Know your customers by name
Remember the days when you could walk into your local dry goods store and the clerk called you by name, knew what you were buying and asked after your mom’s health? Yeah, me neither. But there is a lot to be said for the positive effects of the personal interactions between customers and merchants that existed before the technology era.
Despite, or perhaps in spite of the fact that modern consumers have their attention glued to their mobile devices more often than not, technology is making it possible to get back to personalized, even individualized shopping experiences.
Thanks to new and emerging mobile payment technologies, merchants have the ability to visually identify customers, call them by name, have their order ready, and accept payment with just a few touches to their POS application screen.
Here’s a hypothetical scenario of how a merchant can interact with a customer via mobile payments.
Happy Customer only has 15 minutes to grab lunch and get back to the office for a meeting. He decides to order take out. He opens his phone, opens his mobile app and is presented with a list of nearby restaurants and delis that will accept his digital wallet choice for payment. He orders his lunch ahead, and chooses a “pay now” option.
Happy Merchant receives a notification on her POS that an order has been placed and paid for, along with the name and possibly profile pic of the customer. She prepares the food order and has it ready to pick up when the customer arrives. Happy Customer enters the store, Happy Merchant recognizes him from his mobile app account photo and says “Hey Dave. How’s it going today? Here’s your lunch. Have a great day.”
Happy Customer never takes his wallet out, doesn’t have to stand in line to order or pay, and feels appreciated by Happy Merchant who gave him the gift of convenience, familiarity, and a good lunch.
Here’s another possible scenario.
Happy Customer frequents Happy Merchant’s restaurant often because of the great service and good food. Having used his mobile phone to make purchases and join the loyalty program there, Happy Merchant has a cache of data on Happy Customer’s buying habits. She knows he loves the Philly Cheesesteak special on Fridays. She wants to encourage more traffic to her restaurant on weekdays which tend to be slow. So she sends Happy Customer a special offer for $1 off Cheesesteak sandwiches Monday through Thursday.
Happy Customer gets a text message, or a loyalty message when he opens the mobile app, and says, “Hurrah, I love cheesesteak sandwiches.” When Happy Customer arrives, he scans his mobile phone and the special offer discount is applied to his order.
Both the merchant and the customer are using mobile technology to get more of what they want out of a transaction: personal interaction, targeted offers, and convenience.