As mobile services are becoming mission critical for retail companies to stay engaged to their customers, Wincor explains to Vanessa Ching the benefits of its in-store mobility solutions and modular software for modern retailing.
Mobile devices are profoundly changing consumer shopping habits. Against this backdrop, retail companies need new ways to offer their customers special shopping experiences in the form of personalised mobile services.
A study commissioned by Wincor Nixdorf and carried out by the international market research company IDC Retail Insights shows how mobile technologies are changing consumers’ shopping behaviour and, as a result, influencing the range of services offered by the retail industry. Already, 72% of European customers use their smartphone or tablet to look for additional product information.
Nearly one in three customers also expect sales staff at the point-of-sale (POS) to have mobile devices available to provide more details and demonstrate product features. The same number of consumers also expects sales staff to be able to reserve unavailable products for pick-up at another store as part of their customer service. From the results of the survey, IDC concludes that “mobile services are on the way to becoming an equally important criterion for deciding where to shop as product range, brands and prices matter to consumers”.
But mobile technologies that facilitate immediate access to customer and product data do now empower brick-and-mortar retailers to provide personalised and relevant customer experiences on the same or an even higher level as online retailers.
Examples of mobile services include: Flexible delivery and pick-up services, with employees having real-time mobile access to stock levels and orders; allowing customers to save time by being able to scan their purchases themselves, for instance, with their smartphone, and simply pay at a self-service checkout with either cash or card; and sending personalised smartphone messages with special offers that precisely match the customer’s shopping basket, needs or current location in the store. Every retail company must assess how relevant such services are for its own target group and which services in particular contribute to the shopping experience.
Empower, enable and engage customers with in-store mobility solutions
For Dr Michael Schulte, director global sales retail software at Wincor Nixdorf Software Headquarters in Utrecht, The Netherlands, the adoption of in-store mobility technologies provides retailers with an opportunity to use the increased level of data and information availability to drive improvements in the everyday operations of their physical retail stores and enhance the overall brand experience.
Explaining the benefits of Wincor’s In-store Mobility services, Dr Schulte said: “Consumers expect retailers to offer them a consistently good shopping experience, no matter the channel. Whether it’s ‘offline’ in the shop itself or online in the web store and on the road with a smartphone — the same data and information must be available anytime, anywhere.
“To achieve this, we use our comprehensive customer service functionality. Starting from the basic traditional retail checkout functionality such as item registration, payment and collection, and building on top of that, of course, sophisticated omni-channel functionalities — these are very important aspects for targeted promotion and automated loyalty promotion. Improving customer experience is obviously at the forefront of the benefits derived from in-store mobility solutions for retailers,” Dr Schulte added.
TP.net 6.0: A new version of Wincor’s modular software for retail
With Wincor’s TP Application Suite software platform and its individual modules, Wincor Nixdorf enables retailers to efficiently operate mobile touchpoints and support their customers during the purchasing process, excite them with innovative services and maintain their loyalty to the company.
Wincor’s new version, TP.net 6.0, with its individual application solutions, provides numerous functions for mobile devices with iOS and Android operating systems. With TP.net 6.0, Wincor has managed to map many functions, in particular omni-channel functions, and make them available for mobile use.
Wincor’s overall software port-folio approach is based on the principle of modularity: TP.net and the other components of the TP Application Suite have been developed in accordance with the building block principle and can be integrated fully or partially in existing infrastructures. The software platform’s entire architecture, which has been optimised with the new release, is based on a clear business logic and aims towards real-time availability of consistent data, information and processes for all sales channels.
The data from typical sources of information, such as stocks, cross-channel transaction data or customer information, is thus available in consistent form at customer touchpoints at the stores (such as at traditional POS systems and self-checkouts, at kiosk terminals and on mobile devices such as tablets), as well as for enterprise functions at the level of headquarters (via interfaces to the ERP system, e-commerce applications or CRM systems).
Thanks to this architecture and TP Application Suite’s individual software modules — such as TPOMM for standardising merchandise management and ordering processes in online or stationary retail, or comprehensive functionalities and services for selective, personalised addressing of customers in all channels — retail companies can adapt their processes specifically to their requirements and those of their customers.
• Mobile merchandise management: The software module TPOMM brings user-friendly merchandise management solutions to mobile devices. Sales staff can use their tablets to call up product specifications, check product availabilities and enter or change customer orders. With this solution, retailers give their customers the flexibility to buy, order, reserve, pick up and return products in the way that works best for them. It unifies separate processes for merchandising management across online and in-store channels, enabling full integration with POS systems and in-store mobile devices.
• Mobile scanning: Whether customers want to pop in for a quick purchase or leisurely stroll around the store, mobile self-scanning processes using a handheld scanner provided by the retailer or with the customer’s own smartphone save time and offer new services. Customers can scan their goods directly at the shelf, view additional product information and the total sum of their purchases on the display at any time and pay quickly and conveniently at a self-service terminal. This modular and flexible workflow architecture covers all available and future automated checkout scenarios with the added ability to support an omni-channel retail strategy by connecting with mobile and cloud applications.These processes are controlled through the TPiSHOP software.
• Mobile marketing: Addressing customers directly and personally in the store with messages on their smartphone containing special offers that have been specifically selected on the basis of insights from “historical” business relations with the customer: This is an example of the kind of personalised marketing functionalities Wincor Nixdorf provides with its latest version of its software offering. Special tools for real-time analysis and proactive planning make the campaigns particularly effective and contribute to long-term customer loyalty.
Retail companies benefit from an informative 360-degree view of the customer relationship and can, as a result, gear their offers specifically to the requirements of the customers. To implement direct customer communication using beacon technology, Wincor Nixdorf cooperates with Zebra Technologies, a company that provides the Wi-Fi and beacon infrastructure required for such applications.