By Aimee Chanthadavong

Helping retailers create an omni-channel experience within a bricks and mortar space continues to be a focus for HP with belief that technology is a key driver to helping boost sales.

Speaking to RetailBiz, HP retail solutions market development manager, David Choi, said in order for retailers to win customers over, particularly in the current soft retail environment where consumers continue to go online, creating consistency is key.

“One of the key words to address is omni-channel retailing. It basically means satisfying the desire consumers have when it comes to interacting with a retailer. The customer experience needs to happen consistently and seamlessly across all available channels whether they’re checking a website at home or on a mobile device or physically present at the store,” he said.

In order to bring this consistency physically in-store retailers need to equip store staff with a mobile POS terminal – a priority for many CEOs according to a recent Gartner study.

“With equipping the staff with a mobility device, it can help the sales person complete a transaction or provide information right there and then without the need to go to transaction desk. Staff can also use the mobility device to go through the range of devices. This will actually give them the opportunity to upsell, cross sell depending on the data they have,” Choi said.

“If they have information about a customer through their customer loyalty program they can provide an even more personalised service and make recommendations based on past purchases. This is the key for how traditional bricks and mortar store can differentiate themselves.”
Choi notes that while technology is being encouraged to be implemented within a store space, it’s not there to be used to replace store staff.

“Technology is not a complete replacement of a retail staff because consumers go and shop in a bricks a mortar store because the success of a retail store often relies heavily on staff and consumer interaction,” he said.

“If [consumers] are interacting with a retailer online they dictate that relationship. But once they are physically shopping, it’s the retail staff that needs to take control.”

At the same time, the advantages of having technology means real time information can be sourced and viewed about customers, which retailers can use to adjust their POS signage accordingly. But this can sometimes be a downfall if the technology infrastructure is not adequately planned and whether it works in line with their business strategy.

“Really think before you implement technology. Think about do you have the infrastructure to support ongoing maintenance because the true power is updating content in real time. You really have to think why we’re going to try this initiative. Without going through those can mean you’ll run into difficulties later.”