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Friday, June 8, 2012

Store Design: Maximize Shopper Experience and Sales, too!

We've talked about how much we read: newspapers, magazines, blogs, you name it -- keeping in touch with technology and trends so our software products and services meet today's business objectives and maximize their customer's experience.  From construction scheduling to sales management to interactive presentations..that's what we're trying to accomplish.

One aspect of technology that doesn't always get talked about is design -- the "behind the scenes" aspect of a piece of hardware or application.  Today's Wall Street Journal has an intriguing headline: 
Forget B-School, D-School is Hot!
The article goes on to talk about the "murky, problem-solving concept known as "design thinking."
QuikLine: Maximizing Shopper Experience and..Sales, as well!
Today, when folks mention design, they're not necessarily focused on traditional design -- or what we might think of as architectural or fashion design.  Today's design thinking is centered around observing people in order to evaluate processes.  That's where Apple has been so successful in capturing "new" design thinking: who knew how much we'd appreciate an iPad? Apple's designers do far more than draw iPad shapes; they consider an environment and suggest technology to satisfy generally unresolved (perhaps unknown) needs.

CPS' QuikLine moves into this new design paradigm with line (or queue) management.  Designers evaluate the habits of shoppers waiting in line.  We've all been there: the "wrong" line!  How can technology improve the shopping experience and, where possible, enhance the sales process as well?

It's been said that today's competitive retail environment is pushing the envelope to enhance the last stage of the purchase process: the checkout line.  Here's where "new" design resides!

No one likes waiting unnecessarily (so reducing "wait time" is a winner for both shopper and retailer!) but there are other components associated with improving the "last transaction" that designers have pointed out after studying shoppers: decreasing the number of "walk-aways", adding one or more "impulse buy" locations, and adding randomness to reduce register "no counts."

CPS' QuikLine was developed to provide several unique components to automated queue management: use of over-the-counter hardware (monitor, controllers, sound), integration with third-party applications (think: cash registers so QuikLine recognizes when a cashier is free), multimedia reminders (monitor, voice and display lights) and the ability to display  promotional video and messaging. 

Design initiated the thinking, technology delivered the solution!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Great Stories: Let Your Customers Tell Your Story!

Robert Clay, writing in MarketingWizdom, tells us,

"By articulating everything you do in the form of a story,
you bring everything alive, you make the invisible visible,
you enable everyone in your team to understand what you're about, 
and deliver your product, service or expertise in a better and more consistent manner."

What??? you might ask.  Our product is "X" (where x might be diapers, pencils, accounting services or new homes).  How can this piece of marketing speak help me sell?

Your customer is telling their story -- with your product!
One key element, Clay suggests, is that great stories should be aimed at a specific group of people who are in the market right now for what you offer. 

Stories communicate values -- and those values reinforce what the target audience already believes. 

In a sense, you don't need to worry about teaching something new; rather, you're communicating a message to a small group already looking for your product today.  This target audience is open to sharing your passion -- and when that mission is fulfilled, they're ready to spread your story!

CPS' SalesTouch product helps tell your story.  You already have a target audience and (in most cases) they're in the market right now for what you have to offer.

Put your story-telling skills to work!  Tell your customer how your property meets their needs -- with words, pictures and video. 

Let them create their own story from your story: moving furniture into Plan 1 with Move it/Move it or re-drawing the floorplan with Make it Mine!

One SalesTouch client has homeowners bring their friends into the leasing office.  They're looking for a great place to eat, relax or visit.  At first glance, you might think they're using the touchscreen as some sort of giant map but..they're actually illustrating how their home meets their need for convenience, access and living "in the middle of it all!"  Aren't they telling the developer's story?