Hozefa Saylawala, Regional Sales Director, Middle East Region, Enterprise Mobility Solutions Business, Motorola Solutions, says retailers have an opportunity to approach the technologically integrated customer by implementing the right solutions.
As technological innovations impact the way customers shop, it is mandatory for retailers to be in sync with the evolving market trends.
Hozefa Saylawala, Regional Sales Director, Middle East Region, Enterprise Mobility Solutions Business, Motorola Solutions, says by offering the right solutions to the retailers, they have an opportunity to approach the technologically aware and intelligent customer.
For Motorola, retail is one of the focused business solution groups in the Middle East. Having observed that the regional retailers experience 20-25 percent year-on-year growth, the company has partnerships and regular discussions with retailers on how to enable mobility solutions to connect them better with their customers, whether it is the backend or storefront operations, and thereby helps in increasing productivity.
The mobile phone has revolutionised the way we connect back to information, and this means, we have more and more information at our finger tips. Saylawala says, “Mobility is definitely revolutionising the way customers are looking at retail. Customers are well-informed about the product or the service they want to purchase even before they enter a retail store.” What this spells out for the retailers is that they have to prepare themselves in order to welcome the better-informed connected customer. They have to find ways and means to reach out to their customers today. It is not about in-store promotion, says Saylawala, but about being able to connect with their customers outside the store digitally through social media, mobile advertising and apps. “And through mobility solutions, try to bring these customers back to the store. This is the way retailers should look at engaging with customers today.”
With the advent of the internet, the shopping experience too has transformed. Today, the experience begins online. If a customer wants to purchase a product, probably, the first thing he does is research it online before walking into a store. Or perhaps he won’t enter a store at all, he will complete his purchase on the online medium itself. As a brick and mortar retailer, it is essential to consider these situations and work towards being present with the shopper, right from the first moment, he decides to buy an item. How can the retailer ensure the customer’s mindshare and also provide the right information to help the shopper do comparative analysis at the initial stages and eventually move the customer to the store?
This is what Motorola is trying to bridge through its solution, Connected Shopper. “Our retail solution, Connected Shopper allows to bring in many different components of retailing under one umbrella. It starts with a simple thing called customer experience,” explains Saylawalla. “Omni-channel presence is important and what we offer is how do you create an omni-channel presence and when you do this, how do you give the customer a seamless experience?”
Connected Shopper enables the digitisation of creating a personal rapport with the customer. “The idea is to create an interest in customers’ mind for him to walk into the store. This could be through personalised targeted campaigns and digitised loyalty programmes.”
It could begin as easily as creating an app unto to the smartphone, through which the customer is registered as digital loyalty customer. As the customer goes through the omni-channel shopping mechanism, he leaves behind a wealth of information about himself. “This then, allows the retailers to structure and design the right promotion packages, which is personalised for each customer, depending on the purchase history.”
Saylawalla says it won’t be too far along in the future, where we will see a retailer identifying a loyal customer when he is in the vicinity of the store because he is a registered customer through wireless networks. This could be in the form of a greeting message. “This means the store is identifying its loyal customer even before he enters the store through the proximity awareness feature. Today, the loyal customer is identified only at the check-out counter,” he says. Added to that, the wireless network also analyses which area of the store the customer spends maximum time at.
“Technology offers you to have an intelligent conversation with your retailers today,” adds Saylawalla.
Through the app, the customer can click on the help button if he wants an interaction with the staff, which initiates an imitation to the nearest available salesperson. This is done through staff communications and management system. The solution is also meant for backend operations, for example, the store associates can check stock through the mobile device he is using by issuing a task to the backend person. “He is able to help the customer without moving away. The solutions help in effectively managing staff communication. By accepting or rejecting a task, retail associates can replenish stocks and a record is kept of all generated tasks.” Saylawalla further adds that the solution is highly modular, a retailer need not implement the complete solution and can be flexible and choose only a part of it for a particular problem.
However, the backbone of this solution is that the retail environment must be enabled with dependable wireless connectivity. This is something that Motorola specialises in, says Saylawalla.
“Motorola is engaged with many retailers around the region. We have couple of pilots and is engaged in defining the scope. Customers are using queue-busting solutions and some have been highlighting mobile POS, but seamless integration of these under one umbrella is something we see retailers doing by end of this year or early next year.” Although, government and banking regulations are challenges in this area. “We are seeing an open approach. Rules are different across countries, so seamless experience across stores is challenging, but going forward we will see quite a lot of evolution,” he concludes positively.