Who knew choosing a carpet or new floor tiles could be so exciting? I honestly didn’t until I needed to for my own home.

It also made me realise how important maths was in school, and why you’d need to work out a square meter of an area – what size is the living room floor again? Working out the square meter and how much something costs can be tricky to a non-mathematical brain like mine, then there’s tiles and flooring, trying to work out how many packs are needed – why is it always priced per square meter and not per pack? More maths!

All that aside, the carpets and flooring sector is different from other retail sectors. People are investing in something that they are going to look at and feel every day for the foreseeable future, and the tangible aspect in-store shopping provides is paramount. Interestingly, Cybertill research highlights that when asked to select a shopping preference for home and DIY, 33% of consumers said they prefer in-store only and 15% browse online and buy in-store; while only 5% prefer online only and 10% like to browse in-store and buy online.

In-store tech

Investing in in-store tech is key to winning customers. Many of the larger flooring and furniture retailers have staff armed with non-transactional mobile tablets, enabling them to serve customers anywhere on the shop floor, but what about smaller, independent flooring companies?

Technology doesn’t need to be complicated – or expensive. It is more accessible than ever and something retailers should be investing in to futureproof their business. Implementing mobile points of sale (mPOS) in-store not only improves the shopping experience but creates a more personal service to the customer. Plus, mPOS units are transactional, so payments and deposits can be taken anywhere in the store. So, when helping confused customers work out how many meters of carpet they need, or packs of laminate, they can also be shown the cost and pay there and then.

In-store tech doesn’t need to stop at mobile tablets, Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) that integrate directly into your retail management systems open possibilities to a new style of customer service. Packs of tiles and flooring can be large, and with limited shelf space, it makes sense to keep what you need out and what you don’t need in the warehouse. ESLs let customers see straight away how many items are in stock; if there are four packs of laminate on the shelf and they need six, the information is there for them to see before they ask a member of staff. It also reduces the time spent searching by staff – read about how Cybertill customer Macadoodles are using ESLs.

Consumers want to see real-time stock availability and Cybertill research shows that when consumers think specifically about shopping in physical retail stores, 44% would use up-to-date details displayed near the item on whether the product is available in that store or a nearby store (e.g. stock numbers displayed on a small screen above the item) if they were available.

Integrating retail management systems

Integrating retail management systems provides many benefits for carpet and flooring retailers that will streamline business processes and keep all information in the one place, including:

  • Integrating CRM – keep all customer data and orders, securely on the one system. When taking measurements for each customer, all information can be stored against their profile, so when they purchase from you again, you can easily access the information.
  • Workshop services – book-in and schedule jobs in real-time, keeping all fitting services, jobs and employee information on the one system with a full audit trail of who did what, where and when.
  • Supplier management – Integrated supplier management lets you keep tabs on all suppliers and trade accounts and manage purchase orders from the till. Integrating supplier management also lets you see and raise purchase orders from the point of sale and allocate items from a PO to a customer at the till and give a delivery time.

Find out how Cybertill’s RetailStore platform can help carpet and flooring retailers make the most of in-store tech here.

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