Customers go into stores expecting an easy and enjoyable experience. They want to be able to purchase a product without running into any issues. This is the promise that you made to them when installing new retail IT systems and technology into your stores.
But when a problem does occur, you’ve broken that simple promise, and probably damaged the relationship in the process. It really is that serious in your customer’s mind. When you think about the investment you just made in your new retail IT, is that a mistake that you can afford to make?
With a standard pre-testing process, you can mitigate the risk of equipment malfunction, software bugs, or installation issues that lead to delays, budget overruns, or lost revenue.
By testing over multiple phases, from in-house labs to small-scale pilots, you can identify any issues long before the equipment is being deployed in stores, and avoid that moment of panic when something doesn’t work the way that you thought it would.
Choose the Right Equipment to Purchase
Retail technology is constantly changing and evolving. Whether you’re looking to install new POS terminals, digital signage, kiosks or any other retail IT system, the number of vendors and options can make it difficult to choose the right piece of equipment for your stores. Each option has its own strengths, weaknesses and limitations that need to be considered when making a decision.
By testing in a controlled environment, you’re able to evaluate the alternatives, catch bugs or other issues, and determine whether the equipment can integrate with other technology or software in your stores. You can also start thinking about how customers will use the technology and where it will be placed in the store, long before committing to a large number of devices. This limits the chance of purchasing equipment that eventually goes unused because it doesn’t meet your requirements.
Identify, and Fix, Problems Early On
Once equipment has been tested in the lab, retailers can then start to look toward real-world testing in the stores themselves, either through proof-of-concepts or pilots. This introduces more variables to the equation, and more closely mirrors the real-world deployment and implementation of the equipment – with all the wiring, networking, volume, traffic and other complications of a store environment.
From these tests, you can start scaling up the implementation and develop a repeatable and sustainable installation process, meaning fewer potential delays when rolling out to the larger store network. Plus, it validates that customers will be receptive to the technology and that it has the impact on revenues or behaviors that you expect.
Avoid Lost Revenue from Equipment Failure
Technology is brought in for a reason, and you likely have defined revenue expectations for each new system or piece of equipment. If it’s not working, it’s not bringing in revenue – it’s that simple. Frustrated customers may leave without making their intended purchase, and even decide to go to another retailer altogether. Not only is this is a lost opportunity in the moment, but also it can result in lost customers down the road. With so many other channels available, it’s essential that you keep your promise and deliver a fantastic store experience every time a customer walks in the door.
Don’t Take Shortcuts when it Comes to Testing
It can be tempting to skip testing when installing new retail IT, especially if the implementation seems straightforward. But taking shortcuts during the testing phase increases the risk of delays, budget overruns, and disappointed customers. If something doesn’t work as expected, or the store environment presents different challenges than the lab, you could be left scrambling to fix something that should have been caught much earlier in the process. For these reasons, many retailers are starting to recognize the importance of following a standard pre-testing process when selecting equipment and implementing it in stores. You need to ask yourself, is it worth the risk not to do the same?
Getting the retail IT systems right is a step to future growth for your company. Learn more in Retail and IT Store Growth. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below.