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Retail chains look to mobile technology to improve customer service

Retail chains are using mobile technologies to help them deliver better customer service, a new survey has revealed.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail chains look to mobile technology to improve customer service

The research by Vista Retail Support found that 91% of the large chain operators questioned by the retail IT support specialist felt that connected technologies such as tablets could help staff to improve the assistance they offered customers.

Three quarters also agreed that the greater adoption of in-store mobility could improve the high street shopping experience and foster a consistent, omni-channel experience.

The study found that tablets were proving to be a major hit, with 42% of the retailers questioned having already rolled out the handheld technology in their stores. A further 50% said they planned to adopt the technology within the next two years.

Vista said that many of the retailers questioned recognised the potential for web-enabled mobile technologies to improve marketing and brand perception, with 64% saying they could help deliver a more personalised customer experience. In addition, 65% believed they were an effective way to deliver marketing and promotional messages.

However, the research also showed that price as a barrier to greater adoption: 58% of the retailers polled felt that mobile technologies were still too expensive and only a quarter felt they were a cost-effective way to serve customers. Furthermore, 42% felt that mobile technologies had some way to go to be robust enough for commercial use, with 33% saying they would be more likely to adopt more of them if they cost less – far more than the 8% who said they needed to be more reliable.

Richard Cottrell, sales and marketing director, Vista Retail Support, said: “To keep their retail outlets profitable, many of the largest retailers are doing all they can to make the in-store shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible for customers. 

“While cost is still a barrier for some, the research clearly shows that mobile technologies do have a part to play in helping them maintain brand loyalty across online and offline channels. Crucially, they may also prove to be an important tool in enabling high street operators to withstand pressing commercial threats such as showrooming.”

Hear the latest mobile retailing strategies and network with like-minded peers at the Retail Bulletin’s 3rd Mobile Retailing Summit, 24 September 2013. Speakers confirmed so far include The Body Shop, Domino’s Pizza Group, John Lewis, Asda, IMRG, Mobileweb Company, Economist Intelligence Unit. Click here for programme details and registration.

 

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