As online giants like Amazon enter new categories and seek to expand their share of e-commerce revenues, retailers have shifted strategy to boost their digital competitiveness. Given the growth of digital spending, it’s easy to overlook an important point — more than 90% of purchases still happen in-store, and consumers still value in-person interactions. They simply want them to be more personalized and delivered with the “right now” level of service they’ve come to enjoy online.

We talk to dozens of leading brands in retail, banking, and financial services every day, and what’s clear is that the discussion is changing. It’s no longer online versus in-store. It’s about how e-commerce and traditional retail are merging and complementing one other, and this model is the future of retail.

Brick-and-Mortar Renaissance

According to 2019 research from IHL Group, for every retailer that is closing stores, more than five retail chains are opening them, up from 3.7 in 2018. Recent Engageware research also found that 85% of consumer prefer to shop at physical stores vs. online.

When it comes to banking, in-person connections matter, too. The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study found that consumers who conduct their banking solely by digital means are significantly less satisfied than those who bank digitally and also use branches.

In-Person Experiences Still Fall Short of Online Interactions

While the desire for in-person experiences marks a bright road ahead for retail, there are gaps that need patching for brands to shine. The ability to deliver a consistent experience has been a challenge for brands. Consumers expect a standard level of personalization when browsing online, however they voice frustration when looking for a higher-touch personal attentive experience in-store. In addition, they cite long wait times and trouble finding knowledgeable associates to help them.

From an operations perspective there are even more headaches. Most organizations have little visibility into which campaigns or marketing channels are driving high-value store traffic, and they’re even more in the dark about how many customers walk-in and out of a store without being served. 

Engagement Center Illuminates the Retail Road Ahead

At Engageware, we spend our days working to understand what keeps leading brands up at night. Our experience providing appointment-driven personalization for more than 500 enterprise brands, and the creation of more than 8 million appointments per month across 50,000 locations led us to develop Engagement Center.

Engageware’s Scheduler Platform is filling a significant gap in the market by helping to enrich the customer experience while simultaneously gathering critical data to help brands optimize their in-store experience, and ultimately perfect their service and staffing levels.

Engagement Center contributes to these results by creating pre-scheduled, live interactions on a massive scale, and doing so without the need for custom coding. We’ve also kept the user in mind with an enterprise-grade appointment scheduling engine that fully automates the scheduling process for organizations both large and small, including matching customers to the personnel with the right skills and availability to meet their needs. The result is higher customer satisfaction and lower provider delivery expense.

Here’s how we do it:

  • Real-Time Skill-Matched Online Appointments – all the tools brands need to create and manage AI-driven Intelligent Appointment Scheduling. As customer needs and behaviors change, administrators can easily manage appointment types, workflows, configurations, locations, appointment routing, and business rules.
  • Experiential Events and Classes – simplify event and class management and registration with local store scheduling and execution complemented by corporate controlled templates, event programs, branding, messaging, and customer notifications.
  • Omnichannel Customer Interactions – manage appointments, confirmations, rescheduling, and next-best-actions through all channels. Easily create customizable email and text notifications to keep appointments top of mind. Adjust the number of notifications, which stages in the appointment cycle they are delivered, and customize to fit your brand.
  • On-Location Queue Management – handle real-time customer flow for physical locations including bank branches and retail stores. Queue management tools optimize the on-site experience for both pre-scheduled and walk-in appointments while also providing visitors with accurate wait times based on the number of customers, employee resources, transaction type, and active appointment lengths.
  • Human Capital Inventory Management and Preferences – manage tens of thousands of personal calendars, skills, preferences and business rules. Focus staff by presenting them with the tools and information they need. Tailor user-based permissions in Engagement Center to only display administrative screens that are relevant to each user based on their role.
  • Powerful Analytics – gain deeper business insights into operational performance and customer experience. Track and report on Net Promoter Scores, marketing campaign performance, staff efficiency and more with valuable Next Best Action Analytics. Learn how many appointments have been scheduled, completed or missed, and review employee utilization to adjust staffing levels based on customer demand.
  • No Programing Required Admin UI – save administrative time with a new and more powerful, enterprise-grade user experience built for ease of configuration to expedite account management and eliminate wasted administrative hours.

Want to create consistent and exceptional in-person experiences? Schedule a conversation with Engageware.

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