While internet retailers have long used digital customer data to directly address online shoppers and encourage them to make new purchases, physical stores haven’t yet fully tapped into the potential of this data.

Many retailers don’t analyse existing customer data effectively and cannot use it to identify and contact the most profitable customers. Only a few have access to all the relevant data to be able to serve customers satisfactorily. And most retailers don’t draw on an individual customer’s purchase history in order to interact with them on a personal level. In addition, nearly two-thirds of retailers neglect to send tailored messages and recommendations to customers across all channels.

3 billion smartphone app-based customer loyalty cards by 2020.

Mobile customer data
In a recent study of mobile and online customer loyalty programmes, Juniper Research estimates the number of mobile or app-based customer loyalty cards will grow from 1.4 billion in 2015 to 3 billion by 2020 (as at 2016). If physical retailers want to compete with online shops, they will also have to utilise buyer data in order to offer customers tailored products, services and value added services. For instance, when merchants are dealing with a surplus of goods, they can reach their customers more easily by sending personalised product recommendations tailored to their particular needs. In this regard, physical retail has an advantage thanks to its personal customer contact.

E-commerce services for bricks and mortar retail
With the ConnectedPOS platform developed by Wirecard, all usable data from till systems, transactions, customer loyalty programmes, beacon platforms, or social media applications can be collected at the point-of-sale, evaluated in a great variety of ways, and true value added achieved. The POS Connector, a hardware device connected between the till and receipt printer, makes this possible. Thanks to its multiple interfaces, even older till systems can be upgraded without having to change existing POS components. Equipped with LAN, WiFi, LTE, USB and BLE access points, the POS Connector acts as a communication hub, integrating data sources, hardware and third-party applications into the POS system.

With ConnectedPOS, analytical tools and value added services, which have primarily benefited e-commerce companies up until now, are available to physical stores. Retailers have real-time access to sales, location, product and customer data which enables them to draw conclusions about individual products, product groups or consumer behaviour. For instance, they can extrapolate from the data which products are frequently purchased together. When customers purchase one of those products, their receipt is then printed with a QR code or coupon for a corresponding product. Alternatively, merchants can present customers with tailored offers based on their purchase history, creating an incentive for future visits. Throughout the process, ConnectedPOS supports them with established recommendations for action.

With ConnectedPOS, analytical tools and value added services, which have primarily benefited e-commerce companies up until now, are available to physical stores.

Value added services drive sales
In addition, value added services such as mobile wallets and customer loyalty programmes – with help from Wirecard’s flexible and simple card-linked offers platform, for instance – or apps from third parties can be integrated seamlessly. An example of this is 10stamps by Wirecard, a loyalty stamp card for smartphones and tablets. With 10stamps by Wirecard, retailers can configure their own digital stamp cards through an internet portal and then distribute them to customers. Customers only need the associated app in order to benefit from the virtual card. They can then save multiple stamp cards (even for different retailers) in the app. This means retailers are able to make the online shopping experience more personal and powerful. Moreover, personalised communication with customers across all channels strengthens the relationship so that they feel treated as individuals and enjoy coming back.