You are likely used to being greeted by name when entering the local neighborhood eatery. Your server probably already knows what you want to order and suggests specials that are likely of interest.
Imagine having a personal shopper to assist you on demand to find what you are looking for and point out bargains you might have missed.
Many consumers prefer anonymous transacting and are not looking for a relationship with their retailer. There is a lack of trust.
However, for those who are, consider the following strategic applications aimed at building one-to-one high-value customer relationships.
Customer Identification and Authentication
Know thy shopper. Whether online or in person, leverage technology to establish an authenticated identification. Most E-commerce sites and stores don't know who their shopper is until they check out. Greetings and acknowledgements go a long way to initiating a conversation.
E-commerce sites are getting better at responding to the "I'm looking for..." query. Not only do they attempt to present the requested product, but they are improving with suggested alternatives for the cross- and up-sell. Stores need to get into the game and allow customers to ask for assistance while browsing.
Where many E-commerce applications fall short is that they have limited information about the products. More information needs to be available on demand to help the consumer make an informed decision. Stores to date, offer little or none. Consider the following dialogue:
Consumer: "I'm looking for low fat swiss cheese." Directory Assistance: "We have 12 brands on aisle 3. Kraft 2% Swiss is on sale for 2.49 lb. Our deli has Swiss Alpine low-fat on sale for 2.99 lb. Say 'reviews' to hear what shoppers have to say."
Many shoppers select self-service POS to avoid lines and when they have only a few items. Stores can learn from e-commerce sites use of express checkout where payment can be automated. Reducing the steps and accelerating the checkout process raises the appeal of self-service POS. Retailers should also consider that checkout is still an opportunity to build relationships. Offering spontaneous discounts and incentives to return are highly effective.