Empowering the store associate in an age of disruption

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A 2016 survey by Planet Retail which, among other things, said that the stores that empowered their workforce on the sales floor with technology that enhanced the customer experience through the provision of personalised services and information, would prosper. Fast forward 6 months and this year’s NRF show in New York underpinned those findings, both in the conference sessions and around the exhibition halls.

This is the age of disruption, according to Matthew Shay, President and CEO, National Retail Federation. From the introduction of technology and omnichannel retail, to global politics, nothing is what it was.  However, he commented that disruption brings opportunities to shake up the status quo and introduce new technology, making retail, better, and stronger than before.

Throughout the conference sessions, much time was spent looking at the trends behind the rise of the omnichannel shopping experience. Deloitte USA used NRF’s “Big Show” to release the findings of a survey which said, amongst other things, that 90% of US retail transactions were still carried out in store. What was interesting, was that according to analysts OC&C, 70-80% (dependent on country) of all purchases were researched online prior to visiting the store.

The takeaway from this is that today’s customers are very well informed, they understand the product range, the options, the prices and availability – so much so that the general perception in the industry is that they most likely know more than the store associate that they then engage with.

So finding the holy grail of an integrated customer experience – one that reflects in-store what the customer finds online, is what will keep the retailer relevant in such a febrile and disruptive environment.

matthew shay

Empowering the shop associate, as highlighted by Planet Retail, is one sure way to re-dress the potential information imbalance between staff and customer. For those away from the till services such as virtual merchandising, assisted sales and mPOS, tablets are the technology platform of choice. But how do you ensure that they deliver day in day out and create that exceptional customer service?

At Ergonomic Solutions, we have been developing technology mounting solutions that bring these applications to life. Whether a lightweight, easy to carry sled is your requirement or a more involved product such as Dock & Charge™ which both provides charging and a secure and stable platform for applications that could be both static or mobile, we can enable that in-store omnichannel strategy.

Dock & Charge brings the best of both worlds. It is equally at ease in a static in-store ordering or stock/price look up environment as it is in a mobile queue busting or assisted sales application. Once returned to its dock, the device is automatically charged, as is any peripheral, such as a payment terminal.  It is truly a multi-role enabler.

samsung tablet docking station

The Vario™ sled brings enhanced user ability for tablet based “away from the till” customer engagement tablet based applications. Vario provides protection against everyday bumps and in combination with the OpenSpace range of accessories is the platform that turns a tablet into a solution. Its’ lightweight and discrete design also ensures that it provides an integration platform to which mobile payment devices can be added to create a truly mobile point of sale solution.

vario hand strap m-case

mPOS has spawned a range of apps, designer peripherals including mobile payment devices and mini, Bluetooth enabled printers – all the functionality that any retail environment would expect at a fraction of the investment. Our range of tablet sleds and enclosures provide the ideal platform for mobile payments, allowing the integration of payment devices through the use of our M-Case range of sleeves for devices from Ingenico, Miura and Verifone.

m-case m010 options

Tablets, by themselves, are not a solution per se. But, when combined with the correct integration platform, they allow an organisation to deliver the customer experience that today’s consumer expects.

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