Corner Store 2.0 – The unique customer experience, thanks to the linking of the offline and online worlds

Who still remembers it? The little shop around the corner where “Aunt Emma” was still standing behind the counter selling everyday essentials to her customers. The special thing about these shops was that “Aunt Emma” often knew her customers from an early age and therefore knew exactly what their preferences were and what they liked to buy. She knew when the budgie needed new food again and which type of bread was eaten by all family members. And obviously, the inevitable “candy” to eat on the way could not be missed!

Today, “Tante Emma“ or the traditional “mom and pop“ stores have largely disappeared from the scene. The changes that the retail industry, in particular, has undergone in the course of digitalization are immense. Communication, sales and customer contact takes place predominantly in the digital world. As a result, shopping no longer starts at the doorstep of the store.

Digitalization of the POS bridges the gap inorder to present a continuous customer journe

One thing that has not changed and has in fact gained relevance with increasing digitalization: Understanding the customer and his needs. In the online world, personalized advertising is already common practice and is regarded as the decisive success criterion. In the offline world, i.e. in the real world, there is often still some catching up to do. The digitalization of the point of sale represents a “must-have” for a successful future for retail companies, because in the physical world the same principle applies, as in the digital world: Only those who know their customers do business. Tante Emma (Aunt Emma) already knew this!

The touchpoints that customers access today before making a purchase are manifold. They cannot be limited to online or offline, but rather consist of a mix of both the worlds.

The word of the hour is: Omnichannel. Customers shop conveniently using a tablet or PC from home, on a smartphone while on the move, or – even today – visit a stationery shop. For retailers, this means that they now have to cater to all channels. Many have already done so and offered their customers not only stationery stores but also online shops and smartphone apps as digital customer cards. What many still lack, however, is the link between the digital and the real world in order to make the customer journey consistent and the customer experience unique.

Connecting the real world with the digital world – quite easily: with CIAM and Location Based Services

Thanks to modern location-based service technologies, customers can be identified at the POS via their devices with the help of apps. A Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) serves as an interface between the localization technology and the device/app and can uniquely identify the customer. This enables retailers to address their customers at the POS in the same personalized way as they do today on online channels. In addition to the unique authentication of customers, a CIAM also offers a 360° view of user data, thus providing a consistent shopping experience across all channels. This also turns the stationary shop into a networked world of experience.

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With geofencing, a certain area around the shop is virtually fenced in. If a registered customer enters this zone, he is recognized via GPS and automatically receives targeted marketing messages such as the indication of a discount via push messaging, SMS or email on his mobile device.

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Beacons are small mini transmitters and are often used within stores to mark certain areas, analyze them or, like geofencing, trigger messages to customers in the store. In contrast to geofencing, the beacon range is rather limited.


NFC (Near field communication

NFC is a wireless transmission technology that is mainly used today for mobile payment. However, NFC technology can also be used to communicate offers or product information to customers. The technological developments presented in the field of information transfer make it possible to locate customers or their mobile devices. But how do the little helpers manage to determine the identity of the customer and trigger marketing messages according to their taste? This is exactly where a CIAM system comes into play.

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Omnichannel Experience for Customers

By using a customer identity management system, touchpoints – whether online or offline – are synchronized and linked to the real identity of the buyer. If a buyer has been known in the “online world” for a long time, Real World Identification at the POS allows this digital customer profile to be linked to the actual person – making the purchase an omnichannel experience for the customer:

  • Real-world identification: thanks to smart information technologies, the real person can be linked to the digital identity as soon as the person approaches the shop
  • Proximity Marketing: through holistic user profiles, targeted campaigns can be managed, which in turn leads to a
  • Higher conversion due to individual addres

In this blog post we have described how a CIAM can get the customer journey going and sustainably contribute to a higher conversion rate.

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Thanks to CIAM, the stationary shop has become a networked world of experience.

The Customer Journey has become more multifaceted in times of Omnichannel retailing

Retail is changing: online trade is booming, but over-the-counter trade also remains an important sales channel. Consumers no longer want to have to choose between online and offline, but prefer to use all sales channels in parallel. The key to continued success in the future can clearly be summarized by the key words “Omnichannel” or “Synchronization of touchpoints”. Where digital touchpoints such as online shops or apps merge with traditional customer contact points, the customer experiences the “Tante Emma feeling” of the past and will always remain a loyal customer.

Are you a retailer and would like to learn more about the use of customer identity management at your POS? Simply book a non-committal appointment for a meeting

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