Retailers, Give Holiday Shoppers a Real Gift

This blog is co-authored by Carl von Sydow, Director of Self-Service Sales for the Americas, and Craig Bevan, North American VP of Retail Sales.

Holiday shoppers are on a deadline. The pressure is on to find the right gifts quickly, in packed stores, with lines of other people who have long lists and short tempers. Your consumers are under pressure during the holidays, no doubt about it. Under these conditions, how well is your retail environment able to manage? Have you enabled the right technology to bust queues, hasten check-out and create seamless back-office cash management?

Buyers Bridge Mobile & Brick-and-Mortar

Despite consumers’ reliance on mobile technology (who doesn’t have an app-filled device in their back pocket?), nearly half (47%) still browse physical stores during the holidays to get the perfect gift idea, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook, which reveals trends along the path to purchase. They’re also getting ideas from social media, with nearly 50% of Millennials turning to Facebook and Generation Z finding inspiration on Instagram. Still, with this social influence, consumers are listening to retailers’ suggestions, with 54% taking recommendations from stores, according to NRF’s research.

Meanwhile, online holiday retail sales are expected to grow by 12% and account for more than one-quarter of total U.S. eCommerce sales in 2017, says Forrester in its U.S. Holiday 2017 Outlook.  And, consumers are making buying decisions based on convenience—linking the online and in-store experiences. An option to buy online and pick up in the store was the reason why 33% of consumers made particular purchases last holiday season, according to Forrester.

All this gives retailers an opportunity to be a valued resource to consumers—if retailers enable technology to put the consumer first during the busiest shopping season of the year. Retailers can bridge online and in-store experiences, optimize in-store technology to expedite check-out, and harness tablet-driven tools so sales associates can reduce lines and help consumers find sought-after products.

Consumers Are Connected—Are You?

Is your retail environment primed to serve holiday shoppers during a time when consumers are stressed—and spending? (A Bizrate-Forrester July 2017 flash survey survey found 55% of consumers will spend just as much on holiday gifts as last year, and 23% will spend more.) Keep in mind, consumers are loyal to retailers that can get them what they want—and get them in and out of the store quickly, with no hassle. In 2016, NRF found many shoppers (77%) left stores because they couldn’t find what they were looking for an average of four times during the holiday season. That’s four missed opportunities to convert a browser into a buyer and secure shopper loyalty.

Stay ahead of the competition: Put consumers first by enabling mobile technology, connecting online and in-store experiences. Implement tools so consumers can “win the holidays” and feel individually successful in spite of the crowds. And, take stock of the gaps in your retail systems during the 2017 holiday season so you can begin to prepare to fill those with solutions and enhance consumer experience and loyalty in 2018:

  • Leverage Mobile POS Technology. Sales associates can engage consumers at the door and bust long lines when armed with tablet technology. If your shoppers feel waited on, they’ll be less likely to walk out the door when they see long lines. Diebold Nixdorf MoPOS paired with a small express station provides a simple, flexible answer for cutting down long holiday lines.
  • Offer a Mobile Shopping Companion. Technology that enables integrated shopping lists paired with an express pay station or kiosk can speed up lines and give consumers a connection between the mobile and brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Solutions include Vynamic Mobile and Vynamic Mobile Shoppers.
  •  Harness the Power of In-Store Kiosks. Interactive kiosks can serve a variety of functions, from promoting in-store specials and suggestions, to providing an alternative POS for consumers with just a few items.
  • Provide Click & Collect Capabilities. Seek out self-service and automation solutions that allow consumers to buy online and pick up in store. This convenience gives shoppers the convenience of mobile purchase and the comfort of visiting a physical store.

Omnichannel solutions enhance a retailer’s brand image and give consumers the brick-and-mortar experience they want in today’s dynamic digital era. Take a good, hard look at the gaps in your retail operation this holiday season—and prepare for a smoother 2018 by considering these connected commerce solutions. Let’s start a conversation.