In a COVID-19 landscape, retailers must work extra hard to stay successful. With social distancing restrictions in place for a majority of businesses, it can be difficult to achieve the in-store success that many strive for. Retailers now must carefully strategize to ensure they are primed to maximize in-store foot traffic.
Not only that, but they need to manage it effectively. Retail store owners are tasked with ensuring foot traffic remains at a high enough level to turn a profit, but operate at a safe enough capacity to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak. It’s quite the balancing act.
The number one priority is keeping customers and staff safe. The second priority is offering enticing in-store experiences that incentivize customers to come to your store. Here are three essential technologies critical to managing retail store foot traffic:
Mobile Point of Sale
Mobile point of sale is quickly becoming critical for successful in-store retail operations. With it, you gain all the value of a point of sale terminal, but with the added mobility of a tablet or iPad. You can equip sales associates with this technology and allow them to check out customers on the sales floor and in the checkout line.
If you don’t have the labor resources for this, you can mount tablets in strategic locations throughout the store. Paired with a fast, modern thermal receipt printer, customers can pay for their purchases at these kiosk-like mounted tablets and be on their way without ever having to wait in line. You’ll boost your overall customer satisfaction while simultaneously increasing sales, especially if you leverage upselling prompts.
Mobile point of sale systems are also crucial for “click and collect” applications, which allows your retail business to operate a curbside pickup service. Customers can make purchases online and check out curbside using a mobile tablet. For even smoother operations, pair this with a mobile receipt printer.
If the pandemic has caused you to run operations with limited staff, self-service kiosks can provide you with an additional option for how to service customers. Kiosks are great for filling in additional labor needs, but they’re also great for keeping customers safe. Kiosks can help customers make their own purchases while also reducing face-to-face contact.
On top of that, kiosks can be leveraged in a number of ways, like inventory lookup. Customers can search for products using kiosks and place orders for pickup at a later date. That way, you can offer an in-store experience that mimics the one they get through your online sales channel.
This helps your sales associates as well as your customers. You won’t have customers flocking the customer service counters and waiting in long lines for easily-answered questions. Your sales associates will be freed up to tend to more complex customer needs.
Just make sure you keep a staff member nearby to help customers operate kiosks if they are unfamiliar with the technology, and to sanitize it after every use.
Shop by Appointment
As stated above, it’s likely that you’ve had to limit the number of people within your store at any given time. This is especially crucial in areas that are currently experiencing outbreaks or are at a higher risk for them because of their location.
To help with this, many retailers are taking a page from salons and beginning to schedule appointments. Shop-by-appointment technology helps you schedule customers so that you only have a specific number of customers in your store at any given time.
Customers can still enjoy the experience of browsing in-store, but with the added peace of mind that they are as safe as they can be while shopping. This also provides you with an opportunity to personalize the in-store experience. Think more deeply about the experience you’re providing your customers in-store. What are you doing to take it above and beyond simple browsing? What additional incentives can you offer to customers to motivate them enough to pay for an appointment in your store?
To elevate this experience, consider your aesthetic. Are you providing a clean, buttoned-up aesthetic when the customer walks in? Does your store send a message of cleanliness to help customers feel safer?
Consider the Tech You Offer:
Does your store offer the kind of customer-focused technology, like point of sale and peripherals, that can help you improve customer service and offer more conveniences? Make sure your technology fits your space and can stand up to multiple cleanings. Form is just as important as function here.
Finding the right technology is essential for both driving and managing in-store foot traffic. Star Micronics offers advanced technology designed to help you accomplish that. Our industry experts are here to help, offering guidance and support every step of the way.