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Since the advent of social media and online shopping, traditional retail spaces have been in a state of flux. Sales teams, once considered the authority in their own space, often find themselves at a disadvantage when faced with today's digital-savvy, informed customers. These customers, through their own research and online comparisons, may already have completed up to 70 percent of the shopping journey, and have likely made a decision before even stepping foot in a physical store or placing an item in their e-commerce shopping cart. While this can be helpful in closing sales, it also means that sales associates have less opportunity when it comes to starting a conversation that might lead to lasting relationships.

As a growing contingent of customers decide to complete their transactions online, you may think the days of the traditional retail space are numbered. Thankfully, in more ways than you might imagine, retail spaces across the globe are choosing to adapt rather than perish. Harnessing cutting edge technologies, these innovators are changing the brick-and-mortar retail game for good. Here are just a few of the innovations leading that charge.

Traditional retail spaces have been in a state of flux.

Cloud-driven knowledge. According to a Retail Touchpoints study, 85 percent of retailers identified knowledgeable sales associates as the most important factor in a great overall shopping experience. That same study found that as many as 72 percent of retailers agree that it’s important that store employees possess the same or better information as consumers. So what’s better than an entire Internet’s worth of research and analysis?

How about a database that checks on inventory and shipping options in real time while also keeping tabs on the competition? With up-to-the-minute data sets, your sales team will be able to beat the competition’s best offer, place out-of-stock items on hold across town, and set up delivery or in-store pickup options in a flash.

Modern point-of-sale (POS) technology. By picking up your registers and putting them into the hands of your sales associates, you open up new worlds of customer interaction. Customers looking for a new mattress, for instance, could go over customization options and set up shipping from the comfort of the mattress itself. Sound dreamy? Since they won’t have to get up, you’ll also be trimming serious time off of making that sale―as least 25 percent, according to an Integrated Solutions for Retail case study from August 2014. A modern POS solution and next generation user experience can also house your data cloud, meaning your sales team can answer any question the customer throws at them on the spot.

The Internet of Things (IoT). A blanket term for all your connected devices, the IoT is already shaping up to be a game changer in retail. By identifying customers via their smartphones, you’ll be able to greet them by name the second they enter your store. Even if this is their first time shopping in your location, you’ll also be fed important data on each customer. For instance, you’ll know if you’ve got a regular customer, a big spender, or a new prospect on your hands. Using this same connectivity, you can also inform customers of sales or send them special offers as they walk through the door.

Customers may now be better informed than ever before, but with the right technology in the hands of your sales team, you’ll be ready to wow them from the second they arrive in-store. Contact us to get your hands on Microsoft Dynamics Point-of-Sale software today!

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