Look around at your store right now. How many friction points do you see?
Are there associates who must use one device to look up product information for a customer and another to check them out? Or customers who are being shepherded across the store by associates who need to go to a very specific workstation to process special orders?
Are you watching shoppers walking out the door empty handed even though they had items in their basket just a few minutes earlier? (Perhaps they had second thoughts on their way to the checkout lane up front – or time to price compare and find a better deal elsewhere. Then again, maybe they saw the long line and decided what they really want is to get home – not what was in their cart.)
Is the line at the customer service desk 20 customers deep (and growing) because there aren’t enough registers installed? Would it help if you could “open more lanes” to process returns, approve price matches, and provide other standard services?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions, I want you to take a few minutes today to check out the new capabilities of the Zebra Workstation Connect solution. I call it a “solution” not because that’s the term most companies use to describe every technology platform they sell, but because it was specifically built – and has been proven to help solve – every single one of the problems noted above and more.
And, yes, they are problems if you ask your customers and employees…
In Zebra’s 15th Annual Global Shopper Study, 76% of consumers say they want to get in and out of stores as quickly as possible, whether they’re buying or returning items. In fact, 8-in-10 consumers say they now prefer to shop with retailers who offer easy returns. The frustration of having to wait in long lines is very real, and they aren’t afraid to walk away if they encounter any delays in getting what they want, whether that’s information, items, or their money back.
In that same vein, retail associates are frustrated they can’t help customers like they want to due to a lack of technology tools within reach. In fact, a growing number believe that having mobile devices that can enable them to accept contactless payment in store and curbside is a benefit. This isn’t shocking considering that one-quarter of respondents to the Zebra shopper study admitted that they abandoned a purchase due to the checkout line being too long. Six-in-10 shoppers say that long lines to get into stores or checkout are concerning to them.
What I take away from this feedback is that you must optimize store operations in a way that eliminates all current friction points if you want to attract shoppers, earn their loyalty, and stabilize – or grow – your revenue stream. You need to be able to turn the “point of decision” into the POS, especially during busy times when customers are most apt to consider abandoning their purchases if funneling into a long checkout line is the only way out of the store with what they want.
Likewise, if you want to recruit and retain loyal employees, you must make them the heroes of the story. They shouldn’t have to constantly apologize to customers for the wait or thank them for their patience while they find workarounds to inefficient systems.
Why Workstation Connect Works So Well (Especially in Modern Stores)
While I realize you’ve probably been pitched many “solutions” to these problems over the years, the reason I’m fiercely recommending you look at Workstation Connect today is because there’s only one of two ways associates will be able to…
retrieve product and order information
process sales and returns
customize special orders
accept payments – all in one fell swoop without having to repeat steps as they transition from the store floor to a workstation.
they must have a mobile computer or tablet in hand that can quickly turn into a desktop when needed, or
you must have multiple point of sale (POS) stations set up throughout your store that can double as full-service workstations for employees who may need to handle other tasks in between customer transactions, such as training, inventory lookups and sales report generation.
That’s why switching from your old desktop setup to Workstation Connect is a no brainer (assuming your store associates and managers are using Zebra devices in some capacity on the floor, in the backroom, in micro fulfillment centers or even curbside). It’s the easiest thing you can do to add instant flexibility to your store operations. Let’s talk about why in the context of key workflows:
1. Assisted selling – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a furniture or home improvement store trying to place a special order and been advised by the associate they must rebuild the order when we get to the fixed terminal to process my payment. It would take 30-45 minutes on average for them to get the order in the separate desktop system and get my payment processed. I will admit we always ended the sale mutually frustrated. If only they could have taken the tablet or mobile computer they were using on the floor, dropped it in the Workstation Connect cradle, and synced with the peripherals (and back-end system) needed to complete my order. I would have tapped my credit card and been out the door five minutes later. The other people waiting to be helped by those associates would have probably left much happier – or stuck around to complete their purchase – if they didn’t have to wait so long either.
I’ve also had similar experiences at automotive service centers, where the line was out the door to get my car in the queue. I believe there would be a lot of value in giving service representatives Zebra mobile computers that they could bring curbside to check in a customer. An RFID sled could be attached to read RFID-tagged tires and confirm they are still within their service life, and Zebra’s OCR capabilities would make it easy to capture vehicle information needed to open a service ticket and correlate it with the customer record, including the VIN number. Once vehicle check-in is complete, the service representative could go back inside with the device, dock it in the Workstation Connect cradle and proceed with the registration process – or help the next customer in line who may be waiting to pay for completed services.
So, if you have an assisted selling model in your store – and your associates have to go to a fixed terminal to complete the sale – please think about integrating your POS systems with Workstation Connect. Don’t make the associate have to login to a separate desktop and start over. Let them just drop their Zebra mobile device into the Connect Cradle or Hub and continue working on the order in desktop mode.
Just think about the extras your associates can convince customers to add to their orders by showing them all their options on the big screen! Plus, the faster you can get customers in and out, the more sales you can complete in a day. It’s a win-win.
2. Returns processing – I’m assuming all returns are currently flowed through the customer service desk or perhaps a few stations positioned throughout the store to prevent long lines from blocking shopper foot traffic. I’m also assuming you only have somewhere between 1-5 computers setup to process returns per stations due to tabletop space limitations. That means that even if you had more staff available to jump in and line bust, they wouldn’t have a “desktop” setup with the correct peripherals to scan barcode or RFID tags and process credits. Now, imagine you could add several more ‘floating” stations – two new “computers” for every one existing desktop using the Workstation Connect solution in a configuration that would look like this: