Turning Bricks and Mortar Mobile – The Store Operator’s Investment Plan

By Samantha Youl | 31 Jul 2012

In a recent Store Operations survey by Retail TouchPoints, the retail store operators share the story on what they are investing in. What will make the cut?

Endless technology changes continue to rock the retail world, making it a challenging and competitive industry to be part of. Multichannel store operators are having a good look at their budgets to see how they can keep up to date with the mobile and pureplay retailers of the world. A recent study titled, Taking The Pulse of Store Operations, from Retail TouchPoints investigates the issues facing store operators today.

The shop assistant was once upon a time thought to be the glue that held a store together. The stock was available and the customers were browsing, but the shop assistant was the ‘call-to-action’ button that made the sale and encouraged the customer. In recent times, the shop assistant’s role appears to have diminished, whether that is due to bad customer service, or bad training, one can’t be sure. But the store operators are noticing this and spending less on employee training and retention. Over half (64%) the retailers interviewed said they already had an employee program in place, but 22% have no plans to implement one in the future. It appears the money is to be invested elsewhere on more necessary issues.

It is no secret that the mobile space is soon to boom and store operators are seeing this as an area to be involved with. The survey found 89.8% of operators are increasing or maintaining their level of investment in mobile technology. Having in-store mobile technology available is said to have increased customer satisfaction by 63.4%. An in-store mobile capacity is said to have other benefits according to store operators. These include an improved employee morale, increased upsell and cross-sell and an increased average dollar sale.

Having mobile technology in-store can give customers a better handling on the products available. With retailers said to be having trouble delivering consistent cross channel strategies – mobile access in-store can make the shopping process easier for the customer. By providing a tablet or mobile available store operators are giving customers the option to check products availability (69.2%), product information (65.4%), order out-of-stock products (42.3%) and purchase a product with mobile payment (23.2%).

The cross channel consistency has been lacking, and consumers have been looking to find the best price available, whether that be in-store, online or on a competitors site. The results found that over half (56.1%) of those surveyed offer consistent pricing across all channels, but 14.6% are still not offering consistent pricing, with no plans to implement in the near future.

How does your business rate? Do you have mobile technology in-store? Are you planning to? How important is employee training to your business? And is your cross channel pricing consistent? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Store operators who are not taking the steps to spend the budget on important technology changes in their business will be left behind.