Technology should augment the in-store experience
For most merchants, technology is a critical part of the business. Retail software enables the easy management of sales, while some level of hardware is necessary to run applications and complete transactions. However, some industry professionals may grow distracted by the latest innovations and forget that the newest advancements should complement their operations rather than running in parallel or even competition with the rest of the organization.
Writing for ScreenPlay Interactive, Ken Lonyai recently reported that some retailers may be investing more in technology than in customer service. The source noted that after sending an email through Whole Foods' corporate website about an ongoing problem with a local store, an email response took one week to arrive. Because nothing way resolved, Lonyai proceeded to call the Northeast Regional Office eight days later. Instead of finding help, Lonyai was met with the office covering for the store. Rather than the website enhancing the customer experience, it proved ineffective as the reply time was slow. Additionally, it resulted in a lost patron.
Chris Petersen, president of Integrated Marketing Solutions, remarked on RetailWire that technology that is not integrated into the shopper's journey will be ignored or potentially decrease sales. He noted that even as most consumers review products online, the majority still purchase items in stores, so innovations should work in concert with traditional brick-and-mortar sales. In his opinion, mobile apps that help store employees convince consumers to buy from their locations are retailers' best tech investment.
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