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Food & Hospitality Tips. How to improve customer experience

The advent of food-delivery apps is changing the way the new consumer eats and gets to your restaurant or food location. That’s not to say customer service isn’t still the single most valuable customer experience to optimise.

Here are our leading tips on the matter for cafes, restaurants and food service locations.

GET STAFF THE RIGHT TRAINING

No matter how many years of experience a waiter or server might have, always make sure you have a standardised way of equipping your human talent with the most up to date customer service training and technology.

Making sure human staff on the front lines have the emotional intelligence, skills, knowledge and confidence doesn’t mean just in-house training, but finding a professional service like Myagi, that can help. Myagi makes it simple to scale excellence across your entire organisation.

Toast POS, see their reviews.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT POS

As clothing boutiques are on Vend and bike shops are on Lightspeed, it’s important to choose the right POS solution for your vertical. Touch Bistro is our pick for many food service establishments. Though Revel Systems and Toast POS are also great choices.

TRAIN FOR PROBLEM SOLVING

Staff working on the front lines in customer service need to be able to deal with crisis situations and conflict resolution on the go, for those messy situations. Having a company wide policy of how to handle certain situations and difficult customers is important so staff can set the bar high for expected levels of customer experience, no matter the person, day or customer.

HAVE STAFF MEETINGS TO ANTICIPATE FUTURE NEEDS

To improve customer service and customer experience for customers, it’s a good idea to ask staff on the front lines to be as empathetic and perceptive as possible to identify how new customers can be served better at all points of their experience journey.

Implementing customer surveys on a regular basis to help identify where you can improve is a good idea. To offer innovative service, it’s important to take a proactive stance and not simply react to industry trends but spot them and adapt before your competitors.

HIRE STAFF WITH A HEART FOR HOSPITALITY

When hiring for customer service roles, it’s not like hiring for other roles. Candidates should not be judged the same or solely based upon their resume or upon experience. The deep rooted ability to be emotionally attentive to generous service, to passionate hospitality is also a skill that’s inborn. Basic job requirements can be taught, but having a heart for hospitality is a gift and naturals in this can provide a higher level of service than many of us mere mortals.

TEST HYBRID WAITER/SELF-SERVICE

For some food locations and in the right restaurant verticals, testing self-ordering kiosks on iPads or tablets is a valid option. Self-order menus aren’t difficult for food POS solutions to automate, and can help save time for staff and even require you to hire less staff on average to help save on bottom lines and augment existing staff with better technology.

Lightspeed recently rolled out such a solution. Self-serve Kiosks are nothing new for Revel Systems for a trendy “grab and go” customer experience.

Check the Star Cloud Services Blog for more articles.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

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Amazon’s One-Click Patent Expires as Whole Foods Flourishes

If Amazon is not stealing news headlines with its decision to open up a bidding war for a the right city to hold its second HQ, there’s tons of other reasons we should be following one of the most important e-commerce, cloud and tech companies of our times.

1-CLICK PATENT EXPIRES

Amazon’s one-click buying patent expired Tuesday September 12th, which in many ways gave it an unfair advantage in the early days of e-commerce and since 1999. The 1-click button is as ubiquitous as ordering products via Dash, and helped streamline Amazon one-click buying as part of its checkout process that revolutionised an industry.

WHOLE FOODS INCREASES IN TRAFFIC

As Amazon wasted no time in cutting whole foods prices, by up to 40% for some key products. According to data from Foursquare, Whole foods saw a spike of more than 25% in foot traffic the first Monday and Tuesday after the changes were made in late August.

The stats first reported by Bloomberg, indicate that Chicago saw the highest surge with big hits being avocados, bananas and various meats. Amazon acquired the upscale chain for $13.7 billion and offers it an immediate brick and mortar presence with a similar audience to its high-value Amazon Prime users.

With items such as Organic fuji apples marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound, and organic avocados $1.99 from $2.79., the price reductions certainly add to Amazon’s trust appeal.

The traffic data is being taken as an optimistic sign that Whole Foods stores can see significant lift where in Chicago the difference was 35% more traffic, which amounts to a significant jump in customer appeal. A Whole Foods market brand on the rise, could see grocery rival shares continue to tumble.

1-CLICK END OF AN ERA

For many retailers and e-commerce brands one-click buying is risky since it in effect, eliminates shopping-cart abandonment and thus can be too costly. Some studies in 2017, put true rates of shopping card abandonment at about 70 percent.

The one-click patent it’s had for the last 18 years, is today valued at around $2.4 billion annually increasing Amazon’s sales by roughly 5 percent. Those are significant margins that helped Amazon be associated with seamless omnichannel customer experience that has become the most trustworthy search stop for products.

Amazon’s superiority in number and quality of patents is so shockingly high compared to all other retailers put together, it gives you some understanding of why Amazon is known as the leader in customer-centric innovation, maybe in the world. With Amazon’s more recent focus on voice AI and predictive AI, 1-Click is part of a winning mechanism that has enabled them to become ubiquitous with online shopping.

BATTLE OF THE GROCERY SHARES

Indeed since Amazon’s surprise acquisition of Whole Foods, grocery shares have taken a collective beating, perhaps none more dramatic than Kroger’s. Namely, Kroger shares plunged more than 9% in mid June, which is the largest traditional grocery chain in the U.S.

  • Costco was down 7%
  • Target was down 5%
  • Wal-mart down 5%
AMAZON COULD DISRUPT THE FOOD CHAIN

What is clear with Whole Foods is Amazon is aiming to disrupt the entire food chain, and Walstreet and its competition knows it’s up to the game.

Amazon has now established itself as a rival not only to these companies above, but to America’s leading tech companies in the cloud such as Microsoft, Google and Apple in the smart home.

Amazon in the last few years has become so ubiquitous it’s no longer really a retailer, and it no longer truly needs a 1-click patent monopoly to herald a new kind of retail based on data, robotics and artificial intelligence. The arrival of Aldi stores and the rise of Whole Foods under Amazon, signals a new era for the future of grocery retail.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

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How to Make every Sales Associate an expert

In retail every customer interaction is a chance at converting your business into a winning retail brand.

 

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IS HUMAN

From order taker to experience maker, retail associates are the bridge of customer trust with your store’s brand and the manifestation of your brand’s integrity and a significant component of its customer experience.

If the human element at your retail location is a deal-breaker, Myagi is a solution for retail training of associates.

Helping your front lines at your retail location means your staff are fully equipped to:

 

  • Be highly skilled with the right knowledge

 

  • Have confidence to deliver unforgettable retail interactions

 

  • Offer the highest quality customer service with a wide range of customers

 

THE NEW RETAIL

In an era of product discovery online with customer experiences in store, a new era of the customer journey calls for a new approach.

Customers have already done their homework as to their product requirements, so they expect retail staff with impeccable knowledge able to deliver exquisite levels of customer service.

Given the high levels of associate turn-over, an effective training program is required to empower associates to have laser sharp problem solving skills to deal with the new consumer.

Retail staff are people and by equipping them with the right playbooks from the ground up, Myagi enables an elegant simplicity of retail empowerment all across a retail store’s organisation and brand fulfilment of customer facing service.

EMPOWERING PEOPLE WHO LEAD RETAIL

Their online training platform and content delivery optimisation systems, means that the people who run your store who are on the front lines and channel content are both up to the highest levels your customers expect, no matter what kind of a store or service you run.

Myagi also offers an analytics suite to help you scale your retail organisation to the next level. Giving your staff tools they love is one thing, but measuring how they are implemented on an on-going basis is key.

For the greatest lift in sales and service performance:

  1. Identify the content
  2. Identify the people
  3. Identify the management practices

At the end of the day people are our most valuable asset, their passion, dedication and talent enables people to lead retail into serving the new consumer better.

So how to bring it all together? See Myagi webinars here.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

 

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QR codes for Retail at the POS

We’ve all heard of WeChat, the WhatsApp of China that does payments with QR codes, now iOS 11 is coming out this Fall with QR code native integration.

This has some serious implications for retailers wanting to get on on board with QR code deals. At Star Cloud Services, we offer a receipt promo services with QR code compatibility, and this could become really big. Digital influence is scaling to mobile in new ways and many believe it amounts to a QR code renaissance.

This includes some really smart people. Shopify smart.

SHOPCODES

Shopify is introducing a way to make mobile shopping a breeze for their e-commerce retailers.

For a low-cost solution that scales for brick-and-mortar stores we have created Promo PRNT that is currently in beta for select retailers. It will be rolling out to more Star Cloud Services retailers early next year. Creating a mobile-first QR code incentive at the POS remains a high ROI retargeting and customer retention strategy for a wide range of small businesses.

The application of QR codes in retail stores is nearly endless, both for promotions and special offers and also for customers to easily gain more information on products.

QR codes are very 1994, but after catching on in China, it seems they are now destined to go mainstream globally more than twenty years later.

iOS 11 MEANS QR CODES GO MAINSTREAM

The newly announced iOS 11 update that mean QR codes will become native to the camera app and legitimise them everywhere. So we should as consumers get used to those cryptic gibberish looking codes staring back at us, and as retail owners and entrepreneurs we should celebrate.

Here’s an omnichannel mobile convenience we can’t afford to let our customers NOT have access to. In a world where offline still dominates online commerce, giving customers mobile access to deals, our products and new customer experiences means everything.

QR codes can be mobile call-to-actions (CTAs) in an era where every shopping is typically carrying and often using their smart phones in the store and at small business retail locations.

QR codes are one way in which retail and commerce might actually want to copy China. The loyalty marketing opportunities are bigger than Augmented Reality or digital signage, this is because QR codes can be a gateway to anything and everything the consumer loves.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

 

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Bodega is bringing Vending Machines to New York City

In the future of retail there are many stories of how change is taking place with cultural influences. In Japan, vending machines represent a significant kind of retail automation to service large urban populations.

THE FUTURE OF RETAIL INTERSECTS TECHNOLOGY

As our ideas and definition of what a convenience store changes, so do the solutions that mimic what has worked in other high-density regions of the world. In a political atmosphere of American-first policies at work, Ex-Googlers raised millions for a startup that replaces mom-and-pop stores with vending machines, and there’s a public outcry on Twitter over it (Mid September, 2017).

That’s not so say that Bodega is a bad idea, because it’s certainly not going to threaten Mom and Pops stores. However as automation and solutions that can scale get more popular, it does change the fabric of human interaction in shopping and commerce and what it means to be fulfilled in the customer experience journey.

As the new consumer craves a new level of convenience, QR code enabled, grab and go sign-in tech and pre-pay embedded conversational commerce AI will be the new norm. If voice skills are replacing apps at home, why would it be any different in retail as digital influence convergences with brick-and-mortar retail?

ON DEMAND RETAIL IS HERE

Bodega hopes to replace the corner store with a more convenient vending-machine cabinet. – Bodega

The advent of drone delivery hubs, robots and miniature convenience stores we have to think in the future of retail, is pretty basic and inevitable. Target just announced it too is going through a hiring spree, adding some 100,000 workers after four years of relative calm.

As the bike sharing Chinese solutions of Ofo and Mobike have scaled and gone to market faster than Uber did itself, scalable solutions like Bodega for urban centers are starting to look a lot better for venture capitalists and investors. Mobile payment solutions that are ubiquitous like WeChat faciliate this go-to-market speed. Not only does the new iOS 11 have a native QR code scanner, WeChat pay is increasingly fluent with the Apple Watch 3.

HOW WE CONSUME AND REPEAT ORDER IS CHANGING

Bodega is a startup of ex-Googlers whose motto is Everyday Essentials, Instantly. The founders recently talked with Fast Company, you can read the article here. Paul McDonald and Ashwath Raja have raised $2.5 million, according to Tech Crunch. As less than 10% of all retail transactions occur online, and less than 15% in China, brick and mortar options are still what consumers are more familiar with and trust the most.

So how does it work? An app unlocks the box, and camera sensors see what you take to charge you accordingly. Dash buttons are a great option if you are with Amazon Prime, but what if you are not? Not everyone wants to get to a Costco or a Walmart physically any more, or order online, so what’s in-between?

That being said, it’s also a fun solution to debate, or create memes about. It was a huge controversy on Twitter.

Source: Twitter.

The reality for retail is, how we experience consumer fulfilment is rapidly shifting to a new paradigm. The on-demand economy also means new retail brick-and-mortar solutions that will compete side by side more traditional business models of the speciality store. How we relate to consumable items and the food and grocery industry in particular, seems ripe for disruption.

WILL THERE BE BACKLASH VS AUTOMATION?

How we interact on Twitter is of course not the real-world of grabbing an item in our busy lives. However, it’s interesting how differences in culture might impact how quickly automation scales in different industries, at different locations.

In a world of floating pantry boxes of non-perishable items (what Bodega is today), isn’t this simply a glorified five-foot vending machine or a mobile micro convenience store (MMCS)? Yet while reading Twitter, you’d think we just invented the antithesis of Mom and Pops stores. Automation doesn’t make our local stores obsolete, it enhances them.

Bodega’s logo is a cat, and Twitter citizens are getting a bit catty about this idea. Though we have to remember, this is a $60 Billion dollar industry in Japan.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

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8 Ways Retail Stores can Do the Holiday Season Better

For many brick-and-mortar retailers Fall is not only a time when it gets colder, but a time to prepare for the all important holiday season where store traffic will be higher.

The biggest buying period of the year also starts earlier than ever for store customers, consumers and the online shopper that can be attracted to your physical location. Ideas for gifts are born in the cool winds of September, and crisp nights of October.

So, we decided to come up with a list of helpful ways small business retailers can leverage this time to improve their sales for the coming all-important months. The holiday discovery period is already upon us for a significant segment of physical store customers.

Source: National Retail Federation, 2017.

START EARLY

Create an actionable discount campaign, sales calendar, and tell customers about them months in advance. Then, properly distribute and advertise your deals to create more traffic later on. Do this on multiple channels, on social media, on physical signage and on receipts which can be done on Star Micronics Printers, via Star Cloud Services.

No matter what kind of store or SMB service industry you are in, you can appeal to the holiday spirit and create experiences that match. It’s never too soon to start prepping for Christmas.

By giving appointment reminders with added mobile convenience, you can connect with high-value shoppers easier.

GET THEM TO COME TO YOU

For indie retailers and local merchants, it’s important to think of mobile first ways to get customers to book appointments with you. Booxi is an booking automation service that makes it easier than ever for businesses to book online, get reminders and even pay online for services.

By creating educational, interactive and special events with face to face interaction, you can give your target audience the best customer service to help them think of the perfect gift at your store or service.

PREPARE FOR THE SEASON
  • Choose on the right sales at the right times of the holiday seasonal calendar.
  • Get your Email campaigns and website ready accordingly.
  • Hire enough part-time staff to cover greater activity for the holidays and train your sales associates better than ever.
  • Plan out different paths to purchase and how your fulfilment plan can improve on sales this holiday season compared to the last.
  • Add a few tech bells and whistles to test their ROI on your bottom lines, this might include a custom built loyalty program.
FOCUS ON MARKETING WISHLIST CONTENT

Local stores can create online wishlists that promote traffic to their retail brand by coupling their products with gift ideas.

Good places to start doing this are in your Email Campaigns, Instagram, Pinterest, your website blog and creating short crisp videos around this theme.

A survey done by the NRF this year indicates wish lists might be transitioning to the digital stage in 2017.

UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE

This might be the right time to check your POS solution and their integrations and choose a few that syncs well with growing your business to the next level.

Depending which POS system you are with, this can help elevate your performance to the next level. Popular software integrations at the POS that can be easily improved for relatively little cost are:

  • Loyalty Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Ecommerce
  • Service Scheduling
  • Data analytics and reporting, so many more.

GO OLD SCHOOL

At a time of online commerce, one of the most effective retail strategies is to go small and to old-school. This means emphasising the human, intimate and handmade approach.

  • Handmade gift cards
  • Thank you notes and free give-aways
  • Improve retail basics: lighting, props and signage
  • Host an educational series, live event or gift exchange at your location to augment your retail brand’s culture
  • Partner with local businesses and services that leverage a good cause

THINK SOCIAL

Think of your retail customers like a tribe, how can you best mobilise them? Are there members of the community,

peer influencers

or social media influencers that can participate in a Holiday campaign? Influencer marketing is trending in many retail sectors, why not yours?

Have you thought or trying a

live-video

on topics related to your products and the holiday Season and gifts ideas? Creating authentic social content can help stimulate your high-value customers to greater interaction with your brand that translates into increased sales.

FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS

As a retail store manager, retail owner and retail entrepreneurs, you know what has worked for you in past Holiday Seasons. How can you do that even better? How can you elevate your game in:

  • Customer Service.
  • Customer Centricity.
  • Customer experience.
  • Product Fulfilment.
  • Retail Staff organisation.
  • Advertising and marketing.
  • Improving bottom lines.

Try our latest ad-tech of promotions on receipts to help drive you traffic this holiday season that’s cost effective with high ROI.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

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Walmart adopting Artificial Intelligence with NVIDIA to keep up with Amazon

Retail is truly at the cutting edge of technology adoption.

It’s possible we’ve entered a golden era of how retail stores are adopting and integrating new technology into their customer services transforming the retail experience.

Brick-and-mortar stores are still popular, but how they showcase their brand culture and products is changing.

To remain relevant, Walmart must not just partner with tech companies, it must become one.

RETAIL INNOVATION AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH

Even the POS is innovating directly with the customer experience. Lightspeed HQ launched a self-ordering tablet menu option for local restaurants recently.

With Amazon’s entry into the grocery space with Whole Foods, the pressure is on Wal-mart to innovate with technology more than ever.

Amazon recently announced its plan to have pop-up stores in Kohl’s. These are being pilled as Amazon “smart home spaces” with a pilot of 10 stores in the Los Angeles and Chicago areas, starting later this Fall.

THE SMALL STORE IS SUPERIOR FOR EXPERIENCES

Nordstrom itself recently announced 3,000 square foot stores that won’t sell merchandise, a symbol of how the new consumer enjoys experiences, not things.

Redefining how we have appointments with our stores might be part of the future of retail? Meanwhile all over the world, there is an unofficial race to the next-gen smart convenience store.

WALMART IS LEANING ON PARTNERS TO KEEP UP

While Whole Foods have nearly 500 stores in the U.S. and the UK, Walmart has more than 10x that many stores and is the biggest employer in the United States. It’s literally, the biggest employer in 19 states.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s AmazonGo store is becoming popular in different low-tech variations in China already.

In mid 2017, Walmart lead a movement asking its tech providers and associates to leave AWS (Amazon Cloud’s Service), a move later copied by Target. With dropping stocks of grocery brands by the Whole Foods acquisition, Wal-Mart is leading the charge of how partners are attempting to compete. This started with impressive Google Home integration into Google Express, joining the likes of Costco, and so many others.

With Walmart’s own acquisition of Jet.com to bolster its E-commerce, it’s realising it’s not enough. To keep up with Amazon, Walmart needs to forge tech partnerships that gives it an edge over other retailers likely without the budget, agility and talent to compete in the space with Amazon’s entry into grocery.

WALMART PICKS NVIDIA

As radically as e-commerce change the retail landscape of the last ten years, AI will transform it even more and also accelerate the e-commerce trend.

With around 90% of Americans living within a 15-minute drive to a local Walmart, Walmart has the brick-and-mortar advantage, it just needs to keep up in Artificial Intelligence.

Enter NVIDIA. Walmart recently announced building huge data centers to house its cloud computing and make a sizable push into deep learning, a segment of artificial intelligence.

  • Walmart will use NVIDIA GPUs to power its cloud platform.
  • The new GPU farm would be able would be about 1/10th of the size of Amazon’s massive cloud operations.

It’s becoming increasingly clear, for Wal-Mart to keep up with Amazon in the new age of retail, it mustn’t just partner with technology companies, it must become an artificial intelligence company. Something, it’s even further behind in to Amazon than the online marketing catch-up.

Meanwhile, it appears Amazon is becoming Walmart, faster than Walmart can become Amazon. Walmart must adopt artificial intelligence more than ever to remain relevant, not just doing omnichannel, but in how it facilitates offline convenience, not resting upon its laurels but moving with the future.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

 

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Brick and Mortar Stores are Benefiting from the Retail Apocalypse

If the retail apocalypse is a physical correction of square footage in the U.S., small business and local merchants may actually be benefiting.

According to the National Retail Federation, the retail apocalypse for department chain stores, might be a boon for small business retailers.

Over 4,000 more stores are opening than closing among big chains in 2017. – IHL Group

As retail jobs disappear from brick-and-mortar apparel chain stores, retail entrepreneurs are actually thriving. Is the retail apocalypse then, nothing but a “market correction” of how stores will work in the future? In a quickly changing world of the impact of technology on physical stores, retail brands as well as more agile entrepreneurs are adapting to new consumer preferences.

In an era of fake news, the headlines of the retail Apocalypse do not tell the entire story. The most recent retail sales figures released by the Census Bureau were up a robust 4.2 percent year-on-year in July, according to the NRF.

What if Brick and Mortar stores aren’t just surviving it, they are thriving with it?

As consumers seek more seamless shopping experiences, they are also seeking a more personable, authentic and human element and that’s what clearly differentiates local Mom and Pops stores, local small businesses, services and pop-up merchants.

The Retail Apocalypse is probably both a blessing and a curse for small businesses.

SHOPPING REINVENTED

The rise of E-commerce and advent of technology companies into brick-and-mortar settings such as Amazon into grocery is seeing both innovation and adaption, a movement that’s largely going to reinvent the shopping experience.

Shoppers are gravitating to small stores with a more intimate customer experience that’s authentic and convenient.

While it’s difficult to predict retail’s future, retail sectors are showing strong gains inspire of unprecedented store closures across the board.

Source: IHL Group, Company Reports

For local small box stores and independent merchants, and small businesses at large, the retail apocalypse might mean more elbow room in an already ultra competitive market.

As Malls are changing, so must mainstreet and brick and mortar retail stores can benefit from it by aligning with the preferences of the new consumer.


Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

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Star Cloud Services New Partners Update

Here at Star Cloud Services, we recognize that the POS solution space is going through a software, cloud and mobile revolution.

We are now in the middle of the POS industry redefinition, where local stores and small businesses can access valuable add-ons via integrations to their POS. In addition to democratizing data, this means a suite of automation tools.

As Star Cloud Services matures, it’s a stimulating a rich retail tech ecosystem to be an innovation hub that works alongside:

  1. Independent software vendors (ISVs)
  2. Value-added resellers (VARs)
  3. Retail merchants, local businesses, and retail store startups (Retail entrepreneurs)
  4. POS systems, their partners, and customers (Point of Sale)
STAR CLOUD SERVICES PARTNERS WITH 3 NEW SOLUTIONS

As a retail innovation hub, Star Cloud Services wants to give retailers incredible technologies to help them scale.

We want to integrate with showcasing the best, and we enable small businesses to connect with solutions that make sense for their audience, business model and situation the best.

We integrate with multiple POS systems, and partner with distinct solutions bringing our total up from three to six in the last few months.

Today we will be covering an appointment solution for retail small businesses. Grow your business with the smart appointment solution that works for you.

BOOXI

Visit their page with us here.

A mobile-friendly solution that helps you with scheduling and business management. Its features include SMS appointment reminders. – Capterra

Booxi is an appointment scheduler at its base with an unusual depth of useful features.

WHAT CUSTOMER ARE SAYING

  • We are getting new customers.
  • Fewer phone calls during the day.
  • Give us more credibility and notoriety.
  • Give the feeling to customers that our business is ahead over the competitors (modern way to book).
  • Customers like to book by themselves at any time.

WHAT CAN IT DO

  1. Appointment booking
  2. SMS and Email reminders
  3. Calendar and appointment management for staff
  4. Online payment
  5. Staff management

BENEFITS

Grow your business with the smart appointment solution that works for you. – with Booxi.

The human touch in 2017 and how offering customers convenience is increasingly being done through mobile.

In an era of adding events to our Google calendar via Google assistant or Google home, the way we need to think about appointments and in-store experiences needs to keep up.

For small businesses, services, and local retailers there are many significant benefits of doing appointments and bookings smarter.

As software gets smarter, mobile-first options enable a new convenience of customer experience for a wide range of businesses in support of the growth of retail entrepreneurship. Booxi is such a tool.

BENEFITS OF BOOXI

  • Stay open 24/7 for appointments
  • Minimize no-shows & cancellations with seamless reminders
  • Reduce administrative costs and time spent on the phone
  • Increase bookings by helping customers book online and pay in advance
  • Create a more memorable experience
  • Facilitate appointments to increase your business
  • Convert online traffic to in-store visits!

Read more benefits of Booxi here.

Let your clients book appointments online and save time off the phone.


 

Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

 

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Retail Showrooming Trend

In the survival of the fittest of Retail, brick and mortar stores are creating experiences better than ever. Local merchants are starting to understand how GenZ are store lovers and will by 2020, make up the largest group of consumers worldwide.

GEN Z ARE STORE NATIVES

Small business retailers can’t afford to be ignorant or stubborn to technology and mobile. Today’s teenagers (14-21) known as GenZ are the most savvy, off-price conscious and pragmatic shoppers in history who grew up as e-commerce natives.

This means they are equally at home on mobile, in stores and being on their mobile devices while in store.

Retail stores are learning how to tap into the native cultural niche of their audience. They are using new forms of digital signage and displaying products in a more calculated way to connect the dots between online and offline shopping journeys. This means, greater digital influence in the physical store, and personalized appointments to discuss products at locations.

WHY SHOWROOMING IS IMPORTANT

All paths to purchase are important, and increasingly E-commerce native brands are opening up stores to boost their retail brands and attract new customers. Omnichannel leverages the journey, the experience and connects the dots between online and offline discovery giving merchants a fresh way to connect with their audience.

According to Retail TouchPoints, 85% of shoppers still prefer to make their purchases in person.

In 2017, “Showrooming” is no longer a dirty word for brick-and-mortar retailers. They have to embrace it as the consumer is more agile and are expects in the product discovery phase of finding a good deal and know when they come across a truly memorable retail store.

According to Shopify, showrooming is the process by which a shopper visits a brick-and-mortar store to check out a product but then purchases the product online.

  • Customers love experiencing products through the five senses before making a purchase.
  • For a significant purchase, retail associates can use an appointment booking solution such as Booxi, to give a customer a tour of a product or service at their location.
  • Showrooming not only put retail design front and centre, but the strength of your customer service to make a favourable impression.
  • Finally, showrooming gives the ultimate convenience of delivery, completing the customer experience where ambience, human-interaction and fulfilment all intersect.

In 2017, showrooming isn’t a threat to your business, it’s a way to give your customers more creative options and that appointment with an inspiring connoisseur that brings them back to the store again.

REASONS RETAILERS SHOULD SHOWROOM
  1. Attract customers to the store to increase foot traffic through sensory experiences.
  2. Create in-store festivities and retailtainment scenarios that will seduce your customers into falling in love with your products again.
  3. Think of products as an extension of the culture, hobbies and social activities of consumers.
  4. Attract younger customers to ensure a growing business.
  5. Make the physical store an extension of your retail brand’s storytelling where visual elements are the characters and products are the plots.
  6. Create even more memorable customer experiences that make you unique and stand out.

Michael Spencer is a content strategist, futurist and marketing consultant. He was named a 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice and blogs on technology trends as well as retail. He’s based in Montreal and manages social media branding for tech startups, in addition to blogging. LinkedIn | Twitter.

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