We all know that retailers today are faced with a lot of pressure to maintain customer loyalty. Consumers have more choices than ever before, which means retailers need to work even harder to get people into their stores, meaningfully engage with them, and eventually turn those shoppers into lifelong customers.Let’s face it, the pressure to remain competitive is considerable, and increasing daily. There is an inexorable connection between remaining competitive and using technology to drive relevance with the consumer. Retailers are tasked to do it all — manage, support, integrate and upgrade all systems needed for successful engagement strategies. Now layer on security for that critical trust, because without it, you put those valuable customer relationships at risk.

When you think about everything that goes into innovative retail technologies — it’s a lot to comprehend. Today’s retailers are using everything from mobile point of sale and customized applications to beacon technologies and analytics in order to deliver a tailored experience to their consumers. Once these technologies are deployed successfully, the return on investment is well worth it. Smart retailers who deliver superior customer experiences see increases in sales and customer satisfaction and improved operational efficiencies. Additionally, with the right planning and execution, this can create a model that is scalable for future growth. I see this happen regularly with the retailers that we work with to develop the right solutions for their business.

Make the Buying Experience Personal

I recently met with a retail customer that had created in-store technology offerings to support its shoppers while they browsed. They implemented customized content delivery to their mobile app, and mobile point of sale technologies allowing customers to check out from anywhere in their stores. They also optimized their Wi-Fi infrastructure to support customer access. As a result, this retailer was able to marry its online environment with its in-store presence to provide that desired omnichannel experience. From the shopper’s perspective, the experience was seamless, from the website, to the app, to the store. This retailer also maintains a diligent focus on security, to protect the consumer at the transaction level, as well as to secure their data over the long-term.

This particular retailer achieves a unified and connected relationship with its customers in environments that can potentially feel very impersonal to consumers. Think about your own shopping experiences. Aren’t our expectations greater than ever before? Simple things, such as having real-time visibility into store inventory to accessing Wi-Fi while browsing in a physical store, were perks rarely heard of just a few years ago. These are no longer a pleasant surprise — they are now common consumer expectations.

The ability to impact the customer journey starts well before shoppers set foot in a store or make a purchase from an online cart — and what shoppers expect from retailers continues to expand every day. Increasingly, these types of tools will not only be expected but necessary if retailers want to remain a choice destination in today’s competitive landscape.

Reduce Complexity

Because my retail customers keep asking for simplicity and scalability, we’ve spent time as a team focusing on how best to integrate solutions that do more with less.

That’s the idea behind tools like CDW’s SmartRetail Solutions —

a fully integrated solution that brings to bear a wide variety of technologies and expertise to help retail customers bring their products and services closer to the customer, while creating the secure and reliable IT infrastructure they need. Clearly, this approach is important for retailers wishing to scale and deploy other technologies in the future. It offers our customers a proven and replicable process as they plan for growth and the needs of tomorrow’s consumers.

Exceeding the expectations of thousands of diverse customers is an ambitious undertaking now becoming achievable through the use of technology. Investing in a smart solution now can ensure retailers connect and engage with customers when and where they want. That meaningful and connected customer experience gives forward-looking retailers the edge on the competition.

Read more about the connected retailer in this white paper or by visiting our online guide.