It seems that 8 out of 10 shoppers prefer a digital device that helps them find the right product than an actual human sales rep. And that includes brick-and-mortar shoppers.
Older shoppers might not understand this, but younger shoppers most certainly do. You can now use your cell phone as a price scanner and find cheaper versions of the same product online than where you are currently shopping. For instance, you can be in Best Buy looking at computers and scan the computer bar code to pull up the same product at Amazon to check the price. That will help you decide to buy it there or order it from the online store.
Chil’s restaurant is introducing a new Ziosk, a digital kiosk that sits on your table allows you to order drinks, food, and dessert right from the table. You can even pay your bill through the Ziosk.
Pretty soon, you might see those at every restaurant you go to.
What if you could order your meal and reserve your table from your smartphone before you get to the restaurant and have it all ready when you arrive? Turns out, you may soon have your wish – and most of us would probably prefer it that way.
But I agree with Cynthia Boris’s final analysis:
It’s good that customers are okay with tracking down the information in order to purchase the right product but if I had a brick and mortar store I’d want control of that customer. You could let Susan find a cheaper product online or you can educator her on why your more expensive product is a better buy. Better quality. No shipping costs. Easy returns. You’ll throw in a bonus item if she buys today. That’s what a sales associate is supposed to do, not point to an aisle then walk the other way. And when you engage that customer and get them to buy, they’re more likely to come and buy again.
The customer might prefer digital sales reps, but if the whole world is digital, then your business could lose. I think Chili’s knows this. That’s why your waiter visits the table first and activates your Ziosk before you can use it. Oh, and …
Just because your customer is virtual, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out and make their experience as pleasant and personalized as possible.
Amazon is real good at that. Make your customer’s experience a personal one and think of every way you can improve their buying experience. If you can do that well, they just might forget they are talking to a digital sales rep.