By Ally Kutz, contributing writer
At BlueStar’s VARTECH 2015, members of the customer experience panel listed tech trends VARs should support to help their merchant IT clients increase customer engagement.
Matt Inan, director of business development and sales for e-Nabler, said, “These technologies are available today. It’s not a pie in the sky. We’re not talking about a year or five years down the road. They are natural extensions to what typical POS business partners sell today.”
- Digital Signage. “Digital signage has been quite a game changer, both in terms of tying the point of sale to the consumer by way of the additional media that’s being delivered, as well as the newer technologies, or the evolution of digital media by way of RFID beacons delivering relevant information to consumers while they’re shopping,” Inan said.
- Digital Media. Digital media and ad commerce integration allow customers to link with the merchant when they’re outside the store and to view products — and even make purchases.
- Order Online. These solutions provide options including order online, pick up in store; having online orders shipped to the customer; and even ordering online from the brick-and-mortar store (endless aisle).
- Smart Stores. Inan said stores that use printers with enabled beacons have the ability to engage with consumers as they shop. For example, printers positioned in various areas of a store can pick up a signal from an mPOS system and provide a receipt to the shopper. “This enables in-aisle retailing and line busting, truly, which is really the way to go,” he said.
- Digital Receipts. Jon Levin, product integration manager at Star Micronics, added, “It’s important to remember the experience continues long after [consumers] have left the store. With a paper receipt, there are many ways to engage with a customer — you can put a coupon on it, promotional materials, surveys — but it is a little one-sided. With digital receipts, it’s more of a two-way interaction. It’s making the smartphone almost like digital signage in the pocket of every costumer that walks out of the store,” he said.
Inan said, “These are good moneymaking solutions for your customers. You will give them tools by which they can increment their sales. These tools will yield operational efficiencies in terms of labor and inventory turnaround, and they will increase consumer experience and brand loyalty. There are measurable ROIs with each one of these products today."
VARTECH 2015 is being held Sept. 14 to 18 on the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship traveling from Port of Cape Canaveral, FL to CocoCay, Bahamas. VARTECH, the annual conference for value-added distributor BlueStar partners, focuses on data collection, point of sale, mobility, digital signage, RFID, and security. For more information on BlueStar and VARTECH, go to www.BSMinfo.com/solution/InsideBlueStar.