Retail TouchPoints: New Survey Shows Retailers Converting POS Into Marketing Tool
By Amanda Ferrante
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
A survey from Aberdeen Research found that best-in-class (B-I-C) retailers are over three times more likely than average performers to seamlessly integrate real-time unit-level promotion data updates at the point of sale (POS) within the last 12 months aiding in-store customer focus and sales programs.
The survey was part of a report, POS to Profits: Reviving Best in Class Sales & Service in Retail Stores, that also found that the top strategy of 50 percent of B-I-C retailers is to use POS as a backbone for continued customer-facing enhancement and localized in-store marketing. However, the survey of 132 retailers from May through June also revealed that 73 percent of retailers rate themselves below, or at best sub-par, on their current point of service or POS capabilities.
To achieve B-I-C performance, companies must strive to convert the POS into a powerful marketing tool for renewed customer focus and differentiation, according to the report. Companies must also align POS performance with enterprise performance to augment customer satisfaction and transactional volume, and consider rapid implementation cycles to improve speed to deployment and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).
Aberdeen’s February 2009 report, Migrating to Customer-Centric Point of Service, found that 77 percent of B-I-C retailers encountered operational pressures impacting POS performance such as complex checkout procedures and long wait times. This year, the data reflects that POS pressures have shifted toward a reversal in in-store spending at POS and costs of operations.
Below are six major components of a marketing-centric POS strategy adopted by B-I-C retailers, according to the survey:
- Perpetual inventory availability and multi-location visibility tools at POS for inventory look-up by store associates and managers to address customer inquired for regular orders, multi-channel orders and special orders: 77 percent.
- Coalition loyalty programs and membership discount card programs executed at POS comprising of common point or dollar perks involving few other retail brands to increase basket size and wallet share: 70 percent.
- Signature pin-pad enhancements that stream dynamic and personalized promotional content and digital images prompting improved customer conversions, up-selling, cross-selling and impulse purchases: 67 percent.
- Mobile POS and thin/lean POS systems for quick checkout, self-service, clienteling and assisted selling by reusing POS logic (associates or managers that assists customers in the pre- and post-sales process). These measures help deliver the brand promise and cultivate a customer responsive, agile in-store shopping experience: 56 percent.
- Web enhancements including web-enabled POS functions, cross channel inventory visibility (i.e. virtualization) and integrated order management for web and special orders. These improvements enable improved product access and order efficiency: 53 percent.
- Pre-paid acceptance to expand transactional volume and customer loyalty (i.e. open-loop and closed-loop gift cards): 50 percent.
Discussion Questions: In what ways are retailers failing to fully capitalize on POS systems as marketing tools? What challenges must they overcome to improve?