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Retail Customer Experience In The Digital Age - Personalized Service Is Still The Key
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As the retail landscape continues to evolve, some industry pundits have declared that brick and mortar stores are a thing of the past. While it’s true that e-commerce adoption has been rising steadily for some time, online shopping still accounted for an average of only 5.6 percent of total retail spending in the U.S. during the first half of 2013.
Retail stores are not dying, but brands and retailers need to transform the way they conduct business in or- der to compete.
Today’s consumer is more discerning than ever, with an eye for luxury and a desire for the best possible deal wherever it can be found. And yet, there is still an expectation of good customer service as well - both in person and online - creating the need for consistent, personal touch points across all channels and all phases of the transaction.
How does today’s retail business fulfill customer expectations for quality, product availability, service and shopping experience, while keeping costs in check to remain competitive with online deals and other brands’ and retailers’ offering?
How do you keep them coming to the store? And how do you keep them coming back?
In the digital age, the fight to win and maintain customer loyalty has been made easier by the availability of advanced technology, such as radio frequency identification (RFID). The tagging and tracking of items using RFID provides retailers with a secret weapon to not only streamline logistics and boost product availability, but also to improve the overall customer experience and build brand loyalty.
Fulfill Customer Expectations
Truly connecting with the customer requires the ability to anticipate their every need. When a customer is looking for a particular item in a certain size or color and the item is out of stock, the customer’s trust can be lost, in addition to the sale. However, maintaining an accurate view of inventory both on the sales floor and in the stock room is nearly impossible without real-time data.
TexTrace incorporates RFID tagging into an all-in-one, truly textile brand label that is attached during manufacturing and stays with the item throughout its lifetime; the sewn-on label is always with the product. This provides a complete, up-to- the-minute picture of inventory on hand, right down to the size and color of each item, helping to reduce the number of lost sales while keeping customers happy.
Furthermore, with a unique ID sewn onto each garment or accessory, additional electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags are not necessary. Customers no longer need to wait in line while sales clerks wrestle to remove special EAS tags that are manually attached to every item. And because manual barcode scanning is not required, the checkout process takes a fraction of the time previously required.
Interact With the Customer
One of the greatest advantages to bringing customers into the retail store vs. online sales is the opportunity for personal interaction. The benefits of RFID tracking throughout the retail channel allow significant overall improvements to customer interaction and service.
Information screens in-store can identify the product by the RFID brand label, providing details about the product’s origin, its quality or even offering suggestions of what would go nicely with it. The customer can even ask for assistance right out of the changing room via smart mirror. At the same time, store personnel have more time to personally interact with the customer and offer personalized, welcoming service, thanks to the time saved due to the efficiency of RFID inventory tracking.
Scanning the RFID brand label in the store at an RFID- triggered terminal, the customer can have complete assurance of the origin and authenticity of their branded apparel or bag. This not only provides them the peace of mind that comes with knowing their branded item is genuine, it also enables retailers to maintain interaction with the customer after the sale to improve after-sales support and return handling.
Building a Trusted Brand
Today’s most trusted brands are those that excel at delivering superior shopping experiences and customer service across all retail channels. Consumers expect every interaction to be differentiated and targeted to their tastes and preferences in the store, online and on the go.
The science of retail has evolved as savvy brand manufacturers embrace science to help them better connect one-to-one with the customer and improve every interaction.
TexTrace AG, located in Frick, Switzerland, is a leader in innovative processes and components for manufacturing high-quality textile RFID labels. TexTrace is a subsidiary of Jakob Müller Holding AG, Inventor of the first machines for zipper and Velcro production, and a pioneer in developing and implementing innovative technology for the ribbon and narrow fabric industry since 1887.
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