Retailers: Are Amazon’s In-Store Experiences key to Customers?
Many retailers are evolving to compete with pure-play dot-coms, like Amazon. However, Amazon and other pure-plays are also building brick-and-mortar stores. They would not do so if it were not a potential advantage. Amazon’s investment in a physical presence is a sign that traditional retailers should also invest in their stores.
November 3rd, 2015 was an interesting day for Retail. Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore. In doing so, Amazon joins the ranks of other e-tailers, such as Bonobos and Warby Parker, in adding a physical presence to their online marketplaces.
Some have been left scratching their heads, wondering why Amazon would open a store? The answer is that stores offer a unique customer experience and have been doing so for years.
As Amazon is showing, retailers have a great opportunity to leverage stores to create powerful customer experiences. For all the convenience an online pure-play can provide with a huge product selection and fast delivery, the one thing they cannot deliver is a store experience ─ it’s why so many customers continually come back to physical locations. Every day shoppers are delighted in stores through:
- Service by associates who understand what customers need better than they do themselves
- Seeing the fit and feel of a new suit or other apparel before it is purchased
- Watching a child light up at taking home a new toy
These are things the customer can only experience when in a physical brick and mortar store. What retailers need to do is make sure all the little things that result in a great customer experience are done at the right time.
Providing a magical customer experience in retail requires the orchestration of many moving parts. Products must be correctly merchandised; customer safety issues such as recalls must be responded to promptly; the right employees need to be scheduled at the right time; and store teams need to respond to surprises and alerts following the retailer’s own best practices. These are all things that have to happen in customer-centric stores.
Technology is available for retailers to ensure all the steps, from planning and execution of your labor operations and customer engagement strategies, to responding to alerts coming from multiple store systems, are completed. All using a single role-based dashboard so that store managers and associates focus on the most important thing: customers who are in the aisles.
Too bad most retailers do not yet do the above. In a recent survey conducted by RIS News, retailers consistently rated their stores’ ability to execute important labor operations and customer engagement strategies far below expectations. For example, just 15 percent said they currently provide up-to-date dashboards to monitor alerts, KPIs, and customer data at the store level. To read the report, click here
The good news for retailers is that by acting fast, they can implement in just a few weeks or months real-time store execution and workforce management solutions from Reflexis to provide a great shopping experience that keeps customers coming back. Even Amazon is investing in its physical retail presence. How about your company?