In a world where you can buy just about anything online, you'd think brick-and-mortar stores would be a thing of the past. However, data on customer trends is proving that this isn't the case, and it likely won't ever be.
In fact, this year's Connected Retail Consumer Insights Survey by CI&T found that their survey respondents do slightly more of their shopping in physical stores (52%) versus online (48%).
So while online shopping certainly has an appeal, physical retail stores have things online retailers don't, namely personalized service.
The truth is, most people want human interaction when they buy. They want advice from someone who knows them—especially when they are buying something valuable that means a lot to them. You don’t know how a guitar feels in your hands online any more than you know what a diamond ring looks like on your finger until you slip it on.
However, as your client base gets bigger, the potential of technology to help you automate tasks and optimize your business processes is undoubtedly attractive. So how do brick-and-mortar retailers make the most of retail tech without losing the personal touch customers crave? Is it really possible to automate personalized service?
In this article, we'll cover what retail tech is available to business owners, how to utilize it to enhance the customer experience, and clue you in on how Clientbook can help you automate without sacrificing personalization.
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What is retail technology?
Retail technology is any technology solution that facilitates retail processes and operations, such as accurate inventory management, customer engagement, price optimization, sales forecasting, and more.
This can be anything as simple as a computer or cash register to more advanced technologies like in-depth customer loyalty apps.
Examples of retail technology include:
- Electronic point of sale systems
- Inventory management systems
- Contactless payment options
- Client management software
- Online chat bots
How do you utilize retail technology without losing the human touch?
So how do you automate personalized service while still keeping things truly personal? Below are some key ways you can use tech solutions to enhance the retail experience for your customers.
Create client profiles
The best place to start when utilizing innovative technologies in retail is by ditching the Rolodex and upgrading to digital client profiles.
If you're a brick-and-mortar store owner that's been in the business awhile, you likely have amassed hundreds if not thousands of client contacts. That's a lot to keep track of manually, whether that's in business cards, notebooks, or spreadsheets.
Making the switch to clienteling software is one the best business decisions you'll ever make. With clienteling software, you'll have an easy way to host personal customer information on each of your key clients all in one place.
This can include things like their contact information, product preferences, purchase history, and even important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. Better yet, with features like tags and filters, you can easily sort and organize your clients into groups that make sense for your business.
Avoid mass messaging
Next, when it comes to automating your communication, avoid mass messaging all of your clients at once. While it's easy to click one button and be done with it, your clients will see right through it.
Instead, you can set up digital reminders for when to reach out to which clients and when. For example, at the start of each month you can set up a reminder to reach out to all of your clients with a birthday that month and give them a special offer.
This combines the convenience of automation while still including a personalized offer that makes your client feel special. Clienteling software like Clientbook makes it easy to automatically set up reminders like these so you don't have to think about it.
Pick and choose what you automate
Finally, it's important to remember that you don’t have to make a complete digital transformation and automate every process to make the most of retail technology. Instead, focus on the areas where digital technology makes it easier to serve your customers—not remove you and your team from the equation entirely.
Rather than chasing every tech trend, choose the ones that make sense for you and your business. For example, if you have a lot of clients to keep track of, making investments in technology like client management software is a good choice.
On the other hand, going all out to implement something more advanced like virtual try-on technology may not make as much sense for your budget and target audience. It all comes down to understanding your customer expectations and making the changes that will help you meet them best.
Example of technology in retail: Clientbook
Clientbook is a powerful tool hundreds of retail companies have used to get meaningful insights on their clients through digital clienteling.
With Clientbook, our software enables you to develop long-term relationships with your retail customers, keep track of important names and dates, and even increase your sales—all without having to hire more sales associates.
But don't just take our word for it. See how Clientbook has worked for major retailers around the country.
For many brick-and-mortar retailers, making investments in technology may seem daunting at first. Especially if your current business model doesn't rely on much technology or you feel as though you're not in tune with today's tech trends. But really, it doesn't have to be much of a leap—because the most useful technology simply enables us to be more human.
Your sales team isn't there to analyze customer behavior or memorize hundreds of clients' names, birthdays, product tastes, and purchase history. They're at your store to provide a human-to-human connection with the people who walk in to shop with you.
By providing your team with the technology they need to automate the more tedious tasks, you're empowering them to focus on the conversations they're having and the connections they're making with your clients. And isn't that a better use of their time?
If you're ready to start utilizing retail technology like Clientbook, we're here for you! Schedule a personalized demo today to see how clienteling software can help you automate so your team can focus on what matters most.