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The future is bright for retailing. Brick-and-mortar is back on trend.

Customers have been flocking back to physical stores and in some regions like the US, new store openings have been outpacing closures.

70%

As the role of brick-and-mortar stores has evolved in recent years, they remain consumers’ primary point of purchase, accounting for approximately 70% of total retail sales.

Source: NRF

With more shoppers entering stores, retailers, particularly those in fashion, electronics and home furnishings have an opportunity to delight customers in person and secure long-term loyalty.

Stores will be key differentiators if retailers deliver a hybrid customer experience. That means giving customers the convenience of online shopping in stores. And engaging them consistently across different touchpoints and interfaces.

In short, customers want a seamless and superior omnichannel experience that is hyper-personalized and combines digital, physical and human in-store interactions.

That experience depends on the sales associate and their knowledge and capabilities in the fashion world.

It can be achieved easily with smart data capture enabled on smart devices. In this guide, we’ll examine how to equip your associates with a multi-functioning tool that allows them to go the extra mile for customers.

You will discover how to:

  • Provide personalized recommendations and expert advice
  • Answer customer questions on the spot with complete confidence
  • Speed up or modernize checkout to bring extra convenience to customers

When empowered store associates are happier, customers are happier because they have a memorable experience and the business profits from higher sales.

What is assisted selling?

Assisted Selling is a sales technique in which store associates use their knowledge and expertise combined with technology to confidently answer questions and help customers to increase sales.

Essentials for effective assisted selling

Store associates can only be truly empowered to deliver a better customer experience if they have the right tools and data at their fingertips.

Smart data capture integrated into a smartphone app captures data intelligently from barcodes, text, IDs and objects. It connects retailers, frontline workers and customers, providing actionable insights, automating processes and delivering digitally-enriched experiences.

Retail store associate using a smart data capture solution to assist a customer.

With smart data capture on a familiar smartphone, store associates can efficiently perform any customer assistance task.

They can capture and access data from essential retail systems (e-commerce, inventory systems, CRM platforms) anywhere in the store by scanning barcodes on item labels to access product information and loyalty cards to access purchase history and preferences.

Enable store associates to assist customers in a more personalized and informed way.

Here, we look at how smart data capture helps with assisted selling and clienteling and the five considerations to drive successful customer interactions.

Turn store associates into expert personal shoppers

When people browse in stores, the ability to touch, feel, and try out goods differentiates it from the online experience.

But equally, they can’t use a filter to exclude the types of items they aren’t interested in or quickly gather extra information about a product. Instead, they need a store associate to assist them.

In today’s modern retailing, the role of store associates has fundamentally changed.

The role that associates play within the four walls of the store is fundamentally different than it was five years ago. Going back to the self-checkout example: you have folks who are no longer checking customers out. Instead, they’re doing consultative selling or new activities that didn’t happen in stores five years ago, like fulfillment.

McKinsey & Company

Clienteling: On-the-spot answers optimize sales

When a customer has a question, store associates should be empowered to help them anywhere in the store.

However, their ability to answer queries often relies on their experience, staff training or a visit to the back room or fixed terminal to look up stock or product information. Leaving the customer abandoned on the shop floor or with the wrong information risks them leaving the store, resulting in a lost sale.

But when they have a smartphone enabled with Scandit Smart Data Capture, the precise information they need is delivered instantly to their screen. They become instant experts who can:

  • Scan the product barcode to look up real-time product information from retail systems
  • Scan multiple items to help the customer compare products (e.g., prices, features, materials)
  • Scan loyalty cards to access CRM data for truly personalized experiences
  • Make expert recommendations using clienteling apps to upsell and boost basket size
  • Use augmented reality to present information visually on screen (product details and reviews, prices, matching items) for a ‘wow’ experience to seal the sale
  • Support omnichannel services and endless aisle, such as arranging for home delivery or reserving at another store if an item is not in stock

Five considerations for successful clienteling

1. Enterprise-grade scanning performance is a must

The barcode links the store associate and the needed information, so top scan performance is essential. Scanning must be fast and robust in real-store conditions like dim light, awkward angles and at a distance. Damaged, marked or difficult barcodes must be scanned easily, too. Scandit’s barcode scanner SDK is fast and accurate, even in challenging circumstances.

2. Ergonomics and experience matter

When interacting with customers, employees should be thinking about eye contact and engagement, not aiming at barcodes.

Scandit SparkScan has a pre-built intuitive user interface that fits on top of any application.

It enables simple, fast and ergonomic smartphone scanning. It can be activated from anywhere with a simple swipe and lets store associates hold their smartphone at any angle and scan without looking at the screen.

3. Go beyond barcode scanning to stand out

Displaying information with augmented reality (AR) overlays on the device screen creates a more compelling experience for the customer. Bringing up reviews, further product information, or even doing side-by-side comparisons has a cool factor that customers are more likely to remember and tell their friends about.

Scanning their ID to streamline loyalty program signup and complete tax refund documentation removes the hassle and potential for human error. All on the same smart device.

4. Seamless integration is essential

Retail systems can be complicated at the best of times. Scandit makes it easy to seamlessly add barcode scanning and AR capabilities into any retail setup.

Integration is possible with major clienteling apps, like New Black, Mercaux, Mad Mobile, Keytree, or a retailer’s native employee or web apps.

5. Aesthetics that suit your brand

When you’ve spent millions outfitting stores to appeal to shoppers, the digital tech used by associates must match the desired image.

Deploying sleek, pocket-sized mobile devices gives a more modern impression than bulky scanning sleds. Throw in a beautifully branded clienteling app, and the look is complete.

Make checkout seamless with frictionless and flexible mPOS

Having a great interaction with a store associate is one thing, but it must still lead to a positive outcome – a sale. People hate queuing, and walkouts lose sales.

Source: Scandit Future of Fashion In-store Engagement Report

Checking out in store needs to be as easy and fast as online. Using a smart device (smartphone or tablet) enabled with smart data capture is an efficient and engaging way for store associates to complete transactions on the spot.

It’s hassle-free, with no more long lines to irritate customers.

Store associates can move seamlessly from assisting to selling in the same interaction.

Here are some of the main considerations for deploying effective mPOS.

Great scan performance doesn’t need a sled

mPOS is designed for customer convenience. However, scanning performance has to be assured to avoid friction for customers. Traditionally, this would require a dedicated scanning sled, but this is no longer the case with high-performance scanning in any condition on a smart device.

Future-proof mPOS

Tablets, smartphones, or a combination can allow retailers to scan products and process payments anywhere in the store.

For those preferring a kiosk or dedicated area off the central shop floor, a mounted tablet offers an ideal solution using the front-facing camera for hands-free scanning and selling.

It’s future-proof, as you aren’t tied into a specific form factor for technology refreshes.

Think about TCO and the potential savings

With smart devices, it’s much quicker and simpler to scale up to meet demand.

Even when factoring in device costs, maintenance, peripherals and software licenses, there’s the potential for significant savings in the total cost of ownership.

$1.3M

One beauty brand calculated annual potential savings of over $1.3m dollars for switching from a sled-based solution for their 3500-strong fleet to iOS smartphones with Scandit Smart Data Capture and payment terminals instead.

The value of ID scanning

Adding advanced ID scanning to mPOS processes brings extra value to customers.

Scanning customer identity documents (driver’s licenses, ID cards or passports) automates loyalty signup or captures data for tourist tax refunds. Eliminating manual form-filling and reducing the risk of human error. Watch ID scanning in action:

Future-proof store sales with flexible scalability

Retailers require thousands of seasonal workers to cope with demand.

Using smart devices removes the headache of such problematic scaling during seasonal peaks.

Smart data capture on mobile devices turns every employee into a mobile sales associate, ideal for redeploying staff during peak periods.

Scandit Smart Data Capture is integrated quickly and easily into employee apps, making it an accessible solution to fluctuating operational demands.

And because devices like smartphones and tablets are intuitive, familiar and easy to use, onboarding and training new staff is much simpler. Recruits or seasonal workers can hit the shop floor almost immediately.

With a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy, where employees can use their devices at work, it’s even quicker to onboard gig workers during seasonal uplifts.

Deliver the future of assisted selling today with Scandit

Creating more personalized, 1-to-1 relationships with customers will go a long way toward making your retail stores their first choice.

Scandit Smart Data Capture on smart devices turns store associates into high-performing sales associates. It’s the ideal way to merge online convenience with a first-class in-store experience.

Discover more about assisted selling and clienteling. Or get in touch to discuss how Scandit can help you.