The State of Omnichannel survey of leading retail executives in the United States shows that more than 90 percent of retailers have an omnichannel strategy, but 45 percent say they lack the right technology platforms for execution. What many are discovering is that when informed software design for retail kiosks are melded with an omnichannel strategy, they have an ideal technology vehicle for increasing sales, customer experience, and brand loyalty.
To do this, retailers must start with an agreed definition of omnichannel retail and an understanding of how software design can positively impact that strategy. A blog article posted by a Canadian e-commerce company, Shopify, may have the most straightforward definition of Omnichannel in retail:
“An omnichannel retail strategy is an approach to sales and marketing that provides customers with a fully-integrated shopping experience by uniting user experiences from brick-and-mortar to mobile-browsing and everything in between.”
Armed with that definition, it’s possible to explore the benefits and possibilities of digital transformations that merge kiosk software design with an omnichannel retail strategy.
Interactive Kiosk Software Design and Omnichannel Strategy Benefits
Today, retailers must have a way to deliver a consistent experience across offline and online channels that add specific value to the ways and devices that consumers use to interact with the business. The convergence of online and in-store selling via interactive kiosks and well-designed customized software, provides the nexus of a true omnichannel strategy by:
- Supporting and augmenting sales associates
- Delivering in-store and multiple location inventory access to shoppers with inventory updates to sales associates
- Creating a means to provide greater visualization options for product combinations that enable upselling and cross-selling
- Enhancing customer rewards, sales, and other incentives tied to customers
- Instore unassisted lookup, sales completion, billing, and shipping
- Web access for website interaction to enhance in-store experiences
- Customer social media tie-in to organically spread sales, product, and brand experience information in real time
- Greater customer data analytics for merchandising, branding, and customer outreach tied to CMS
While retailers of all sizes can benefit from using in-store interactive technologies, they must keep in mind that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. The type of technology and its design that a retailer uses depends on the type of store, product offerings, and customer needs to create a frictionless experience. It is the kiosk software design that enables this customized omnichannel experience by amplifying the physical interactions that customers have while shopping in-store.
Kiosk Software Design Options that Enhance Up-selling and Cross-selling
Retail information kiosks software can be designed to enable customers to price check, locate items in-store (wayfinding), and locate items online or in another store from a brick and mortar location. These are just some of the ways in which the integration of omnichannel and interactive kiosk software can introduce and increase cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Kiosk software that takes into account the retail architecture in terms of store layout, merchandising, back-end systems, networking, and out to the box online presence can have profound impact on enabling greater cross-selling and upselling encounters. The ability to incorporate machine learning algorithms, RFID awareness tied to inventory databases, and even video, audio and augmented reality (AR) via rich media visualization support are just some of the ways that customized kiosk software can broaden the possibilities for retailers.
By utilizing machine learning algorithms tied to customer purchase databases, kiosk software can recommend complementary products the customer might need based on past and real-time product choices (cross-selling). The same can be said for the ability to make suggestions for more feature-rich versions of the chosen product they are purchasing (up-selling). Companies such as Amazon have cited as much as 35 percent of revenue is derived from cross-selling and up-selling for more than the last decade.
An omnichannel retail strategy joined with interactive kiosk software design can further enable back-end system synchronization to deliver a consistent user experience to the customer in real time across every touchpoint. This ability to combine channels seamlessly in a physical retail location or across multiple locations increases sales and customer satisfaction in ways not possible in the past.
Integrating Retail Architecture: RFID
RFID technology can be used in interactive in-store experiences that engage customers by enabling them to swipe product tags and automatically display sizes or complementary products for associate-free shopping to help customers make better decisions and facilitate interactions with store staff. Kiosk software that also incorporates analytics can utilize data aggregation solutions to adjust merchandising products and branding.
Items outfitted with RFID tags enable customers to learn about products and other associated choices, which can streamline checkout with automatic item identification, integrated sale inventory, billing, and even shipping capabilities. It also provides valuable assists to retail associates and helps to augment employee product training.
Shopper rewards cards can be outfitted with RFID to enable kiosk interfaces to recognize preferred customers and not only assist in selection, but discount offers, sales, and even shipping. Additionally, this can also allow the shopper to engage with social media channels to post information about sales purchases or new items in the store in real time to friends and family. RFID in retail revolutionizes the shopper experience, increasing sales per visit and boosting customer loyalty.
Consumers can use AR-assisted kiosk software for product and color configurations. The software can also enable triggering animations to see how complex products like appliances or electronics function. These and other possibilities to enable purchase confidence and help to complete the sale.
When Kiosk software is integrated with inventory databases, it can provide customers with up-to-the-minute promotional messaging on latest product and pricing specials, thereby influencing buying decisions. By designing the software to integrate with warehouses, the retailer’s website and other retail locations it’s possible to provide shoppers with product availability and even enable online ordering and in-store purchase fulfillment and shipping to the home in the same visit.
While all of these digital transformation solutions are a reality today, they were all among the predictions for continued growth and adoption with brick-and-mortar stores in 2018 according to a Forbes article. Retailers must constantly adapt and embrace disruptive technologies and new approaches to meet the needs of a changing, and ever demanding customer base. Progressive and informed interactive kiosk software design is sure to be on the forefront of solutions to meeting those needs.