Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive of Kingfisher group, which owns B&Q, has hinted that the garden supplies chain is testing Wi-Fi enabled shelves that identify nearby customers through their mobiles and display different prices accordingly. This system could allow the group to automatically reward loyal customers with individual discounts based on their unique shopping history and preferences, without the need for paper or mobile coupons.
As Cheshire, who is also Chairman of the British Retail Consortium, reported to the Daily Mail;
“It’s about special offers for individuals where we are looking at bundling offers or giving discounts.”
Aside from the automation of the discount process, this move underlines the growing importance of personalisation within retail, and the need to deliver a highly tailored customer experience. Through identifying each consumer via their smartphone, B&Q can create a CIM profile for each consumer in order to modify their service offering to that individual, whether they are shopping in-store or online.
“For the tech-savvy shopper, a personalised shopping experience is no longer a preference, it’s an expectation,” confirms Heikki Haldre, co-founder of virtual fitting room service Fits.me, praising B&Q on the smart shelving initiative. “Those retailers that can deliver a vastly improved experience are more likely to see their customers complete purchases immediately rather than watch them wander to a competitor,” Haldre concludes.
Beyond the initial customer experience at the point of purchase, B&Q’s planned smart-shelving system could also enable the chain to improve post-sales customer service. In the case of an issue, the customer service operative will be able to access a record of the customer’s purchase history, including the price paid, simplifying the refund process. B&Q could even consider automatically offering lower prices to the dissatisfied customer on their next visit to the store.
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