Managing space within a retail location isn't just about putting products on the shelves and waiting for people to buy them. Instead, it relies on a strategic layout that encourages customers to make a purchase. Today, to ensure businesses are not losing customers and revenue due to poor space management, they are turning to innovative solutions designed to maximize any space.
These tools include BOPIS/BOPAC, queue management software, virtual check-in systems, occupancy control tools, and endless aisle, all of which allow retailers to maximize traffic flow and effectively use space while enhancing the customer experience.
Why Maximizing Space Is Important
Before delving into which technologies can help a business maximize space, it's important to review why this idea is essential. First, retail space is expensive, and because business owners pay rent per square foot, they must manage space properly to ensure a maximum return on their investment. Second, effective space management helps customers find the products they need. This improves the customer experience, potentially increasing store revenue.
Now, let's look at which technologies help businesses maximize space.
Space Management via BOPIS and BOPAC
The process is simple: A shopper adds items to an online cart, selects in-store or curbside pickup, and completes the rest of the checkout process as usual. When the order is ready, the individual receives a notification and retrieves the order at their convenience. Orders can be picked up from a designated customer service area, at the curb, or even at a retail locker.
Maximizing Space by Making Shopping More Convenient
By adopting a BOPIS/BOPAC solution, including those offered by Ombori, businesses can provide a more convenient shopping experience. The process allows customers to shop safely from their homes, review which items are in stock, and reserve the items they want to purchase. When they are ready to retrieve the order, they can select their pickup location.
Furthermore, for items that are out of stock, shoppers can order them digitally and have them sent directly to their homes. This software helps businesses maximize space by helping them manage customer flow. Shop owners can use signage to direct customers to designated pickup locations, thus preventing overcrowding. Overall occupancy is also reduced because fewer shoppers are inside, and fewer employees are needed to service them.
Space Management via Queue Management
At a basic level, queue management refers to managing a customer's waiting experience. Today, however, it involves more than reducing wait time; it means managing the entire customer journey from pre-arrival to post-service.
Maximizing Space by Enhancing the Customer Journey
Queue management systems supply retailers with occupancy data, which they can use to modify store layouts. Via these solutions, management can evaluate data related to traffic flow, the time people spend in line, and the percentage of customers who leave without making a purchase. Careful analysis can help retailers streamline, or even eliminate, lines, therefore increasing potential daily visitors.
Additionally, managers can better prepare for visitors, ensure occupancy guidelines are being followed, and control the number of people entering a location as it reaches capacity. It also allows for proper staff allocation – managers can recruit more help when the number of visitors increases or deploy staff elsewhere when numbers dwindle.
Space Management via Virtual Check-in
Many queue management systems include a virtual queueing option that allows people to check in online before visiting a specific location. This technology is useful for businesses that need to monitor the number of people entering their establishment.
Here’s how it works: The customer checks in via a mobile device by scanning a QR code. Upon check-in, they choose the service they want and receive a mobile ticket, allowing them to wait anywhere until they move to the front of the queue. As they're waiting, they can monitor their progress; when it is their turn, they receive a digital notification.
Maximizing Space with Virtual Check-In
- Allows staff to monitor visitor flow and adjust staffing accordingly. The result is a more effective use of space.
- Reduces the number of people in a space at one time, thus ensuring everyone's health and safety.
- Permits people to avoid lengthy check-in queues and enjoy minimal contact with staff and fellow customers.
- Allows staff to avoid time-consuming procedures associated with checking in customers.
With this software, retailers can optimize space by focusing on customer flow and the placement of products. Management can strategically utilize checkout spaces to promote impulse purchasing, increasing their overall revenue. As a result, businesses improve the customer experience all while improving their returns.
Space Management via Occupancy Control
Of the many recommendations for retailers during the pandemic, one was to decrease the number of people entering a building at any one time. To assist businesses in complying with these regulations, Ombori offered occupancy control systems that monitor the number of visitors within a retail space. An occupancy control system can detect, count, and control the presence of people within a store.
People counters and entrance controls are examples of occupancy control systems. A people counter system tallies the number of individuals entering and leaving a location. Even if customers transit through more than one doorway, it automatically counts the number of people in the building. Meanwhile, entrance controls are activated when the maximum occupancy level is reached, and doors close automatically and reopen only when levels decrease.
Maximizing Space by Managing Occupancy Levels
Occupancy control solutions maximize space efficiency by helping customers maintain a safe distance among themselves and with store staff. The ability to control who enters a retail space allows business owners to reduce overcrowding and ensure greater customer satisfaction. Moreover, they can prevent people from entering a retail space when necessary.
Store owners can further improve space management by choosing the appropriate floor plan. Data provided by occupancy control solutions can assist retailers in designing the optimal layout for their customer base.
Space Management via Endless Aisle
Ombori Endless Aisle technology allows retailers to address customer frustration when items are out of stock in the store. Using a kiosk, customers can browse and order unavailable products – for either home delivery or in-store pickup.
Maximizing Space by Offering Additional Retail Opportunities
The use of endless aisle technology provides retailers with an opportunity to retain customers in small storefronts without having to stock extra products. By blending virtual technology and physical space, retailers can deliver an enhanced customer experience. Furthermore, shoppers can access a more comprehensive selection of products and receive faster service because they don't have to rely on the help of a sales associate.
Endless aisle also prevents lost revenue due to items being out of stock. In fact, it provides retailers an opportunity to sell products that are not available in stores, and it makes the process more convenient for customers who prefer an omnichannel experience.
Technology Helps Business Maximize Space and Maximize Sales Potential
Technology is a marvelous thing, especially when it comes to retail space management. Given the expense of renting commercial space, businesses are wise to consider how that space is being utilized and how to increase spatial efficiency to enhance the customer experience and increase total revenue.