Retailers are increasingly building customer relationships through technology advancement at all touch-points, through service enhancement to meet customer expectations, and through the personalisation of the shopping experience, according to LakeWest Group's annual point-of-sale (POS) survey.
LakeWest suggested that, by understanding customers, identifying their needs and preferred channels, and then forecasting future demand, retailers can better align their people, processes, and technologies to gain and retain loyal customers.
Identifying the customer
According to Robert Antall, CEO for LakeWest Group, "By proactively recognising what drives the customer's purchasing decision and tailoring the organisation to those drivers, a retailer can successfully build additional value."
Of course the first step is identifying the customer at the check-out. Retailers have made huge strides in recent years. The survey found that 70% are capable of identifying their customers at the check-out, whether through loyalty cards, telephone numbers, or even e-mail addresses.
To be more personal
But LakeWest also found that there are still many opportunities for retailers to further tailor and personalise the loyal customer's shopping experience.
As retailers look at their business from the customer's point of view, they are realising that customers expect recognition for their loyalty, and the personalisation of promotions to each customer is crucial in that equation. More than 20% of the survey's respondents said they already offer targeted promotions based on specific customer purchases, groups, or segments.
Technology makes it easier
Apart from personalising the shopping experience, retailers are also now responding to the customer's need for better service and more product information by offering additional service options. The majority of respondents said they present their customers with such options through kiosks, mobile POS, self check-out lanes, and self-service price check terminals.
The majority of retailers are also continuing to increase their spending on technology, including software, hardware, and peripherals. They are also increasing their spend on payroll across all company touch-points to help enhance the customer's overall shopping experience.
The survey's findings have been made available via LakeWest's web site.