Millennials: the force driving thrifting’s upsurge

 

 

What’s old is new again.

Need proof? One look at the resale market—particularly in clothing -- makes it abundantly clear that a change in market dynamics is happening.

A few months ago, GlobalData and online clothing retailer ThredUP released a study that estimated that the U.S. second-hand apparel market was worth $24 billion in 2018. Within 10 years, by 2028, the used-fashion market in the United States could explode, reaching $64 billion, an increase of 166 percent.

Goodwill stores and their ilk – church thrift shops, charity donation centers, etc. – have been around for years. That hasn’t changed.

But their ability to use technology to help categorize, price and display goods has exponentially increased. That, coupled with a burgeoning online presence has helped the segment grow.

But what has really made it popular is the millennial generation.

 

Millennials: today’s social conscience – and it shows in retail

Millennials are particularly attuned to being stewards of the planet.

As a result, the idea of using natural resources to create new products when used goods serve the purpose perfectly is anathema to these young adults.

Buying hand me-downs has a significantly smaller ecological footprint than purchasing new: According to thebalance.com, the annual environmental impact of a household’s clothing is equivalent to the water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles.

Millennials also are extremely interested in supporting brands that share their personal values and tend to support purpose-driven companies.

So, buying clothing from a charity that supports low-income communities is a win-win for millennial shoppers.

 

Quality and value don’t have to be mutually exclusive

This generation is also focused on quality and value.

Buying a winter coat at a discounter may be the least expensive option, but its material quality is likely to be poor.

A better option might be a coat made of high-quality materials, but the price could be quadruple that of a big box competitor.

The best option, therefore, for these shoppers, would be a gently used coat from a high-quality brand.

Pricing will be drastically lower, with minimal degradation in quality.

For example, Patagonia's Worn Wear program encourages customers to bring in their old clothing to local stores for resale, in exchange for a gift card.

Many of those also include a note describing how the item was worn.

That creates a very special connection among the item, the seller, and the buyer.

Patagonia's mission: “To build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

The cost and quality of new items can never match the value proposition of cost and quality of used.

For example, a new dress shirt bought at a big-box discount retailer may cost the same as a used luxury brand, but the latter will last longer because of its quality construction. It may even be re-thrifted.

In addition, for truly vintage items, there is not only the appeal of "the hunt" for the piece, but also of its uniqueness.

For example, finding and wearing a Levi's red tab, sherpa-lined denim jacket from the 1980s has a special appeal.

 

Impact of ignoring the millennial mindset

Andy Ruben, a former global strategy exec at Walmart and founder of Yerdle, was a recent featured speaker on The Tony Robbins Podcast.

He warned of significant ramifications for retailers that did not recognize this Millennial mindset.

Retailers that ignore the customers' dedication to sustainability and their intense focus on value, as well as bespoke-type items, could result in a significant erosion of their customer base.

Recent studies report that sales of resold clothing will surpass the revenue of "fast-fashion" retailers, such as H&M, Forever XXI, etc.

In response, struggling department store chains could follow Patagonia's model and allow clothing "trade-ins."

Or, they could open a thrift-mart for luxury items, where customers could buy used items of highly desirable brands.

It's the same business model as that of a new car dealer that also owns a used car lot on the same property.

Another related concept that brick and mortar retail could adopt is one successfully launched by Rent the Runway, in which a woman can rent a designer outfit for a special occasion, spending far less money than if she'd bought the clothing.

Millennials are surpassing Baby Boomers in population; there are roughly 73 million in each group.

As a result, retailers' focus must evolve to take into consideration this generation's unique characteristics, including millennial's inclination to gravitate toward brands that are an expression of their personality.

Thrifting is environmentally conscious, budget-friendly and provides an opportunity to hunt for the just-right, uncommon item, which speaks directly to how millennials want to spend their money.

Knowing your customers and winning their loyalty: correlation or causation?

 

 

Customer retention is a huge challenge for retailers.

The cost of acquiring new customers is far greater —some studies suggest as much as seven times more — than keeping existing ones.

Creating a customer experience that is satisfying is a much more cost-effective strategy than constant prospecting.

Many find stopping customer churn to be a serious challenge but recognize the advantages of cultivating a base of customers: a 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase the average profit per customer, according to experts.

Retention can boost the average profit per customer by 25% to 100%, according to fitsmallbusiness.com.

Nurturing the emotional connection to your brand

Existing customers feel valued when they can participate in loyalty programs.

The programs foster a sense that they are getting a deal in appreciation for their repeat business.

Some businesses assume that by simply rewarding customers with discounts, shoppers will become more loyal.

However, cultivating a strong emotional bond between a brand and its customers is what makes it more likely that a customer will visit the store in the future.

For example, offering a sales discount as part of a birthday recognition personalizes the rewards experience to every member, making each feel special and recognized for being a loyalty club member.

Winning loyalty with new customers & millennials

While well-run loyalty programs that deliver customer satisfaction clearly improve retention rates, they can also be a means to attract new customers.

First-time shoppers can easily recognize a program that makes customers a priority and that anticipates and exceeds their needs as soon as they join.

Having a well-designed loyalty program not only keeps returning customers happy, but it also grows the retailer's customer base.

Millennials are the largest group of shoppers in the current market, and as a demographic, they are very brand loyal.

However, they are particular about what they are looking for in a loyalty program.

No punch cards for this generation — or trading stamps.

The key to success with millennials is building a relationship, and that's done through offering special experiences rather than coupons.

For example, a credit card that offers advance ticket purchasing for popular events; a coffee shop that gives members a heads up to seasonal drinks or a makeup line that provides VIP access to a celebrity Q&A on a social network are ways to make a customer feel special and want to be part of a loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are important to retain customers and attract new shoppers, as well as to help retailers forge deeper, richer, customer connections.

Happy customers spread the word, and prospective customers generally trust friends’ feedback more than advertisements or other types of marketing.

Loyalty programs help polish a retailer's image.

Humans want to feel known, and loyalty programs help retailers provide that experience.

By doing so, retailers reap the benefits of repeat customers while attracting new ones — and enhancing their brand's reputation.

 

Bespoke is the new black

Luxury retail has always catered to the one-of-a-kind purchase: that piece of jewelry made expressly for her, that suit tailored just for him.

Today, that desire has filtered down to more everyday shopping.

Millennials are driving the bespoke movement — a trend that can differentiate retailers looking to stand out in customer service.

 

Super-charged customization

 

Bespoke is something made "just for you."

It is the shirt made on Savile Row, from the material selected by the customer and personally tailored for the perfect fit.

It is "super-charged" customization.

Today, bespoke suits are still prized, but today's workplace often has a casual style.

Millennials are leading the charge for a more dressed down look, while looking for clothing and accessories that allow them to stand apart from the crowd.

In addition, they are not expecting to pay luxe prices and are not as brand conscious as other generations, although they do consider brand "promise," or what they consider the brand stands for.

For example, NikeID offers a relatively inexpensive way to customize pairs of sneakers online and has an agreeable brand promise to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete/body in the world.

Levi's also offers a bespoke experience to rival that of Saville Row.

Customers can choose from organic cottons, canvas and chino-cottons, as well as different weights of denim from 8 oz to 22 oz.

Shoppers can select rivets and special accommodations, such as removal of belt loops.

The bespoke service is available in the Champs Elysées Levi’s store in Paris, London, New York and San Francisco.

Being unique takes time, however; the wait time for jeans in London is roughly 14 weeks, including one fitting.

The price: Approximately $610 for the first pair, with every subsequent pair in the same style $550.

 

Revenue potential

 

Offering bespoke products is increasingly seen as a profitable means of brand extension for both affordable brands such as Nike and Levis, as well as luxury brands such as Gucci DIY and Burberry Bespoke.

Research by Deloitte in 2017 found that 71.4% of U.S. millennial consumers were ready to pay a premium to get a product in some way personalized to them, indicating a huge market potential.

Another benefit to retailers is the ability to learn what trends may be coming, based on the bespoke items being requested.

Discovering trends from these unique items can help provide market research for brands' future offerings.

 

Growing demand for bespoke

 

Bespoke is not new, but the growing demand for everyday brands to offer some interpretation of it is.

That push, driven by Millennials but embraced by other generations as well, is likely to motivate marketers to offer more customization in their products.

As retailers escalate their data collection efforts by adopting artificial intelligence and leading-edge business analytics, personalization will become increasingly granular.

Items that may not currently be offered as bespoke may be identified as not only possible but also as desired.

Buying off-the-shelf, customized and bespoke may one day be just a few choices of several purchasing options, even at the department store in the local mall. 
 
 

Is your omnichannel meeting customers’ expectations?

 


 
Today's customers often want a fast, efficient shopping experience, and retailers are increasingly providing omnichannel experiences that are refined to meet those needs.

While retailers hope to gain revenue and gain efficiencies in marketing, what do customers view as a successful omnichannel experience?
 

Origin of omnichannel

 
Ten years ago, a retailer might offer an online as well as a brick and mortar experience, hoping to catch shoppers who couldn't make it to the store.

In essence, e-commerce began as a way retailers could extend their shopping hours.

Today, for many, e-commerce has evolved into a preferred means of shopping for many common items, but it doesn't replace traditional shopping entirely.

That's where a strong omni-channel strategy comes into play.

Clothing, electronics, furnishings — those are items that customers typically want to see in-person before buying.

They may not want to purchase them in-person, however.

Additionally, shoppers often want opinions of their friends before committing to those types of purchases.

Best-in-class omnichannel retailing serves shoppers through multiple sales channels—primarily online, in-store and social media — in a way that is presented cohesively, no matter how or where the customer journey began.
 

The reality today

 
From the customer's point of view, most businesses currently provide a multi-channel experience.

There is a brick and mortar store, a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and, perhaps, a blog.

Those platforms engage and connect with customers, but rarely as a cohesive unit.

In most cases, there is no seamless experience or consistent messaging across channels.

Many times, "buy online, pickup in store," or BOPIS, is unavailable, because inventory systems are disparate.
 

What it takes to do omnichannel well

 
A successful strategy should build a coherent, aligned experience across multiple platforms and involve stakeholders including the product, marketing, sales, customer support and customer journey teams.

Each shopping channel should work concurrently to provide a truly powerful experience through many shopping touch points.

Among the most important areas to align include:

  • Inventory: Online reflects in-store stock
  • Rewards programs: Use and earn points online and in-store
  • Shipping and delivery: Delivery status can be checked in-store or online

While the biggest changes have come primarily from the largest retailers, many smaller companies have actually driven the customer experience crusade, using social media platforms to engage directly with shoppers.

Start-up retailers generally have omni-channel "baked in" as a foundation, leaving larger companies challenged to compete.

Retail consultant McKinsey notes that an omni-channel transformation is the only way for a company to address rising complexity, provide an excellent customer experience, and manage operations costs.

A true omni-channel strategy improves communication within the retailer itself, because different departments are routinely updating statuses that are then reflected throughout the internal supply chain.

As a result, the strategy better meets the needs of today's customer.

Innovating millennial loyalty

 

 

Regular customers appreciate being recognized and rewarded for their repeat business, and loyalty programs typically offer discounts or exclusive deals to a retailer’s regular customers.

Many programs pretty much follow the same tried-and-true script: Make a purchase, get a reward.

Generally, those rewards are points that can be accumulated and spent or applied as a discount.

The oldest loyalty program is Betty Crocker's box top program, which debuted in 1929, and laid the foundation for today's loyalty programs.

But the times they are achangin', and brands know that the loyalty rewards programs of yesterday may not have what it takes to compete today.

 

Easier to earn, more fun to spend

 

Innovation is key to attracting and retaining customers, especially millennials, with rewards programs.

The hospitality segment has several creative programs.

For example, the Marriott Rewards program gives guests opportunity to earn loyalty points just by posting about their visits on Twitter, checking in on Facebook, or posting a picture on Instagram using a predefined hashtag.

Hotel chain Citizen M offers extras such as free on-demand movies, 10 percent-off each booking, free Wi-Fi and drink tickets which can be exchanged for free libations at the lobby bar.

 

Changing consumer sentiment

 

Whereas earlier generations may have had patience for collecting Betty Crocker's box tops, a majority of millennials do not.

Kobie Marketing's report, Loyalty in the Age of the Connected Consumer found that 4% of millennials won’t join a loyalty program if they consider the enrollment process for a loyalty program too time consuming.

They also want to reap the benefits quickly.

Accenture estimates the generation spends $600 billion annually, so crafting a loyalty program that appeals to millennials could indeed be profitable.

Traditionally, these programs have regarded customers with discounts.

But today, brands are learning that millennials prefer "experiences" to a discount punchcard.

Exclusive events or promotions are particularly attractive to young adults and is what drives successful loyalty programs such as Starbucks.

The coffee purveyor delights shoppers with music downloads, games, exclusive deals, advance notice of seasonal products and, of course, the occasional free coffee.

The variety and frequency of rewards encourages repeat customers.

 

Future of loyalty

 

Loyalty programs have enjoyed a long, rich history primarily because retailers have recognized shifting customer priorities and have adapted their rewards as appropriate.

While loyalty programs of the past have been viewed as a system to reward shoppers for simply making a purchase, the loyalty programs of the future leverage historical customer shopping patterns to entice repeat purchases and increase ticket values.

For many Millennials and Gen Z customers, even that won't be enough.

These customers have been exposed to social media, streaming digital media, and online shopping for nearly their entire lives.

With this comes an expectation to not only receive offers, rewards, and content personalized to them, but also that these offers be delivered via their preferred touch points (i.e. email, text message, social media, etc.)

Brands that want to continue to grow and include the millennial shopper will expand their loyalty strategies that highlight engagement, personalization and convenience.

 
 

2019 Holiday game plan: 3 ways to help shoppers find the perfect gift and get on with their holiday parties – faster

 

 

Let’s face it – even if you’re someone’s absolute FAVORITE retailer, they still don’t want to spend their holiday season with you.

What your customers want most is to find fun gifts for friends and family fast – and get on with the white elephant and ugly sweater parties.

Don’t be offended. You know the feeling is mutual.

So this holiday season, give your shoppers the gift that matters most to them: time.

Here are 3 ways to help your customers find what they need and get on with the festivities – faster.

 

1. Send gift ideas and personalized offers

 

The biggest challenge in holiday shopping is actually deciding what to buy – so use your data resources to help your shoppers out.

Their past purchases will give you an idea of their unique style and will help you extrapolate from those qualities to tie in with the new items you’re carrying for the holiday season.

AI-powered personalized marketing and loyalty platform AppCard for Retail Pro listens to your transaction data for you, watching for trends for each individual shopper.

Use it to send personalized offers tailored to your shopper’s style so it piques their interest and brings them into your store to find that perfect gift.

The offers will help you get your customers in the store, and their purchase will get them more loyalty points.

It’s a win-win!

 

2. Give them all the options with endless aisle

How about those shoppers who just walked in your store and don’t have a shopping history with you?

Show ‘em everything you’ve got with an endless aisle!

You’ve already got full visibility into inventory at each location in Retail Pro, and you have the inventory pictures, so make it available for shoppers to see your full collection.

Give shoppers free reign to browse and find what they’ll love on a secure touchscreen tablet or kiosk in your stores.

With an easy to use interface, customizable workflows, and detailed permissions settings, you can control the experience to ensure customers find what they need – without finding POS screens not intended for their use.

Plus, sales associates can be on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions, or for help navigating for first-time users.

 

3. Get them out faster with efficient mobile checkout

Shoppers can spend all evening browsing your store but once they’re in the checkout line, they want out.

Get them through the queue faster by setting up extra points of sale on mobile tablets.

Sales associates can be available anywhere your customers are on the sales floor to help them find what they need and wrap up the conversation right there by completing the transaction on a mobile POS.

Because Retail Pro is browser-based software, you can access it on any mobile or desktop device, so you can ramp up more points of sale for the holidays to keep lines short and customers happy.

Don’t have time this season to invest in mobile printers and accessories for mobile POS?

Send email receipts!

Or, for customers who prefer paper receipts, you can ring up all the items while clienteling and hold the transaction for associates at an express counter to pick up and finish off to get customers on their merry way faster.

 

This holiday season, help your shoppers find gifts for every person on their list – and then just let them enjoy the holidays.

Your customers probably won’t thank you for it.

But they’ll be back in January to redeem their loyalty points, and that’s pretty much the same thing.

 

7 Ways to get your store tech and staff ready for the holiday rush with Retail Pro POS

 

 

Holidays are fast approaching. With them the masses flock to your stores and website.

Every retailer’s goal is, of course, to capitalize on the increase in foot traffic and do whatever it takes to be in the black by New Year’s Eve.

The pressure is on – especially given the retail industry’s globally lackluster YTD performance.

But the happy increase in foot traffic to your stores and sales opportunities inevitably brings with it a not-so-favorable descent in chaos and disorder, even to the sharpest of managers.

Entropy at its finest.

But a little preparation goes a long way in combat against chaos. It’s in finetuning the details that you’ll find compounding efficiency gains, and a little sanity in the staff goes a long way toward keeping up good customer experiences.

So here’s a quick checklist of ways to get your store tech and staff armed and in shape for the holiday rush.

 

1. Think through your POS workflows

Tighten up your POS workflow for faster, more efficient checkout. Shave off critical seconds from each transaction by getting rid of unnecessary clicks and integrating steps you need for smoother returns with tracking for return reasons, easier customer and inventory lookup, and faster loyalty enrollment.

In Retail Pro POS, you can use HTML files to customize your workflows in the user interface to mirror the workflows your staff would use in real life. Tailor both the transaction workflow and pop up prompts for your staff to hit all the points on your customers engagement check list at checkout.

 See documentation: Customize workflows with HTML files | My Retail Pro 

 

2. Ramp up employee training for faster checkout experiences

Build up employee product knowledge so they can be quicker at looking up items by their alternate names or numbers at the POS.

Retail Pro Prism gives sales associates flexibility to look up inventory using not only the SKU but by description as well.

 

 

This will help associates save time and find the product in the system if a barcode is missing, rather than having everyone wait while another sales associate finds the product on the sales floor.

 Watch video: Advanced Item Lookup | My Retail Pro 

 

3. Train employees to collect customer emails

Incentivize your employees to collect emails for in-season and post-holiday deals. Now is the time to capitalize on the increased foot traffic to build connections with customers and invite them back for more after the holidays.

You can train your associates to a workflow that includes taking down a customer’s number in the integrated AppCard for Retail Pro loyalty and personalized marketing platform.

 

 

Because the technology is integrated, your staff won’t need to navigate between applications to enroll customers, saving time for your team and for everyone else in line.

 Watch video: POS flags setup | My Retail Pro 

 

4. Simplify inventory lookup on the sales floor

During the holidays the store fluctuates daily between chaos and order, so having a centralized inventory system that keeps detailed accounts of what is on the sales floor, in the back room, or in transit will help associates get customers what they need.

They can easily look up what the customer needs and place an order for them if the item isn’t in stock. You’ll save the sale and your customer will go home with one more person checked off on their holiday gift list.

 Watch video: Checking On-Hand Quantity | My Retail Pro 

 

5. Set up stations for self-serve inventory lookup and send sales

Set up a mobile POS station for self-serve or staff-assisted inventory lookup and send sale. If a customer needs something you don’t have in store, help them find and order it on your website or at a different location.

Send sale functionality in Retail Pro lets your sales associates send the sale (just like it sounds) to a nearby store that has what your customer needs in stock, so that item is put aside for them when they come to pick it up.

 Watch video: Creating and Fulfilling Send Sales | My Retail Pro 

 

6. Get your best staff on mobile POS for clienteling & line busting

Clienteling is extremely effective for engaging with customers in a way that leads to loyalty and a better overall experience with your brand.

Help customers find what they need faster and finish the transaction on the spot, without waiting in line. You can email receipts to decrease the need for ancillary mobile hardware like receipt printers.

And when checkout lines start to wrap around through the store, ramp up more points of sale on mobile to ring up transactions faster and get customers on their way before frustrations rise.

 Read blog: 9 tactics to borrow from luxury retail’s clienteling strategy to improve your omnichannel CX

 Get whitepaper: Is Mobile POS Right for Your Enterprise?

 

7. Track sales performance with KPI reporting

Use real-time KPI reports to stay on target and ramp up sales efforts when you’re falling behind. With Retail Pro Decisions, powered by the Targit BI and visual analytics platform, you can analyze your data from every angle based on KPIs important to your strategy.

And with Retail Pro Reports, you can pull the data you need to monitor performance on the go. With clear dashboards and easy filtering, you’ll have an on-the-minute update whenever you need it, so you can keep your finger on the pulse and make sure you’re hitting targets.

 Read blog: What are the Most Important KPIs for Retail?

 Get whitepaper: From KPIs to Profit 

Yes, there’s very little time left, and more to do than there are scheduled hours to do them. Focus on implementing a handful of optimizations that will help your team most to work more efficiently and ring in more sales.

They might not thank you for it, but your bottom line will.

 

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Not current on Software Assurance? Contact your Retail Pro Business Partner for a quote today, or email in to customercare@retailpro.com to get connected with your Business Partner.

 

 

Brick-and-mortar reclaims its advantage via clienteling

 

 

A generation ago, people shopped by visiting a retailer, chatting with the salesclerk, browsing and building relationships. An associate would place a call to customers if a new shipment arrived with pieces that were "just perfect" for them.

It's that sense of a personal touch that is critical to the success of brick and mortar to this day.

 

Online retail’s forfeited advantage

Several years ago, online retailers had the advantage over brick and mortars as they could efficiently collect much more data about customers at every visit.

They knew what pages the shopper had visited, which items were of interest, and how many times they visited before they purchased items.

That amount of information would take far longer for a traditional retailer to collect, at that time.

Fast forward five years, and technology can now provide brick and mortars with deeper information than ever before.

Now brick and mortars have an advantage over their online competitors, as their stores morph into showrooms where shoppers can physically inspect products, and associates can make personal connections.

 

Building relationships in-store

Today's retailers employ clienteling strategies to build customer relationships based on data collected about their preferences, purchases, lifestyle and other behavior.

Within stores, retailers are equipping associates with customer information that lets them deliver personalized service.

Clienteling software can be used to compile customer data from different channels – from in-store purchases to online browsing history to items stored on wish lists.

The in-store shopping experience can then be tailored to fit each customer’s unique interests and desires.

Such anticipation of needs enhances the customers' in-store shopping experience and helps associates sell more effectively.

 

Staying top of mind

Clienteling data not only enhances the shopping experience for those in physical stores but is also used by associates to reach out to customers between visits.

Clienteling technology can be used to create alerts about any event that forms a customer connection.

Associates with access to customers' spouses' birthdates, for example, might place a well-timed call detailing the latest merchandise that would make a great gift.

And stock alerts can be correlated to specific customers, so contact can be made when a new shipment from a specific vendor arrives.

Such focused, one-to-one outreach is extraordinarily effective in attracting repeat customers and sales of high-margin, full-price items.

 

Machine learning drives personalized recommendations

Intelligent product recommendations aren't limited to preparing for a customer's future shopping excursions: They can also be used real-time when the customer is in the store.

Store associates can greet and engage with individual customers, anticipate their needs and function as a trusted advisor.

Software tools that incorporate machine learning transform mounds of customer data into insightful, targeted and personalized product recommendations. Machine learning digests every page view, every "like" and every purchase.

The result is increasingly smarter recommendations.

Clienteling solutions help retailers identify customers' needs efficiently and quickly, so the shopping experience is ultimately more rewarding.

Implementing clienteling tools provides retailers and their associates the necessary tools to build long-lasting, profitable and mutually beneficial relationships.

9 tactics to borrow from luxury retail’s clienteling strategy to improve your omnichannel CX

 

 

Clienteling is extremely effective for engaging with customers in a way that leads to loyalty and a better overall experience with your brand.

But outside of luxury and small retailers who have personal relationships built into their business model, clienteling is a tough tactic to pull off – especially when you throw multiple sales channels into the mix.

So how can mid-sized and chain store retailers incorporate some of the same concepts that make clienteling so effective into their customer engagement strategy?

Here are 9 ways to improve your omnichannel customer experience with clienteling tactics.

 

1: Need-based sales

Train your employees to listen for customers’ unspoken needs when they’re helping them on the sales floor. For example, if they’re looking for a home theater system, help them evaluate not only the speakers and acoustic panels, but also the wireless headphones that will recreate the experience when the baby is sleeping. Help your customer think through every detail of the occasion and get them everything that meets those needs.

2: Customer profiles

Mobile POS is your friend. It gives your sales associates quick access to a customer’s profile and shopping history so they can be better informed when making recommendations. Retail Pro POS is device-agnostic, which means your sales associates have secure access to the same powerful customer management tools, whether on small mobile devices or full-sized desktop computers.

3: Always say YES

Having an iPad or tablet accessible while engaging with customers on the sales floor means your sales associates can look up inventory at nearby store locations to see whether they have the particular size or color the customer wants. Then, complete the sale through that store with send sale capabilities in Retail Pro POS.

4: Digital lookbook

Retailers going for the clean, modern look of a lean inventory strategy can use inventory images in your mobile POS or on your website as an endless aisle lookbook to help your customer pick out and order items you don’t carry in store.

5: Now trending

Analyze the POS sales data in business intelligence and visual analytics software like Retail Pro Decisions to see micro and macro trends and take action to make the goods available to more customers. If your top shoppers are loving your newest products, extend the offer to the next tier of shoppers to bring them into your stores and spread the love!

6: Personalized service online

Use your customer data in Retail Pro to offer the same kind of personalized service on your website. Basket analyses help you see what products shoppers tend to purchase together so you can recommend similar pairings to shoppers buying only one item or the other.

7: Behavior-driven offers

For shoppers who have an account with you, use their purchase history as the basis for your recommendations. AppCard for Retail Pro integrates customers’ POS data to make it easier to personalize offers to them. Email marketing campaigns personalized with your customers’ actual shopping behavior make them more relevant and more likely end in conversion.

8: Customer nurture

Between visits to store or site, nurture shoppers by anticipating their next need and proactively contacting them via email or SMS. A customer’s purchase history in Retail Pro POS can inform the offers you make to them and helps you create personalized promotions through the AppCard for Retail Pro solution.

9: Unified experiences

A cohesive customer experience shows you know and understand shoppers’ wants, exposes them to new products they may benefit from, and makes it more convenient for them to get what they need from you. The best way to do that? Tie the purchasing journey and communications together across channels by integrating all your customer-facing tools on the Retail Pro POS platform.

 

Luxury retail sets high standards when it comes to giving shoppers a meaningful, customized customer experience. Retailers incorporating clienteling tactics into their own customer engagement strategy across channels can differentiate themselves by better, more personalized experiences at every touchpoint.

 

 

3 Ways to build better customer profiles using Retail Pro POS

The elusive omnichannel shopper: she leaves her tracks everywhere but is yet to be understood.

Shoppers’ path to purchase today beelines from your store to your website on their computer at the office (used only during breaks, of course), to your mobile site on their tablet, to your app on their smartphone, and back.

Companies with strong omnichannel engagement are able to keep 89% of their customers, compared with 33 percent of companies with weak engagement.

But how can you keep customers and improve customer experience for shoppers whose journeys you’re still struggling to pinpoint?

Learn about your shoppers

One way is to build steps into your operations that will help you learn more about your customers. Basically, train your team to build customer profiles as they interact with shoppers.

But when you can give customers good reason to share their information with you online or in stores, you are in a better position to gather accurate data that will help you draw more useful, actionable insights from your company performance.

For example, if there’s something a customer wanted that’s not in stock, retailers can turn a bad experience into a positive one by placing an order for them from the store — with free shipping — delighting the customer while gathering additional shopper data.

Answers to a small number of carefully targeted questions can have a big impact on a business, whether in survey format or simply asked by an associate at the POS itself.

Of course, the simplest way (though not always the easiest way) to learn information about shoppers is to collect it directly from the source: Ask them. Here are 3 ways to build better customer profiles using Retail Pro POS.

 

1: Get feedback at the POS

Take time to chat with customers while ringing them up at the POS, and take notes.

POS flags in Retail Pro POS allow you to add quick-action buttons or fields to take note of shopper details at the POS, which you can then analyze and use to shape more effective decision making, or for their marketing campaigns, depending on the information you choose to capture.

Because workflows in Retail Pro are entirely tailorable to yours, you can automatically prompt sales associates to ask preset questions and record the answers.

This kind of information, collected incrementally over time, will help you build a truer understanding of your customers and draw conclusions to improve their experience.

 

2: Engage with shoppers on the sales floor

Having mobile POS available for your sales associates empowers them to do build customer profiles while they’re helping them on the sales floor. Retailers with a more consultative approach to customer engagement can create quick workflows to help associates create new customer profiles and start filling in the details while they assist: shoe size, scent preferences, skin tone.

Skincare brand Aesop uses Retail Pro to track, manage, and access customer data all over the world, ensuring the same experience for a particular customer regardless of location, because every store shares the same customer and inventory details.

“Our store consultants often work cross-country but the experience of working with the software is the same. We have one consistent thread through Retail Pro, though each store is entirely different,” said head of Aesop’s ICT, Troy Smith.

Over time these profiles will help your associates continue the conversation knowledgeably, making recommendations relevant to their needs because you see them through the customer’s history in the POS.

 

3: Invite your top shoppers to VIP in-store events

Inviting your top shoppers to exclusive in-store events not only rewards them and deepens their affinity for your brand, but also gives your team opportunity to keep learning about your shoppers.

Form your guest list using Retail Pro’s built-in reports on customer KPIs like total spend or Customer Lifetime Value. Then, get to learning about your customers’ preferences as you mingle over cocktails at your new product drop.

Or, use Retail Pro POS to collect information about visitors to the launch of your new pop-up store.

Designer brand Akris uses POS flags in Retail Pro POS to capture email addresses or phone numbers of customers attending their exclusive in-store events and then contact them for future events.

 

As you take advantage of these kinds of opportunities to build customer profiles, you’ll start learning more about your customers and can then more successfully unify your operations and customer engagement to place customers’ needs at the forefront of your business strategies.