Q&A

Why VARs Should (Have To) Care About The Retail Customer Experience

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson

Retail Customer Experience For VARs

Scott Holt, VP of marketing at ROAM, an Ingenico company, says taking a little time to understand your retail IT clients could pay off with big returns. He points out VARs and other IT solutions providers who understand the current demands their retail clients are facing will have a competitive edge.

“Retailers need to enhance the consumer experience — in store and out of store,” Holt says. “And they’re moving as soon as they can to do that.”

Consumers, who shop online, make purchases with the assistance of an associate with mobile point of sale (mPOS) on the sales floor, buy things at outdoor kiosks — as well as shop in brick-and-mortar stores — are demanding a seamless shopping experience. Holt explains to create the optimal customer experience, it takes integrated systems with reporting, analytics, administrative functions, and inventory management tied into the existing POS system and “at the same time creating that new front end experience.”

Holt says mPOS can be part of the solution. Retailers who want associates to be able to move to customers in the store — maybe even to an outdoor stand — need the system to work in a way that enhances the customer experience as well as the needs of the business. mPOS also can facilitate quicker training of a new associate — who is probably accustomed to using a tablet prior to being hired — and tablets also work in multiple environments.

One hurdle can be adapting an existing facility for new technology. “Existing infrastructure wasn’t typically built for iOS devices,” Holt comments. “Merchants need a strong partner to build the front end, tie in diverse systems, and make it scalable.” If the retailer decides to add Bluetooth LE Beacons, there needs to be a way to integrate them with the rest of the system.

The IT solutions provider who can deliver the in-store and out-of-store experience, says Holt, will win clients. He adds, however, “Retailers aren’t looking only for solutions, but also guidance.”

“The technology continues to evolve,” says Holt. “It will be a question of how quickly we can adapt solutions. But it can’t outpace the backend.”