In an increasingly dynamic retail landscape, technology is proving to be the differentiating factor that gives retailers the edge over the competition. Digital technology-based systems for people counting and queue management, signage and display, security and shrink management put them in a better position to centrally manage store activities, attract customers, handle and process customer data to obtain insights into shopping trends and customer preferences, and improve the overall customer experience.
While the GITEX Technology Week expo held from October 14 to 18 in Dubai was about the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, the focus of attention was on retail technology solutions providers offering niche product and services.
Improving customer experience with business intelligence
Dubai-based retail solutions and services provider Savant Data System (SDS), a people counting solutions provider for retailers in the GCC, India and Far East,is now expanding its offerings with business intelligence solutions that allow end-users to define key performance indicators according to their retail businesses.
“We have developed do-it-yourself business intelligence applications with drag and drop tools that allow users to set their own performance indicators and view analytics reports accordingly. It enables retailers to set hourly targets and monitor staff performance, inventory, sales, etc,” says Vic Bageria, director, SDS.
“Our solutions help retailers create a better customer experience, build customer loyalty and improve staff performance. If the business intelligence application can be integrated with employee work hours, stores can be monitored on an hourly basis and store managers can obtain better insights into customer-to-staff ratio and assign more staff during peak hours,” he adds.
Among SDS’s new offerings are a queue count application to monitor queues at checkout counters and mobile POS systems. “The difference between a people counting system and queue counting system is that the latter counts basket-sized groups of people around that basket size instead of individual shoppers,” says Bageria.
The mobile POS system comprises a tablet PC, bar code reader, magnetic-stripe card swipe terminal, pin & chip card terminal and near field communication (NFC) enabled features.
“The mobile POS system does not necessarily replace the POS terminal. The biggest advantage is that retailers can service the customer anywhere on the sales floor instead of making them wait in a queue. Thus, every sales person becomes a cashier. Furthermore, the sales staff can use the tablet PC to display product catalogues and explain product features,” concludes Bageria.
Digital signage gets personalised and interactive
LG Electronics introduced its new Smart Mirror signage concept which is an interactive advertising platform with various fun elements that react to a user’s behaviour, the concept being to engage the customer with the advertisement. The smart screen is usable in the open air such as a bus or shelter, the active advertising screen providing users with surprising experiences that help them retain a memory of the brand much longer.
Another display technology showcased by LG was the Virtual Store, an imaginary shop where customers can navigate and purchase products as if they are being displayed in a show window, enabling immediate searching and purchase of products, and obviating the need for clients to physically visit stores.
“The next generation of digital signage is about new concepts, interactivity, social connections and fun features combined together with the advertisement message. Digital signage will evolve into a media platform, transforming an interactive place into a lively breathing place through user participation and engagement,” says David Kim, director, MEA B2B, LG Electronics Middle East and Africa.
“LG’s digital signage platforms are equipped with an interactive mirror, virtual store and virtual apparel fitting contents that provide customers with a more personalised and interactive means of brand visibility and promotion,’’ adds Kim.