Why retailers need to pivot to meet customer demand

By Steve Ingram, Retail Director – KIT

The retail sector has been hit hard over the past 12 months, witnessed by the plethora of household names disappearing from the UK high street. Laura Ashley, Top Shop and Miss Selfridge may all be gone or about to disappear forever, and Debenhams have only just been saved by Boohoo.com to operate as an online marketplace platform. But in the online world of shopping, the likes of Amazon have seen its profits and market share skyrocket.

Amazon is not the only business benefiting from lockdown restrictions. Online grocery shopping sales are also rising exponentially. Consumers are adopting new purchasing behaviours and embracing an alternative to driving to an out-of-town superstore for the monthly shop, highlighted in The Economist Intelligence survey from SAP, that quotes a 78% increase in average monthly online grocery expenditure. But the monumental shift to online shopping presents an unprecedented opportunity for brands and retailers to engage new online customers in ways they never could before – giving retailers a chance to create strategies for recovery and growth.

A brave new world 

Right now, retailers may feel that they are looking into the abyss, facing the unknown, trying to keep up with customer expectations that continue to change at a rapid pace. But by being more flexible, pivoting to consumer needs, retailers will meet customer demand and provide an experience that will keep them coming back for more.

A safe, convenient online experience will go a long way to help retailers get back on their feet, as almost half of consumers enjoy the ability to shop anywhere at any time, naming this as the number one factor for continuing to shop online. Whereas a quick, transparent service that saves the customer time will also help to improve customer satisfaction. 42% of all surveyed consumers cite time-saving advantages as a significant benefit of online shopping, all according to The Economist Intelligence survey.

Customers are now used to doing almost all shopping online, with a significant proportion likely to continue in the same vein for the sheer convenience and especially the time they will save. Therefore, retailers need to take a more agile approach, staying ahead of the curve by understanding customer needs and reacting innovatively to blend the in-store and online experience.

Clienteling & Assisted Selling

While the thought of reinventing and transforming a retail business could easily send shock waves through C-level executives, the technology and tools needed to adapt to this new world of retail shopping is already here in the form of Clienteling and Assisted Selling applications. These tools lend themselves to retail business transformation and are as simple to use as the mobile phone in your pocket.

Providing a platform through which Store Associates can deliver a personalised and accessible customer service, whether alongside the customer in store or remote from each other, these tools offer a consistent brand experience with the customer at the centre of it all. KIT is a leading Clienteling solution with one global customer using it across 64 countries, in 11 languages, with over 5,500 active users. Features such as Profiling, Advanced Communications, Visual Search, and integration with social media channels make it easier to offer customers their ideal products. Whether customers are personally served in the physical store or guided through the online store, they will always have their preferred Store Associate at their side.

Keytree In-store Technology on SAP App Centre

SAP App store

Keytree In-store Technology (KIT) is now available on the SAP App Centre – the digital marketplace where customers can discover, buy and manage access to innovations across all SAP lines of business and platform groups.

The announcement was made at Sapphire 2018 in The SAP Gold Guide report, which outlines the SAP Customer Experience vision and strategy featuring a selection of case studies, which includes a profile of KIT.

The SAP App Centre has 1,500 enterprise-class apps from 1,000 SAP partners, providing customers with real-time access to innovative solutions, microservices and plugins to extend their SAP solutions and help digitally transform their business.

Maximising your investment

SAP customers can maximise their investments in SAP solutions and address their most demanding business challenges with a mix of free and paid partner Apps – all designed to help their business. They can take advantage of seamless integration into their existing landscapes and gain immediate access to their apps from a launchpad that is enabled with Single Sign-On. With streamlined procurement, designed for the enterprise, customers can manage the entire lifecycle of their purchases, from license acquisition to user management and renewals, simply and centrally.

The SAP App Centre simplifies the enterprise procurement process by bringing it into a digital form-factor. Customers can buy application licenses directly from SAP partners, with the flexibility to negotiate and receive the best price, including support for custom terms and conditions. They can then centrally manage multiple application subscriptions, billing and vendor communications in a unified experience.

Customers have a choice to either receive and pay invoices using SAP Ariba Pay or credit cards, or they can choose to settle outside of the system. SAP App Centre supports roles- based, workflow-driven orders, and also includes support for multiple currencies and application usage analytics.


Purchasing KIT through The SAP App Centre

KIT provides a complete omni-channel view of customer activity, allowing store associates immediate access to customer needs, preferences and purchasing history.

Speaking at Sapphire 2018, Adrian Slater, Head of Retail at Keytree explained that KIT connects store associates with customers. He said: “When a customer walks into the store, the sales associate can bring up all their previous info, look at all the available products on the app, without having to leave the customer’s side – the storeroom can bring out the products.”

KIT is built using machine learning and speech and image recognition. The app connects hardware, sensors, POS systems, Wi-Fi access points, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) networks, iBeacon and Bluetooth technologies to identify nearby customers (integrating loyalty apps and Apple Passbook).

Features include Style Builder, which groups products so a customer can see how they might fit together, and tech that allows the sales associate to push content to a nearby TV screen. The app also enables the store associate to communicate via SMS, WhatsApp, WeChat and wider social media channels during and after the transaction. KIT also fits into existing technology sitting on top of a retailer’s SAP Customer Experience technology and easily integrates with back-end systems without the need for new, expensive software

The KIT dashboard allows the user to manage tasks centrally, creating, editing and managing tasks, calendars, team meetings and client appointments directly from the app.

Designed in collaboration with SAP and Apple, KIT sits on SAP Cloud Platform and integrates directly with the SAP for Retail solutions.