Like many Canadians, the holiday season is my favourite time of the year. There is something special about gathering together to exchange gifts and toast the season with friends and family. But the “most wonderful time of the year” can be downright stressful for shoppers trying to cross items off their holiday lists, and for retailers getting ready for the largest retail spending season of the year.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, this got me thinking – what happens behind the scenes for retailers during the holiday crush, and what tools can they use to help provide shoppers with the best possible customer experience? I sat down with Riyad Twahir, Practice Lead, Retail and CPG vertical, at Xerox with the top 3 items on my holiday shopping list to take a behind the scenes look at the tools Canadian retailers could use to put items under my tree this year.
Item #1: Xerox Robotic Mobile Analytics help bring the “force” home this season
The first item on my shopping list is also one of the season’s hottest trends – toys from the new Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens movie. According to a survey conducted by FusionOps, 69% of respondents said they were concerned that Star Wars merchandise would sell out leading into the holiday season. That means that retailers will need to plan ahead for their supply needs, and shoppers like me may need to do some legwork to find out which retailer has the items in stock.
I asked Riyad how retailers cope with this type of demand, and he described how analytics play a large role in helping retailers anticipate the hottest items of the season and what consumers will want and need. He also shared how Xerox research labs have created a robotic mobile analytics platform that can provide real time information about a store.
“The robot recognizes products and labels, and pinpoints the aisle and shelf where the products are located,” Riyad says. “It travels the store capturing and processing information from a high resolution set of cameras, recording where and how well the products are placed. The robot counts shelf stock, ensures merchandizing compliance, and generates dashboards with time-stamped to-do lists. It’s not just about stocking and promoting products. Retailers get real insight into consumer preferences – which items people pick up and compare, how people move through the store, and more.
See the robot in action here!
Click here to view the embedded video.
Item #2: Giving the gift of customer service
The next items on my list are a mobile smartphone and tablet for my parents, who tend not to be tech-savvy. With so many devices on the market, I asked Riyad what features I should look for in mobile devices to help my parents enjoy these gifts. His advice was surprising – and not a feature at all.
“One of the things I would recommend to anyone making a purchase of a mobile device, or any other investment electronics is to understand the type of support that comes with the item,” he says. “Electronics have bugs, they break down, and you need to call or visit a store for support. The experience you have at this time can absolutely impact your enjoyment and usage of an item.”
It turns out that Xerox is behind the scenes here as well, processing more than 2.5 million customer interactions worldwide. Using a retail CRM solution, Xerox works with retail partners to provide support to consumers via traditional engagements, as well as social media, and analyzes data to provide a faster response to resolve customer issues. Exactly the kind of service I want for my parents to enjoy their new devices and make the holidays a little less stressful.
Item #3: The omnichannel turkey
The last items on my list is the food for our family dinner. This is the first year I am cooking for my family, and like many holiday shoppers, price is a top consideration for me when I am looking at my dinner menu. That means checking out supermarket flyers in my area and looking for the best deals possible in-store.
“The omnichannel experience is becoming a huge expectation for consumers” Riyad says. “The experience they have looking at flyers, websites and in-store should all have the same look and feel.” Riyad recommends shopping at supermarkets where the signage and deals are clearly displayed and by doing research ahead of time to price match and compare. According to the National Retail Federation, promotions that save time and add value, such as gift cards with purchase and loyalty programs, will be offered by many retailers this season.
Xerox works with retailers across the country to help manage their marketing and communications needs, including everything from developing and managing content to deploying, tracking and measuring omnichannel marketing programs. Xerox produces in-store displays, signs, websites, flyers and a host of other materials that help consumers navigate the busy holiday stores and pick out the perfect turkey deal.
Whatever is on your list this season, take the time to check out deals, do your homework and most of all, enjoy the holidays!
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Source:: xerox news