Why are stores waiting until checkout to ID shoppers?
According to Boston Retail Partners’ 18th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey, retailers are still struggling to find the best way to identify customers as they walk through their doors.
More than 500 top North American retailers were contacted in November and December of 2016 for the survey.
Seventy percent of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority, up from 62 percent last year.
Currently, however, most retailers still use “traditional methods” to identify customers which entail the customer providing information at the point of checkout. More than 80 percent use the customer’s telephone number, name/address and e-mail for identification, with about half using a loyalty or credit card.
Boston Retail Partners noted that first identifying the customer at checkout puts the in-store experience a step behind online, where website visitors immediately receive personalized offers and recommendations based on their purchase and browsing history.
Seventy-five percent of retailers plan to use Wi-Fi to ID customers by way of their smartphones in the store by the end of 2019. Also via smartphones, by 2019, 71 percent plan to identify customers in-store via a mobile app; 64 percent through a mobile loyalty program; and 60 percent from a mobile website.
Yet the current use of such methods is low and the performance is poor. Of the 43 percent who have piloted or implemented a Wi-Fi method of customer identification, 27 percent said it “needs improvement.” Only 26 percent have piloted or implemented a mobile app method, with 14 percent indicating it “needs improvement.”
The survey also found that “there does not seem to be one technology choice that is ‘winning’.” Many retailers are also testing or planning to pilot MAC address, NRC, Bluetooth, mobile wallet, social media listening and beacons.
Source: Boston Retail Partners’ 18TH Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey
Post-identification, the survey found 36 percent of retailers saying they were able to look up a previous customer transaction, up from 20 percent the prior year. Contact information availability and shopping history access increased in similar fashion. Yet only 21 percent were able to provide customer attributes/preferences and product recommendations to associates pre-checkout.
- The Proliferation of Mobile Devices is Driving the Rapid Shift to Unified Commerce – Boston Retail Partners
- 18th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey – National Retail Federation
- Retailers Tout Personalization Push, But Are Delaying Some Features for Years – eMarketer
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the limitation of technology or shopper apprehension the bigger issue preventing retailers from identifying customers as they walk into their stores? Do you see a practical path to ID’ing shoppers by way of their mobile phones?