock in store.
Communication is key:
63% of consumers stated that real-time updates via text message, email or push notification is a something they want from retailers offering click and collect. Shoppers need to know that their order has been processed and when their items are ready to collect, while retailers need to communicate all this information quickly and at every stage of the order process to keep customers happy. Failing to do so can leave the customer feeling confused and unsure when their order will be available, potentially damaging future orders.
In store experience:
You’ve placed your order and are collecting it from the store but you’re not sure where the collection desk is and there is a huge queue for the till! Once again frustration sets in. This is where retailers need to ensure the in store experience for customers keeps them coming back. Having a separate, well sign posted area of the store dedicated to collections will remove frustration and long queuing times, leaving the customer feeling confident in ordering again from the retailer, especially as this is a pain point for over 50% of consumers surveyed. Adding fitting rooms to the collection area for items reserved also provides a seamless experience, blending the online and in store experience.
How does your collection and delivery service stack up? Download the latest Cybertill and YouGov consumer Click and Collect research here.
“I need help with GDPR. I’m not sure what I need to do to make sure we comply.”
Cybertill’s retail consultants hear that phrase often.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been inundated with emails pleading anything from ‘we’d love to stay in touch with you’ and ‘please don’t go’ to the less emotive ‘GDPR update.’ Ok, so that last one was actually a B2B e-mail, but the message is still the same. Businesses are panicking over who they can or can’t contact because there are still so many unknown areas. Could this be why only 40% of businesses worldwide are prepared for the change in law?
According to research, a massive 60% of organisations are at risk of missing the GDPR deadline… just to remind you, it’s almost a week away…
One of the most common queries we face is, “so, I’ve sent out numerous emails to my contacts asking to opt-in or opt-out, but we’ve had no responses, what do I do?” Hmmm tricky. Some e-mails I’ve received ask me to ‘click here to opt-in’, others ask ‘click here to opt-out’; whilst some assume that if they don’t hear from you, you automatically opt-in, or vice versa. The answer to the question is purely based on the content of the emails, but never assume in B2C communications that because someone hasn’t responded that it’s ok to keep contacting them! It’s not worth the fine.
Another common question posed to us is, “someone asked to be removed from our database, what should I do?” GDPR is all about protecting an individual’s rights and personal data. If someone wishes for their personal information to be ‘forgotten’, then no matter how disheartening it might be, it’s a must.
Who has the right to be ‘forgotten’?
According to the ICO, as it stands, someone has the right to request the removal of their personal information from your database if any of the following applies:
- The contact’s personal data is no longer necessary for the purpose which you originally collected or processed it for
- You are relying on consent as your lawful basis for holding the data, and the individual withdraws their consent
- You are relying on legitimate interests as your basis for processing, the individual objects to the processing of their data, and there is no overriding legitimate interest to continue this processing
- You are processing the personal data for direct marketing purposes and the individual objects to that processing
- You have processed the personal data unlawfully
- You must do it to comply with a legal obligation
- You have processed the personal data to offer information society services to a child
All makes sense, right? Maybe. This is something that isn’t so clear cut, especially for Charity retailers who have to consider Gift Aid. Legally, charities must keep personal data in order to submit Gift Aid claims to HMRC.
When does the right to erasure not apply?
The only way you can keep a contacts personal data legally is if any of the following applies:
- To exercise the right of freedom of expression and information
- To comply with a legal obligation
- For the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority
- For archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research historical research or statistical Purposes where erasure is likely to render impossible or seriously impair the achievement of that processing
- For the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims
This would suggest that a person’s right to have their personal data removed does not apply if a charity needs to comply with a legal obligation, such as Gift Aid claims. Keeping Gift Aid records are so important to charities as it gives them the opportunity to increase their funds by up to 25% – something which is well worth the ‘opt-in’ for.
The important bit…
I can only stress though that this is my professional opinion as a marketer from reading the GDPR law and how it affects the retail and charity retail industries. If anyone is still unclear about the legislation, then we urge you to seek legal advice.
A great starting place for any queries on GDPR is the ICO website: https://ico.org.uk I have found it an immense help!
Cate Trotter of Insider Trends took to the stage at RBTE 2018, and shared some incredibly innovative examples of in-store tech. The future of tech in-store is actually less techy than you may think…
The future of the store isn’t about gadgets. It’s not about screens. In fact, Cate Trotter opened her talk pointing to a photo of a beautiful screen on display in a shop, saying “screens like this are always easy to see in-store because no customers are using them”.
Okay, so touch screens in stores are not the future of retail. But what is?
In order to answer that, Cate urges us to think, “What would Oprah do?”
The role of technology in the future of retail is going to be less about the actual tech that customers view in-store, and more about relationships. The relationship with the customer comes first, and technology that will make that relationship stronger is the only kind of technology that businesses should invest in. How tech can bring the brand and customer closer together?
Visible tech in-store is a barrier to relationship building. Technology that can disappear into the background and act as a connector between brand and customer is where the magic will really happen.
The smartest retailers don’t think like retailers. Instead they think like tech companies that sell stuff.
One day in New York City, Cate went to check out a brand-new shop called Glossier. The city wasn’t that busy that day. The Glossier showroom was located on the 5th floor of a building that looked very normal. It was a hidden space, accessible by a very standard, slow lift. Opening the door to the 5th floor, the showroom was very busy. It was a small space with very little visible tech. Customers were talking to shop staff and ticking boxes on sheets of actual paper. People in that showroom were not buying because of the snazzy retail experience, they were buying because they really wanted the product. But why?
Glossier started as a blog. It built a following and really got to know readers. It was only when they truly understood their readers, and through that relationship, noticed a gap in the market and launched a product line of accessible luxury products. No brand was offering this, and now they are worth $400m. Boom.
Smart retailers are using technology to reach consumers outside of the store, and provide a store experience that their customers really want, none of this high tech low return investment…
But how can bigger brands access secret sauce and execute at scale? Again, it comes back to relationships with customers. Smart brands are moving away from the top down relationship, which is passive, and starting to flip things on their side and build a better dialogue with customers about what customers want. This brings the relationship to life across an interconnected ecosystem. Next, retailers will be looking to use technology to understand what customers want on an individual level.
All technology is becoming democratised and accessible. Manufacturers are becoming retailers. Dyson, for example, have their own shops and are selling direct to consumer. In fact, a whole raft of big brands are choosing to open their own spaces and provide a direct to consumer selling channel.
Retailers are starting to behave like manufacturers – Adidas has in-store technology that scans bodies of customers, tailors a sweater design and ‘prints’ the sweater in-store in a couple of hours.
Retailers are beginning to behave like the media – Nike is selling jerseys complete with an NFC chip which allows customers to access exclusive content, (and not boring stuff!). The chip unlocks really cool things such as playlists created by their favourite players, and access to VIP tickets and products. Nike is part of a movement of retailers that is totally rethinking what retailing means.
The media is also behaving like retailers – Marie Claire opened a shop called Fabled. The storefront is a rolling showcase of the products the magazine is featuring that month. Blurring content and commerce.
Point? Any brand can be anything. It’s no longer enough for brands to differentiate themselves on product alone, and technology has a big part to play in the future of brands.
Read our brand new You Gov report on Gen Z and how they interact with stores here cybertill.com/gen-z
Milk Group is a prime example of a business remaining agile, using data (and gumption) and shifting their business to meet trends. They started as a photography studio, and using the links developed with the fashion industry, they started an events company. From there, they started a creative consultancy that created a digital content platform to rival Vice. After all of that, they noticed a relay gap in the market and launched Milk Makeup which is now one of the fastest growing beauty brands in the world.
Once retailers understand the customer, they can grow very quickly. That’s why smaller brands who are good at understanding their customers, can do it quickly and grow quickly.
BUT, it’s much easier for bigger brands to get the insights in the first place. For example, Under Armor grew from £2b to $4b in a year. And this growth wasn’t really driven by the store. They did it by spend a lot of money on well used fitness app, so they could gather lots of data. Through that data they got insights that changed all parts of the business. Invaluable insights such as when people were and weren’t exercising, when customers were going into Under Armor stores, and when they were going into competitor’s stores. The marketing team were able to optimise campaigns based on the data. Right now, Under Armor have pretty much saturated the US market, and because they have a data machine backing their decisions, they have de-risked expansion into other markets.
Alibaba is the next example of a large retailer using multi-channel data to drive decisions.
Alibaba is gathering so much data about customers through all of its sub-brands. Through this, they are able to mine so much data about customers that they can actually use the data as market research to launch sell-out products. For example, they used their review data to find out what people wanted in a dish washer.
The answer? Storage space, higher drying temp, and the ability to control it through a smartphone. So Alibaba manufactured a new dishwasher that was the hottest selling dishwasher that year. Smart.
Once a brand has shifted its relationship with customers it can continue to gather data through a new type of interconnected ecosystem. Smart brands are interacting in a two-way capacity.
But next wave is to join all of the available channel-specific data together in a meaningful way. Constantly capturing information about what customers are doing in each channel and sharing it with other channels to optimise and personalise the experience.
Sprucebot is a technology that can text your shop staff with important information about your shop guests. Farfetch’s ‘store of the future’ uses smart hangers and an app in order to allow customers to save products in their app for later.
Farfetch provides customers with an app that prompts you to check in and it pings the assistant with all of your data. It also offers connected smart hangers so shop staff can tell what’s being moved around, and what isn’t.
The future of retail belongs to the brands that connect to the customer rather than the brands that have a store on every high street in the country.
Vita Mojo is a café in London that is taking service augmented by technology a step further. It is a healthy fast food café where customers personalise every aspect of their meal, so diners know exactly what is in their lunch. Vita Mojo looked to simplify and automate, so they are moving into wearable tech. Then, the restaurant can recommend meals based on your goals and activity or pull data down from other health apps to find out what their customers should be eating.
So, what now?
- Technology is the biggest driver of change, but it’s better that it’s invisible.
- It’s not about displaying technology to customers. For smart brands, it’s about using technology to do something better and more meaningful for customers
- Whilst it is possible to achieve that without technology, technology allows brands to offer that relationship at scale.
How will tech change customer experience? It will make retail more magical. Put it to use to understand your customer. Remember, what would Oprah do?
Cybertill are at RBTE 2-3 May at stand D130. Cybertill offers a complete retail management solution including point of sale, automated stock, clientelling, and more to help you create that in-store ‘magic’. Stop by and talk to our retail consultants, or click here to schedule a demo.
As a retailer you are likely to want to expand your business at some point, but you’re not too sure where the best location is, if there is a demand for your products and services elsewhere or if you have the budget to open a new store? Then you have a light bulb moment – Franchise and concessions.
Cloud technology is at the heart of streamlining multi-channel retail as Neal’s Yard Remedies have experienced. Since implementing a Cloud EPoS system they have executed the hosted platform across their owned and around 20 franchise stores. Jason Cook, Head of IT at Neal’s Yard Remedies explains;
“It has helped us see what franchises are doing from a sales perspective, we are able to support them better and they are now able to take part in larger systems and solutions we have as a company”
7 ways cloud technology can benefit your franchise and concessions:
1. Single platform
Often franchises are run on smaller, individual systems that are not integrated with the main company information systems, creating a lack of flexibility and providing a barrier to the customers experience. Implementing a single Cloud platform can combat this fragmentation by streamlining the retail systems, integrating them across the whole business. Crucially this gives you visibility of sales without having to rely upon each individual shop providing the data.
2. Real-time stock control
Wouldnt it be great if you could remove inventory complications and warehousing issues that cause confusion and problems between your sales channels? Well there is a simpler way to automate your stock management system, with a Cloud retail system that gives you full, up to date visibility of your stock levels across all channels, whether online, mail order or in-store, including franchises and concessions.
Imagine having access to real time customisable reporting and supplier integration, along with maximum stock reduction and replenishment in your franchised stores. A strategic Cloud platform can give you this and more making sure you have products in the right location, ensuring you never miss out on a sale.
3. Unified gift card function
Imagine your customers frustration when they are told they can’t use a gift card in a franchised store. It’s not something retailers or customers want. Implementing a hosted retail solution allows you to unify your gift card function, gaining new customers and increasing footfall in-store and online . Approximately £5bn worth of gift cards are purchased in the UK each year and on average, shoppers spend 40% more than the value of the card on purchases – are you missing out?
4. Improved loyalty program
Remove shop by shop loyalty schemes that restrict customers to collecting points only in certain stores and form long term engaging relationships with your valued customers. It would be great if you could customise your loyalty schemes to suit you and your customers, whilst maximising spend and retention wouldn’t it? If your system can’t keep up with the demands of cross-channel loyalty then it’s time to rethink your retail platform to get the most out of your loyalty program.
5. Click and reserve/collect
Click and collect is now used by 72% of UK shoppers and is proving to be a major boost to multi-channel sales conversions, with this in mind it should be at the forefront of your delivery and collection strategy. Customers are expecting to be able to order a product online and collect from a store of their choice, not providing franchise stores with this option means you could be losing out on vital sales. Cloud based EPoS and retail management systems that streamline the click and collect/reserve function are leading the way in providing the customer with the convenience they desire from every retailer today.
6. Restrict sensitive information
Your current system houses data that you don’t really need or want your franchise stores to see, it could potentially be damaging if sensitive information was easily accessible. Restricting individual locations from carrying out certain tasks or having visibility of cost prices and margin on goods will avoid problems that may occur, creating harmony between your owned and franchised stores and concessions.
7. Greater customer experience
Perhaps the most important benefit to Cloud retail platform is creating a better more streamlined multi-channel customer experience. Customer demands are crucial to the drastic changes in the retail landscape, if your IT systems can’t keep up with these demands then it is time to re-consider what platform is best suited to help your franchises and concessions succeed.
Open your purse or wallet and chances are you’ve got more cards in there than a magician. Most of them loyalty cards for almost every high street retailer. From the old faithful Boots Advantage card, to the newer, My John Lewis card, and not forgetting the Nectar (keep saving points on so you can buy your Christmas shopping) card. The list is endless.
Thinking up great loyalty program initiatives and standing out from the crowd is something that retailers should be putting a lot of effort in to when trying to increase retention. Not only do loyalty schemes encourage repeat custom, they can improve customer engagement and interaction with a brand. High street health and beauty retailer, Superdrug, took on board what customers expected from a loyalty program, offering a points-based system along with exclusive customer promotions and chances to win instant prizes. Proven to be a popular choice with their loyal customers.
Recently, Simon Comins, Commercial Director at Superdrug, wrote in Retail Week that ‘for retailers, the purpose of loyalty schemes remains the same – data is precious.’ Gathering enriched data about your customers provides retailers with a more detailed insight into their behaviour and buying process. Access to customer data is an imperative part of creating targeted, personalised promotions, that ensure shoppers view their loyalty programs as a valuable asset to them that keeps them engaged with a brand or shop.
In-store and mobile
Retailers are now encouraging customers to utilise mobile apps in store, either to access special one-time deals, or swipe their digital cards at the till. Gone are the days when a customer would be stood at the counter, searching through thousands of loyalty cards, while the queue behind them continued to grow. Opening an app while the sales assistant processes items makes it easier to find and means customers have fewer cards to carry around.
Superdrug’s success with their loyalty program isn’t something retailers should ignore. Retailers should make the most of mobile apps in store, by offering one-off promotions available to customers who walk through the door. Or, imagine how pleased a customer would be if they opened their app at the till and saw they were eligible for a 10% discount…?
How can retail management systems help?
Successful promotions and customer loyalty strategies are crucial elements of your retail management system; or if they aren’t, then they should be! Having access to a central platform to leverage these promotion and loyalty programs is a must in todays’ competitive world of retail.
EPoS retail management systems can offer many opportunities for varied and customised loyalty programs that allow retailers to drive more advanced promotional activities.
As omnichannel becomes the norm, retailers may want to consider running multiple promotions across all channels, enabling them to maximise engagement with customers. Segmenting and targeting your customers with personalised promotions tied into your loyalty programs, or being able to schedule in promotions are effective ways to increase retention.
Many retailers now offer special birthday promotions, personalised to each individual customer. Intelligent EPoS systems allow retailers to see what each customer purchases, providing valuable insight into their favourite products and brands. Gaining this understanding has the potential to unlock improved relationships, create higher levels of retention and importantly, increased advocacy amongst customers and retailers.
Things to consider
If you are thinking about reviewing your current retail system, you may want to ensure the software offers more than just till functionality:
- Does it have the ability to manage diverse types of promotions at once? Offering points-based, discounts and reward-based loyalty programs at the same time is crucial to gaining retention.
- Can your system offer you the flexibility to tailor promotional and loyalty ideas to different customer segments?
- If your current system doesn’t have the capability to mirror in-store and online promotions, whilst centrally managing the program, then you may be missing out.
- Gathering secure, rich data is a must if you want to target your promotions towards your loyal customers. If you can’t do this, then chances are you won’t keep your customers coming back to you.
Our RetailStore EPoS system is more than a till. If you’re thinking about investing in a new or updated EPoS retail system, you should consider the option of integrating a loyalty program function that integrates into the back-end system, giving you the opportunity to be innovative with your promotional strategy, keeping your customers engaged and interested.
Investing in the right EPoS retail system will help you sell more and serve your customers more effectively.
Are you reviewing your current retail systems? Why not download the free guide ‘Which EPoS System is Right for You?’ guide here: