As Hi-Touch retailers, we’ve allowed shopping to become more and more anonymous over the past several years. It’s something we’ve got to change — and it’s not that hard to do.
Here’s just one example. In the past two years, a close friend has spent several thousand dollars at a large clothing store in Beverly Hills — let’s call them Retailer X. He is likely one of X’s better customers — but when he walks in, nobody greets him by name, welcomes him back, or shows him things he might like based on his past purchases.
In a sense, X is just saying smugly, “He’s bought from us before, he’ll buy again.” And that’s a dangerous way to operate.
If you don’t have a plan for being able to greet and welcome your best customers and provide the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) payoff for their visit, you need to make some changes.
And several technologies already exist that can turn that around.
I recently spoke to ModernRetail for an article looking at how AI can improve the in-store experience — and the thing is, facial recognition technologies like CyberLink’s FaceMe can be key to bringing back the kind of personal recognition every shopper wants from a store — as long as the recognition overcomes creepy by feeling human.
Your best salespeople may already be able to remember many shoppers’ names and past purchases — but as retailers, most of us are doing nothing to automate or even support that in the face of increasing employee turnover.
Done right, facial recognition technology could change a salesperson’s first greeting to my friend at that Beverly Hills store from “Hi, I’m Fred. Welcome to X,” to “Welcome back! We hope you’re enjoying your Brioni suit. Based on what you’ve liked in the past, here’s something we really think you’ll love — and what’s more, because you’ve been such a loyal customer, I’m authorized to present you with this special offer.”
The technology to do that already exists, it’s not hard to implement, and here’s the thing: you may not be doing it, but your competitors on the Internet are. (So depressing.)
When you log onto Amazon, you’re immediately greeted by name and offered five things they think you’d like to buy. Your customers can get that from a website — why can’t they get it from you?
If you deploy the technology that enables that kind of personal recognition, you’ll finally have a retail location that can defeat the Internet — because now you’ll know what the Internet knows, but you’ll be able to leverage it in a much more personal and human way than the Internet ever can.
Websites would kill for the kind of personal relationship with the customer you can have in-store — but too many of us have allowed our customers to walk in and feel like a number (or worse…)
Think of your favorite neighborhood restaurant. You go there because the food is good, but also because you know the servers, they know you, and you feel welcomed. Maybe they even have your favorite drink waiting for you when you arrive.
None of this is a new concept — we’ve been making sure our customers felt recognized and welcomed for decades in retail for one simple reason: it works. It’s only recently that, because of employee turnover and other issues, too many of us have started allowing people to wander into our stores anonymously and feel unwelcome.
Implemented correctly, a technology like FaceMe can empower your salespeople to create a conversation with your shoppers that has a deeper understanding of them and their needs imbued in it from the beginning — and they won’t have to start from square one every time they visit.