The Perspective 
Tuesday, 29 October 2013

By: Kisha Wilson
Marketing Manager at Slabb, Inc.


A company should offer a good product, great customer service, exceptional after-sales service and options to attract customers. But even with all of this, is the deciding factor when purchasing a product all about convenience?

We may know what product we want, if not, we research and identify various options. It is also great when the salesperson we communicate with is knowledgeable and helpful. A warranty on the product and the assurance that having the product maintained and repaired when needed is also a plus. Let's suppose we get all of this at a store and have our much needed product in hand only to face the prospect of a long, meandering line or slow checkout service?

Just think of the angst you experience at Thanksgiving and Christmas when you're faced with long lines. It can also be like this if the store or product is popular. Would facing this, ultimately change your decision about getting the product? For some people, it wouldn't.

I think for me it would. I have three children, two under the age of four and my time is literally never my own. There are so many options and alternatives now that a long line is definitely a deterrent for me. It is even more infuriating when there are several check-out counters with only one or two being manned. I often wonder why businesses do this when they can choose the alternative of providing a self-service method such as an interactive kiosk. Think of how much easier flying is when you check-in beforehand or you avoid the lines by going straight to the check-in kiosk.

Some may argue that it may seem impersonal and limit a company's ability to create a lasting relationship with a customer. Could it also be a missed sales opportunity to promote the benefits of additional products at the check-out line? Maybe not. There have been so many times when things are just so busy the salesperson cannot dedicate their time to the customer in front of them or forgets to offer add-on purchases anyway.

Most customers would return to a store that considers their time, and makes their shopping experience easier. On that account, being less harassed by the sales experience, they might even take the time to answer a quick survey at the kiosk, or entertain add-ons to their purchase which, once programmed correctly, the kiosk will never forget to offer.

According to the Zendesk Benchmark Q2 2013, there has been an increase in customer satisfaction reflected in an average customer satisfaction score of 81 percent. One of the main factors contributing to this is the increase of self-service offerings such as kiosks.

Interactive kiosks are the machinery of choice when it comes to giving the public as many options as possible when conducting transactions. We used to be limited to ATMs, but now self-service kiosks are everywhere, from supermarkets to theatres, to every type of retail location where transactions take place. Depending on the industry, businesses can choose outdoor models, freestanding, desktop or wall-mounted self-service kiosks that offer superior convenience and serve a variety of needs.

This makes it important for companies to choose the right kiosk provider that can understand their needs and provide service and support for the unit. A company with experience, that will ensure that every element of programming and maintenance will be taken care of with the utmost care and precision, as well as ease-of-use for both customers and employees. A kiosk provider should offer custom solutions with both hardware and software to ensure smooth operation at all times.

Previously posted on

Posted by: Admin AT 01:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 22 October 2013


By: Ifti Ifhar, CEO, ComQi

Thanks to smartphones, consumers have unprecedented access to boundless shopping options conveniently placed at their fingertips. Retailers are now facing the challenge of how to bring the attention back to their brick-and-mortar stores and revamp their sales.  However, through an innovative and brand-controlled mobile experience, the retailer can expect increased customer engagement, enhanced loyalty and boost in sales.    

Brick-and-mortar stores are still by far the top revenue generators, accounting for 94.2% of total US retail sales in Q2 2013 – a staggering $1,052B
according to the US Department of Commerce.  The retailer’s goal is to marry the offline and online sales for increased total revenues and EBITDA.

The solution lies in customer engagement which is the connection between a customer and a company or brand. Providing a positive, interactive sales experience, coupled with a quality product and on-demand convenience is essential. Being synonymous with sales and attrition, it is well known that retailers who invest in customer engagement enjoy premium ROIs. Based on a study conducted by PeopleMetrics, companies with the highest customer engagement levels were found to yield an annual ROI increase of 8% above the industry average, while companies with low engagement levels saw a ROI 23% below the industry average. 
The disruptive technology for in-store customer engagement is a real-time, two-way mobile interactive communication channel between the shopper (smartphones and tablets) and the brand (through the store’s digital displays). It is a cloud-based SaaS technology platform incorporating mobile, web, digital signage, social and video.
There is software complementary to digital signage and social media marketing that provides a dynamic experience to include two-way mobile interaction, personalization and influence to the shopper. Customers are stimulated and feel valued because they are getting tangible rewards and emotional gratification, which leads to future purchases and increased loyalty towards the retailer.

Further integration with the brand’s POS, inventory and loyalty programs leads to a seamless storefront structure: ultimately, customer engagement at its best.  The consumer gets custom discounts, instant product information, availability, price comparisons and reviews, access to online forums and a registry to the brand’s loyalty program for additional benefits. 

The retailer successively collects the social identity of the store visitors and can converge it with the analytics derived from the online platform for creating unified retailer’s shoppers Big Data, improving future marketing efficiencies.

We live in a technology-based, interconnected world, and consumers are entering brick-and-mortar stores with smartphones firmly in hand. They are more informed than ever, and have clearly defined expectations of retailers. Luckily, they are more willing to interact with brands and products in totally new ways. With in-store access to detailed product information, personalized promotions, and an expedient way to shop, customers are experiencing the brand as envisioned by the retailer. The right solution can provides a 360 degree customer engagement vehicle, supporting the customer’s journey and the retailer’s longevity in the competitive and digital retail environment.


Posted by: Admin AT 02:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 08 October 2013

By David Anzia, Frank Mayer & Associates, Inc.

I recently gave an interview where I was asked about the challenges of managing retail self-service projects given the rapid progression of in-store technology.  With the array of tactical mobile options and digital innovations, there are seemingly limitless opportunities for in-store merchandising to connect retail shoppers to the online and virtual worlds.

We can now provide a call to action for consumers to interact with content on demand on any type of retail display or self-service kiosk. Still other “next big things”, like gesture-based interfaces and virtual imaging, are competing for attention.

The challenge in planning for retail merchandising and self-service projects is navigating with our customers through the practical versus the promising.

Retailers are looking for ways to draw traffic and accelerate their omni-channel agenda in-store. Retailers and marketers straddle the line between wanting to evaluate new technologies and wanting to deliver an experience that is intuitive and accepted by consumers.

Forrester Research recently issued 2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers, which evaluated the readiness of “game changing” mobile technologies.  All of these offer the potential of being combined with in-store merchandising. To summarize their analysis:

We expect significant progress in mobile technologies in 2013 — especially around indoor positioning — but not major breakthroughs…While we believe that mobile technologies like GPS, NFC, augmented reality, image recognition, and 2D bar codes will offer phenomenal potential to enhance real-world experiences for consumers, they can’t do so in isolation.

Gaps in infrastructure, the cost of scaling, availability of specific applications on smartphones, and consumer education are all factors that marketers have to consider when making the decision about whether to incorporate promising mobile ‘’on ramps” into in-store merchandising.

Decades of attending trade shows, seeing new technologies demonstrated, engaging in trusted partnerships, and listening to retailers who are constantly taking the pulse of their customers have given us insights that help us evaluate the latest innovations.

What we know is:

  •     The number of NFC enabled phones is growing but still small.
  •     More people are scanning QR codes, but the absolute numbers are small. Context and content are important in making these deliver.
  •     Texting behavior is more pervasive than QR code scanning.
  •     Augmented reality is still a young and developing industry. ROI is an issue.
  •     At the same time we are in the midst of rapid change with the ramp up in smartphone ownership – 56 percent of all U.S. adults according to PEW Research.
  •     Young, active mobile users are a growing force at retail.

While a dose of reality is necessary, the pace of change and the stream of innovation should keep us continuously evaluating the parade of “next big things.” You might say it’s like driving on the highway; we’re aware of what’s right in front of us, but we’re focusing several car lengths ahead.

Posted by: Admin AT 02:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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