Black Friday. Cyber Monday. The biggest shopping days of the year are around the corner. Are retailers ready? Do these brands have smart tech in place to increase orders, streamline operations, offer exceptional customer service to ultimately knock holiday sales out of the park? According to RetailDive, only 58% of retailers have invested in technology to for the holiday season, and those companies are at a huge advantage. Here are 3 brands that will dominate this year’s shopping season and see a strong ROI with emerging mobile tech.
Target leverages mobile to increase customer service and sales
This retail giant took steps in the right direction to ensure customers have the ultimate experience in stores. Back in October, Target announced the launch of its new app called “myCheckout” for its store staff at all Target locations. With this technology, Target employees provide exceptional customer service by assisting customers in-store who are looking for a particular product but it’s either temporarily unavailable or not the desired size or color. The employee can automatically order the correct item online and have it shipped directly to the customer in minutes. The app runs on mobile devices with a credit card reader attached for easily checking out customers in the aisle. After testing the piece of software in select stores, the app successfully processed more than 10,000 transactions and increased customer satisfaction rates. With the holidays in mind, Target hopes its investment in technology that adapts to how customers are shopping will be a huge success.
“Guests already enjoy shopping here, but we can also ship directly to their home from our stores. The future of retail will neither be digital nor physical–it’ll be both,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s Chief Information & Digital Officer, in an announcement of the new technology.
UPS streamlines operations for 95,000 holiday workers with tech
Even this logistics giant is getting the right technology in place for the holiday season. Every year, United Parcel Service (UPS) plans months in advance for the spike in deliveries around the holiday, but the company struggles with rising wage costs and reduced productivity when hiring so many seasonal workers. How to solve this? Using smart tech to enable predictive distribution. The tech calculates how many miles each driver is capable of driving and the number of drivers the company actually needs to streamline operations and increase productivity.
“By using technology in real time, you’re able to make adjustments to your network to make sure you have the right capacity available,” says Richard Peretz, chief financial officer at UPS.
Not only will this software increase internal productivity, but it will also increase customer satisfaction by predicting better delivery dates based on volume.
Walmart uses innovative tech to train employees and stock shelves
With the biggest shopping day looming ahead, Walmart anticipates customer chaos and dysfunction in stores, but this year, employees will be well equipped to handle any situation thanks to virtual reality. Last year, Walmart launched a pilot program for employees and has since rolled it out to all training academies across the nation in preparation for this year’s season. In the training lab, the Walmart team can recreate chaotic Black Friday scenarios that are almost impossible to recreate in a store. These VR simulations train employees on leadership and retail skills while also teaching specifics on how to manage different departments.
The retail giant also invested in robots to help stock shelves at 50 stores across the country. The robots, which are 2 feet tall and embedded with cameras, help scan aisles and identify missing or mislabeled products and send reports back to employees. Walmart executives believe robots can scan and search for items more efficiently than humans and have a lower error rate.
“If you are running up and down the aisle and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well, and they don’t like it,” chief technology officer for Walmart U.S. and e-commerce, Jeremy King said.
By leveraging technology internally, the retailer is streamlining operations, increasing productivity and freeing up employees’ time to perform higher quality work than scanning items on shelves. Walmart knows this investment is improving customer service and making the job easier for associates at the same time.
These big brands are ready to dominate the holiday season, and with the right tech in place, they’re set up for success. In our modern day with online retail brands like Amazon sweeping the competition, Target, UPS and Walmart will quickly see their return on investment and continue to be tech leaders in the industry.