As leading providers of virtual queuing and appointment scheduling systems in the retail sector, we’ve been working alongside global enterprise retailers for more than eight years now – and over that time we’ve learnt a thing or two about a successful technology implementation process.
Launching new technology on the shop floor and on your virtual channels is no easy feat to master. For the initiative to be successful, it needs to be backed by the senior leadership team, understood by the head office and implemented by regional and store managers and their teams.
And for those advocating for the new technology implementation, it takes a great deal of courage to pitch a new initiative and resilience to see it through to the end.
Here are some steps to follow when implementing new technology across a portfolio of retail stores:
1) Properly understand the problem
The retail market is becoming increasingly competitive, and a common trait many modern retail businesses have adopted to remain competitive is by piloting too many customer experience initiatives at the same time, and throwing multiple software tools, store redesigns, and other initiatives into the mix. This is particularly true at “pilot” or “labs” stores.
While it is good to put new solutions to the test, doing too many without a proper strategy can easily skewer the results or stop the brand from using a new solution to its full potential.
Therefore, it is crucial that brands take the time to carefully consider the consumer problem they are trying to solve, and determine how the new technology will help to alleviate or solve that problem.
What customer type will most likely use the service or solution? And what is their level of technical expertise? Do your research and find out first.
For information on how consumers of different age groups and household incomes feel about virtual queues, store appointments, virtual appointments and curbside pickup at retail stores, we surveyed 2,000 US consumers. Read the survey for free here.
2) Get buy in from senior level stakeholders
In all our years of experience, we’ve come to realize just how important it is for omnichannel, innovation and retail operations teams to gain senior stakeholder support before going ahead with an initiative.
While these teams often have the authority to roll out new initiatives without approval from the C-suite or senior directors, getting buy in from those at the top will make it easier to implement and reduce any blockers that might get in the way. They also make great advocates for your initiative once it’s in place.
3) Map out your customer journey across multiple use cases
When implementing your new technology, a good idea retailers should bear in mind is to make the initiative as accessible as possible to consumers from all backgrounds.
Our research revealed that the majority of consumers want to be able to access virtual queues or book appointments from a change of channels – QR codes, SMS, through your app and website, through kiosks and customer hosts. And the same applies to most retail technology solutions. Make a range of customer journeys available and allow your customers to pick the one that best suits them.
It’s also worth conducting pilots to gather data and gain feedback from customers and store associates before launching the new initiative across your store portfolio.
4) Train your store associates
The next step is to set up a training process that makes it easy and enjoyable for your store associates to utilize the new technology. Sell them on the benefits of using it first – highlight what’s in it for them (increased sales, time saved, streamlined processes).
At Qudini, our account managers visit stores to conduct in-person sessions with store associates, or more commonly, we work with a smaller group of volunteers who we train to use our queuing app or booking app. These volunteers then go and train the other store associates in their stores in how to use the platform, creating self-appointed advocates for Qudini. We also supply them with a range of video tutorials and a support portal where they can find answers to any of the questions they might have.
5) Measure the results
Once the technology implementation plan is complete, the final step is to measure the results and identify potential problems or improvements.
Are you store associates using the new service? Why do they like it – or why don’t they?
And what data do you have access to from your new platform? At Qudini, our dashboards make it easy to understand:
- Who is visiting your stores and why.
- What channels they use to book.
- Which factors impact turnout (the weather, exchange rates and more).
- How customers heard about your services.
- Which customers are loyal to your brand.
- How your resource allocation and skill sets compare against demand.
- Time and motion insights into store associate customers, breaks and dwell time.
- Store associate performance.
- Customer feedback.
- How public data impacts appointment performance such as the weather, traffic and local events.
- And more…
Access to this level of data means you can measure how effective your new technology is, what difference it is making on the shop floor and the ROI your business is getting from the new solution. It also means you can better allocate resources, tighten up the customer journey, capture customer information and drive sales.
For more information about how to roll our virtual queuing software or appointment booking system, get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org