●Retail store associated to need a way to serve their customers better
●Need the information about the customers at their fingertips
●provide product information to the customers accurately
●help with customer queries and engage with the customers with the best offers and recommendations
E-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart are dominating the way people shop, but physical retail is far from dead as people spend 64% of their shopping budget in-store compared to 36% online. Hence to support the retail stores and make them more technologically enabled, an app needs to be created which helps the retail store associates as well as owners and managers to get a better insight into their customers and understand their needs thereby catering to the user needs and resulting in improved sales.
● To provide exact details of the product to the store associates to help the customer
● Help the store associates to identify new and old customers and accordingly deal with them
● Give personalized offers to users based on their previous shopping and journey.
An application has to be developed which can cater to the needs of the customers, allowing them to find the correct product that they require efficiently. The application has to be useful to the store associates and help them optimize their daily work and for the store manager to effectively manage his workforce and keep track of the sales and stock keeping.
A hybrid CRM and app with given functionalities:
- User info database or POS system
- Product catalogs
3. Send SMS/Email/WhatsApp campaigns
- Arpit, 29, Bangalore, Store Manager — He is a person who has been working as a Sales Executive for the past 8 years. He holds a degree in B.Com. He specializes in Jewelry stores i.e. he caters to clients with high cart values. Over the years he has built a loyal client base who trust his recommendations and make recurrent retail purchases through him. He calls his clients on festivals to wish them and make them aware of any ongoing offers. The store has upgraded their catalog and post spend on marketing a rush of customers come daily to the stores but the profit is still the same as there has not been a significant jump in jewelry sold.
- Ronit, 45, Jaipur, Owner — He has a store named ‘Bunai’ which sells Rajasthani block printed garments for women. After the initial success of the first store in Jaipur, he opened five more stores in neighboring cities but the stores in the other cities the business was not that great as Ronit could not be physically present in all the five stores.
Primary and Secondary product users
● Primary users: The sales associates, the store manager, the central level management (in case of brands)
● Secondary users: Customers visiting the store
Addressing the problem and the Goal
Retail stores face a lot of competition since they are present in malls and market complexes. The customers step into a store and if they do not get proper assistance they move to the next store since there are a lot of similar brands around. Hence it is of utmost necessity to cater to customer’s queries and give them a personalized experience. The software should not just be a regular CRM only managing the contacts of the billed customers but also solve the following problems:
● Unifying customer data in a central hub for sales, service, and marketing
● Knowing the customer
● Improving customer engagement by personalizing their shopping experience
● Identifying loyal customers and retaining them
Key Features of the Application
- Product Catalogue and Stock keeping — One of the primary usages of the application is to be a reliable source of the list of products available in the store and specific details along with it. The application must have the functionality to scan barcodes so that whenever the store gets new stock the associates update the catalog by scanning the barcodes of each item before putting them on sale.
- Customized Recommendation system — Each product coming in will be tagged based on ideal customers (for example: fashion items can be categorized based on gender, age group, colors, sizes, casual, business, etc.). This kind of tagging can be used by the store associates to recommend ideal products based on the customer's needs. Also, the location of the said product can also be mentioned in the application itself to save time.
- Sales and Stock-keeping Analytics — The application will have the functionality to be integrated with the checkout/billing software to actively track the SKUs for each kind of product in stock and also notify if the store is running low on certain items. The Manager will be able to access the sales statistics in daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly breakdown. These analytics can be downloaded as a pdf file too if required.
- Returns and Exchanges Management — The application will also be able to ease the product return and exchange process. The application will have the details of every sale made along with the customer details which will make the verification of the sale quicker. Also, the application will have an option to initiate refunds so that the amount of credit will be reflected directly to the customer account.
- Market Basket Analyzer — In market basket analysis (also called association analysis or frequent itemset mining), you analyze purchases that commonly happen together. For example, people who buy Jeans and belts also buy t-shirts. Or people who buy a nightdress might also buy slippers. What relationships there are between items is the target of the analysis. Knowing what your customers tend to buy together can help with marketing efforts and store/website layout.
The application will have 2 levels of access:
- Store Manager
- Store Associate
The store manager will have access to add/ remove associates from the store’s workspace. The store manager can also choose to give analytics viewing access to certain associates according to their job profiles.
All small scale and large retail store owners in malls or independent stores, store managers, and sales executives.
- Small to Medium businesses in India
- Based in tier 1 and tier 2 cities in India
Indian Population: 1 billion
Urban population = 30%
Rural Population = 70%
In this case, we will only consider the urban population General economic divide in urban cities
- Affluent: 10%
- Middle Class: 60%
- Poor: 30%
We shall only consider affluent and middle-class population to be the ones who shop from retail stores
Also, let us assume that there is 1 retail store for every 100 people
Number of stores = ((0.3 * (0.6 + 0.1) * 1,000,000,000)/ 100 = 21 Lakhs
This application can be used to target almost 21 lakh retail stores in the country.
● North Star The application is going to be a single suit hub for Sales, Marketing, and service products hence the north star of the product would be the Number/value of sales per month.
● Customer Churn — It refers to the customers who have stopped visiting the store over a course of time. These lost customers can be targeted based on their previous frequency of visits to the store. Discount coupons and partner company vouchers can be sent to the customers to retarget them. The customer churn can be calculated monthly, quarterly and yearly.
● The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most reliable customer success metrics. It measures if a customer is likely to recommend your store to someone else. To calculate the NPS, you need to ask a simple question to your customers and suggest a rating assessment. This rating assessment can be sent to customers' mobile after a successful purchase in the store. In case of poor reviews, the customers can be contacted by the in-house support team to understand and solve their discrepancies.
● Customer retention cost is another metric that should be measured. It shows how much it costs to retain a customer. This might include the users acquired through paid marketing campaigns including both online and offline.
● Length of the Sales Cycle the metric shows the time between the moment when a prospective customer is identified and the sale process starts up until it’s closed. When you sum up the lengths for all your customers and divide it by their number, you get the average length of your sales cycle. This can be reduced and improved by thoroughly analyzing the length of the sales cycle.
● Customer lifetime value (CLV) the metric determines the average value of a customer over time, based on the business they have given and profits secured. CLV shows the total revenue that you can be expected from a single customer to generate throughout their relationship with the business. The increased customer lifetime value shows that the business is sustainable.
Other Important metrics:
● DAU/MAU, average session time
● Number of products viewed per customer
- Offer of the day — Sending offer of the day to users by segmenting the users on their recent history, the total number of purchases, total cumulative amount, preferred day of the week (weekend/weekday), frequency of visit, redemption history, browsing behavior of the customer (in case of a website), giving offers during birthdays and anniversaries, retargeting customers on basis of their frequency.
- Trending items of the week — Items with a high number of sales, new launches, products that are relevant for that time of the year (festivals, summer essentials, winter essentials, etc.) such trending items should be sent to the users according to over SMS, emails, WhatsApp to promote their visit to the store.
- Gift vouchers at checkout — The user can get certain loyalty points or gift vouchers with expiry for every purchase they make at the store and can redeem those vouchers and points in a stipulated time by visiting the store. This would promote the customers to visit the stores at regular intervals.
- In-house customer support team in case of any product discrepancies. In case the customers have any issue with the product mending/ repair/ size change/ warranty issues/ replacement etc. the customers can book the query over the phone and drop the articles at the store or request for a pick-up and drop if that is available.
- Collaborating with other companies to give out discount vouchers — The customers can get food, cab, event, travel discounts coupon on a purchase or during a certain time of visit at the store and avail the vouchers at other online or offline stores. 6. Strong social media presence and activity — Social media marketing through targeted campaigns to acquire new customers or to retain the customers who have already transacted. It could include sending links to users to like the social media pages and post reviews to get special discounts and store vouchers.
Business goals and pricing
The pricing strategy should be:
- Free Version — To scale quickly and reach new users. This free version can have limited features ( upper cap of the number of products in a catalog, a limited number of staff accounts, etc.)
- Paid Version — This can depend on the no. of stores, no. of users, cost of personalizing the dashboard according to the business requirement (Eg. Retail stores, Electronic Stores, Jewellery stores, Supermarkets, etc)
The goal of the business would be to scale quickly among tier 1 cities to start with as they would be more receptive to newer ideas. Once the market credibility is established that can be leveraged to penetrate into tier 2 cities.
Based on the feedback from the initial set of clients, version 2 of the application to iron out the difficulties in the MVP.
Wireframes and Mockups
There would be 5 major tabs and the store manager/ owner has the permission to give access to the store executives based on their work profile.
1. Customer Profile
2. Analytics dashboard
3. Trending/ new Products
4. Sales Tab
5. Offers tab
● Once the sales executive logs in they will be able to see 5 tabs
— Customer Profile
— Sales tab
— Analytics tab
— Offer of the day tab
— Trending products tab
● These tabs would help the sales employee in preparing for the day by having a look at trending products, offers of the day, and sales tab.
● Sales executives can log in through a fingerprint sensor on the device when they want to start their shift
● Once the sales executive is logged-in their attendance gets marked
● They see tips for the day from the manager/ owner
● After log-in, the staff would be able to see the tabs according to the permission given by the manager/owner.
● The sales executive would have access to their profile, sales made by them, customer profiles, etc, while the manager/owner would have access to the sales done by the individual executives, total sales, performance of products, etc.
● The footer has three tabs: the profile, main menu, and QR scanner.
● Here the sales executive while having a conversation with the user
Eg__Hello Mam? Is this your first time visiting us?
Oh! We have some great offers for our registered users?
Just need your phone number for that! Great, Thanks, Mam!
What are you looking for? We have a new collection specifically for the Spring!
Do you only want plain black pants or Jeans? Sure, Mam! What is your waist size? 28! Do you want a casual or a formal pair?
● Executive fills as much information that can be gathered from the customer into the app and generates suggestions.
● If the user is a new user then the information gathered by the sales executive would be helpful
● In case of old users, their previous booking history would also be considered along with present-day inputs while showing suggestions.
● The attributes captured in the screen would be different product specifications (Eg of a retail merchandise store has been considered)
● A list of products according to the user’s conversation with the sales executive would appear
● In case of new users, the suggestions would be completely based on the conversation
● In case of old users, the suggestions would also be influenced by their previous purchases and also previous conversations with the sales executive
● This page would also have customized offers and discounts for the users which the sales executive can make them aware of to enhance their shopping experience
● The sales executive can add the products to the cart or wish to list them
● If the customer finalizes a product it would be added to the cart
● If the customer tries a product but due to some issues does not wish to purchase the product that also gets captured on this page for future reference
Check out page/ Product Cart
● The customer has decided on the products and heads to the billing counter.
● The sales executive prepares the cart and tells the customer if they can avail any special discounts on their cart (Eg. By shopping for Rs.100 more they can get an additional discount) and click on proceed.
● The prepared cart would be sent to the billing desk where the customer can pay directly and avoid any delay.
● The sales executive would see their daily/ weekly targets
● Their overall summarized performance
● The store manager and owner will have access to the performance matrices of all employees and store branches
● The sales executive can check the latest offers and offer of the day going on in the store
● Customer mobile number can be keyed in to unlock personalized offers
● This dashboard can be used by the store owner and managers to keep a tab of how the stores are performing.
● Managers can get daily, monthly and weekly data for conversions.
● Managers can see the performance of the store employees and reward them accordingly.
● Used for sending customized offers to customers via WhatsApp, SMS, Email.
Notifications Icon: Sales executive can see whenever the latest offer is added or any meeting is scheduled by the manager
QR code: Used to scan the product
Employee Log-in Screen
Product Barcode Scan — Product Detail page
Future Scope and Enhancements
- A face recognition system can be installed at the entrance of the store, hence as soon as the customer enters the store the sales executive gets prepared with suggestions and recommendations in case of an old user.
- Customers can scan the QR code on the products available in the store and can be redirected to a native mobile app where they can complete the entire user journey and checkout.
What is not included
The analytics dashboard for the store owners and central team would be a very detailed feature capturing many attributes and is a very detailed feature in itself. I have just focused on a basic outline.