The manager runs up to a patron in his busy restaurant, with a concerned frown on his face saying, “Sir, I just wanted to check everything is okay with your meal as I couldn’t help but notice…that you haven’t photographed it yet?” This manager understands that the meal his patron is currently having has the power to transcend this particular sitting. He understands that this customer is a vehicle for electronic referral and holds the potential to generate future sales with prospective customers. It all comes down to how he incorporates technology into his service offering and then how he gently persuades them with an efficient service that encourages recommendation and return business.

We are living in a time when technology is not only part of our every day existence, but it is fundamentally facilitating it. Retail is no different: In today’s tech-savvy reality, apparel is no longer tagged, it is hashtagged and even if you are eating alone, friends can follow you to dinner. It is with this new reality in mind that retailers need to toss away being bricks & mortar by-standers by bringing their businesses into the 21stCentury.

For traditional retailers, however this can be an intimidating ask: Governed by the assumption that only ‘Millennials’ understand the necessary 0’s and 1’s required to action this. Fortunately, today’s tech is actually geared for the technophobe, and so upgrading your retail system to incorporate technology-driven services doesn’t have to be complex, impractical or expensive. In fact small tech-focused commercial decisions can be highly effective, simple to implement and actually save you money in the long run:

Tap into Mobile

Empower your customer to incorporate your business into their personal brand by giving them the tools to do so, like simply providing a hashtag. This will allow them to attach to your brand and market your services for you. By increasing your social media presence and inviting your customers to like your Facebook or Instagram pages, your customer is empowered to follow your service, engage with your offering on an ongoing basis and ultimately become a brand ambassador.

Simplify their customer experience with a branded app or join a like-minded ordering platform like Uber or Zulzi, which quantifies orders, increases revenue and extends your customer base. Tech-upgrades could even take the humble form of a reservation confirmation SMS, that goes out to customers with Facebook links and calendar syncing. These are all ideal tools for restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons. With incremental moves like these, you have the power to take your business off the street and into your customer’s device.

Streamline Communications

Voice Over IP systems may require a bit of capital to implement but because they run off the Internet, they cost you almost nothing to run after installation. These provide a 1st point of contact that is consistent, professional and that can direct customers in the most efficient way.

Eliminate the potential for human error by implementing a Mobile Point Of Sale as your establishment’s ordering device. With a tool like this, internal systems become centralized, so for example a waiter can take the order on the tablet, which then automatically suncs with kitchen (improving service time), immediately updating stock levels and eliminating the possibility of illegible handwritten orders going to the chef. This increases order accuracy, and encourages return business due to service consistency.

Enhance customer experience

Knowledge gained from scanning electronic profiles can provide valuable insight into spending behavior: It can tell, for example, if a customer is new or returning, what their drinks preferences are and what experiences they have had since their last visit.  This kind of information can assist with analyzing customer behavior to inform any number of business decisions like targeted marketing campaigns and ensuring general customer satisfaction.

It is important to note however, that once you are operating in the tech-space; you must consistently mine your information, remain active on your pages and most importantly, ensure that back at your establishment, service is up to standard. Because in an electronic world – bad news travels fast! That said, if all remains consistent and your have something helpful and enriching to offer your customer (with these added tools) business will take care of itself.

If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to tag it… does it really exist? This is a worthwhile question in a tech-focused market. So in order to ensure that your business truly exists (and thrives) embrace the change that will not only improve service, sales and visibility, but will ultimately make you and your business that much better.

This article is proudly brought to you by the tech-driven small business funding providers, Merchant Capital. For other interesting insights into this worthwhile topic, view here

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