The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we shop. Retailers have had to scale quickly to move shopping experiences online and keep customers safe, while still providing fast, convenient customer service. Leading retail technology and omnichannel expert and regular contributor to Forbes, Chris Walton, joined Loïc Oumier, Head of Operational & Digital Marketing and Communications at SES-imagotag, and Ross Sabolcik, VP and GM of Industrial and Commercial IoT Products at Silicon Labs for a webinar about how retailers are leveraging wireless technologies already well-established in the industrial space to deliver innovative and engaging customer experiences. Three key takeaways from the webinar are below.
#1: Physical stores must digitize.
Even though retailers are moving online, Chris explains that customers still want to be offered in-store experiences. To meet today's customer demands, retailers must transform their physical stores into true digital assets. Digitization provides multiple benefits to both customers and retailers, including the following:
Additionally, digitization brings all the advantages of e-commerce to the in-store experience, such as access to customer product ratings and reviews and accurate pricing and specification information. None of these options are available with paper label systems. By re-imagining the physical store as a blended solution of online and in-store services, retailers can provide customers with faster, safer and more convenient shopping experiences.
#2: Wireless IoT systems must be multi-value.
When deploying wireless IoT systems in retail, multi-value propositions are crucial. The cost of installing and maintaining a wireless infrastructure can be significant, so the infrastructure must be flexible and able to deploy multiple devices from one platform. Additionally, wireless systems should have more than one use case, benefitting the consumers coming into the store and enabling retail operators to be more efficient.
Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) are an example of a multi-value, multi-use wireless IoT system. ESLs offer all-around-the-store efficiency by providing customers with accurate pricing information and retailers with data capturing and asset tracking services. One of the greatest benefits of an ESL software system is its scalability. All the features of an ESL software system's services, beyond simple price display, can be enabled at a future time without adding infrastructure costs. Retailers should consider what type of capabilities they might want to unlock from a wireless system in the future and whether these features can be deployed from the same platform.
#3: A great customer experience is the omnichannel strategy bottom line.
"Omnichannel" is no longer just a technical term -- it's about customer service. The purpose of an omnichannel strategy is to make the shopping experience safer, more efficient and convenient for the customer, and smart technology makes all of this possible. With interconnected, smart retail systems in place, customers can choose how they want to interact with retailers, whenever and wherever they want.
Cloud commerce, data capture, and location analytics are the foundational components of an effective omnichannel strategy. By seamlessly combining these smart retail systems in holistic ways, retailers can deploy blended solutions that capture and analyze relevant data to anticipate customer needs and meet those demands.
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