Assisted Shopping

handheld barcode scanner
Assisted shopping
Guest article by Neil Jones

Technology and mobility in particular have grown to be a vital part of modern society. People now interact more online than they do in everyday life, with the increased power of cell phones and PDAs they can now bring their online world with them. Many of the world’s biggest retailers have seen the power of the internet and with year on year growth in ecommerce every retailer worth their salt want a piece of this pie. But there will always be a place for traditional retail, people still want to see a feel what they are buying. So now retailers are trying to bring the conveniences of the ecommerce world to your local retail store. To do this they are investing millions in new technologies collectively known as assisted shopping.

Though the ideas and technology behind the assisted shopper are advanced, the concept is simple. It also allows the retailer to interact directly with the customer through every step they take through their shop allowing the retailer to target each individual customer with specific offers and coupons while they are shopping.

Here is how the whole process works

Once the shopper enters the store they swipe their loyalty card and check out a wireless handheld computer, the system will then recognise the shopper along with their preferences and buying habits. The shopper then proceeds through the shop, and using the mobile computer as a handheld barcode scanner they scan and bag each item as they go, while they can keeping a close on what they are spending. Once they have finished they dock the handheld computer pay the bill and leave with their shopping already bagged, no queues, no waiting and the customer has saved money with special offers that have been tailored to them and their buying habits, all this means, satisfied customers who will keep coming back.

Other advancements are also on the way which will further increase customer satisfaction and indeed their loyalty to a particular store; these include a road map to the exact location of every item on their shopping list, suggestions of complimentary or competing items.

The Retailers holy grail: loyalty

As a retailer if you can offer each customer exactly what they want as they are walking around your store along with discounts, promotions and tailored suggestions targeted to them alone and completely remove the hassle involved with the traditional check process. Don’t you think you would have a happy customer that will keep coming back, and as they do, you can build a greater resource of information about that customer allowing you to continue to offer not just a great service but also a saving each time they leave your store.

What the Assisted Shopper Offers The Retailer.

Not only can the retailer increase customer satisfaction and retention but by using the assisted shopper application to the fullest they can increase the average basket size, open new revenue sources and emphasise higher margin products all while interacting directly with each customer on an individual basis.

Staffing and labour costs will be reduced both at the check out process and on the shop floor, each member of staff is notified when a product line is out of stock as soon as the last one leaves the shelf, this efficiency will allow a smaller number of staff manage a greater area of the shop floor.

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