Tensator World News

How bad weather affects retail

25. November 2014 17:09

When adverse weather hits, the lure of online shopping becomes even stronger. With a harsh winter predicted ahead of us, retailers will have to up their game to ensure footfall remains strong. Our recent survey* found that 63 per cent of shoppers prefer online to high street shopping, fuelled by a growing proportion of consumers ‘showrooming’ - 83 per cent admit to finding the best deals online before visiting high street stores.

Marks & Spencer and Next both cited unusually warm weather in October as the primary cause for poor sales of winter clothes, but statisticians have found that the correlation is inconclusive. So is the argument that adverse or unexpected conditions are to blame for low takings limited? In January, Retail Week reported on the ONS figures over the past ten years, which showed a complicated relationship between climate and sales figures. 

To attract consumers into stores and increase spending, retailers must stay relevant. This means adapting to poor weather conditions so the customer journey remains enjoyable. When the cold weather hits, we are less inclined to wait in long queues, and are more likely to shop online. Using technology to improve the efficiency of the in-store shopping experience is one way to combat this trend. Retailers who accept changing customer behaviours and alter their offerings accordingly will be ones who succeed.

Retail experts acknowledge the need for brands to be prepared to accommodate unseasonal weather changes. Karl McKeever, leading retail consultant and founder of agency Visual Thinking, says:

“Often, it can be as simple as looking out the window. Harrods, for example, changes its digital screen content in-store according to the weather. If it’s raining, shoppers entering the store are immediately directed to hats, coats and scarves. The same principles can be applied to traditional visual merchandising techniques, such as in-store and window displays. It’s all about relevance, and retailers need to be agile and adaptable in order to maximise sales opportunities.”

With ever-unpredictable weather on the cards, improving the customer journey will continue to be at the forefront of retailers' minds to strengthen footfall. Solutions such as Virtual Queuing and Inline Mobile, which make shopping a more streamlined and tailored experience for the individual customer will deliver a level of service that encourages retailers' high street offer.

*independent survey conducted by Tensator Group October 2014.

Black Friday Extended, Barricades and Tensabarriers - Keeping Everyone Safe

24. November 2014 22:19

With the latest OSHA guidelines formally released, labor officials have laid the groundwork for holiday shopping safety -- offering advice to retail CEOs on how they can help keep their workers safe during Black Friday and the extended Black Friday sales and ensuing holiday rush.  While retailers have been planning for this event since before Summer 2014, now is the time to review final plans for handling the crowds, do practice runs and take stock.  Paramount to crowd control, the OSHA guidelines call for stores to set up barricades or barriers like the Tensabarrier® to handle crowds, and to make sure they are arranged in a fashion that winds around enough times to effectively slow down a mob.  

Other critical advice offered to retailers:

  • Warn employees when the doors are opening
  • Have security guards stand away from the open doorway where the people will be rushing in, positioned to the sides of entering (or exiting) public, not in the center of their path
  • Prevent overcrowding in any one area of the store by positioning sales items throughout the store rather than in one concentrated area
  • Consider using mechanisms such as tickets to provide the earlier arriving customers with first access to sale items.
  • Have adequate signage showing the location of entrances and exits, store opening times and location of special sales items within the store
  • When the store reaches maximum occupancy, don't allow additional customers to enter until the occupancy level drops

According to David Michaels, assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health at the Department of Labor, with thoughtful planning and implementation of an effective crowd management action plan and maintaining emergency exits free of obstructions, we all can have a safe and happy holiday season.

Please contact our Tensator customer journey experts if you have any last minute needs, or for answers to any of your Black Friday questions or challenges.  We are here to help make sure you  keep everyone safe.

 

Big data could mean big business for our high street

18. November 2014 09:22

Given that the term ‘big data’ has become ubiquitous and organisations are looking to use it to improve business outcomes, it’s no surprise that 45.8% of retailers expect to spend more on technology in 2015. 

Advances in technological solutions mean that stores on our high street can manage the customer journey in a more specific way. Businesses are now tailoring their approach to customer service based on predictive analytics gathered from customer data. 

The benefits of collecting data, once the subject of cynicism, are now accepted as gospel. Knowing and understanding customer behaviour can be a real advantage. It can help businesses win new customers by offering relevant services and products, build customer loyalty by providing reliable customer service, and help maintain competitive advantage. 

A leading high street bank who partnered with Tensator decided to invest in new technology to gather data and increase the bank’s efficiency. Using Virtual Queue Management Solutions (VQMS) to monitor footfall by logging when customers take their ticket on arrival, the bank is able to predict periods of high footfall and staff accordingly. 

During busier periods, customers are able to select which services they require when they walk into a branch. The popular services, such as mortgages and loans, are heavily staffed and as a result waiting times are minimised. Furthermore, as the customer chooses which service they require when they join the virtual queue, the bank can use this data and match customer requirements to specific service representatives. For example, new account enquiries can be funnelled to the best seller in the branch. 

There is no doubt that these methods of increased measurement and profiling is what could, potentially, save the high street and ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses. It’s all about improving the customer journey. Getting the technology in place now is what will put high street businesses ahead of the game and allow them to make up ground on the online sector. 

Competition in retail space heats up

12. November 2014 13:52

Press coverage

Hointer, a jeans store based in Seattle that was founded by former Amazon executive Nadia Shouraboura, points to one possible future for the retail industry. Based on the idea that men do not like shopping, the store has set out to remove as much of the pain – and human interaction – from the buying process as possible.

Before visiting the store customers can download the Hointer app and decide what they would like to try on. Robots deliver the jeans directly to designated changing room, items that do not fit are returned down a chute and clothes can be purchased without leaving the cubicle simply by swiping a credit card over a card reader. 

Click here to read the article on the Financial Times website.

 

Tensator Study: Retailers need to improve in-store experience

07. November 2014 22:51

While the online vs in-store shopping debate has raged on for a number of years, Tensator's latest study shows that customers are not finding in-store shopping an enjoyable or engaging experience and, even when they are in-store, their attention is drifting towards their mobile phones. 

In fact, 89% of shoppers feel that retailers need to make changes to the overall shopping experience to compete with their online counterparts.  When quizzed about their preference for online retailing, 48% said they liked the fact they did not have to stand in a line, 42% found it cheaper than shopping in a store, and 29% expressed the fact that they simply did not have the time to visit an actual store.

Retailers need to look at bringing the convenience of online shopping in-store and make the customer experience efficient, stress-free and captivating.

 Click here to read the full article on the Chain Store Age website 

 

 

 

Tensator Survey Reveals Customers Disenchanted by High Street Shopping Experience

05. November 2014 13:42

MILTON KEYNES, UK, and BAY SHORE, NY –  5 NOVEMBER 2014 – New research has fired a warning to high street retailers, with 63% of consumers admitting they prefer to shop online. 

The study by retail technology specialist Tensator Group also saw 83% of shoppers saying they believe more stores will be forced to close their doors due to lack of customer visits unless they significantly up their game. 

When quizzed about their preference for online retailing, 48% said they liked the fact they did not have to stand in a queue, 42% found it cheaper than shopping on the high street and 29% expressed the fact that they simply did not have the time to visit an actual store. 

In another blow to high street retailers, the survey also uncovered a worrying trend amongst those consumers who do actually make it into a ‘bricks and mortar’ store.

Out of almost 400 consumers polled, a staggering 86% said that they have used a store to view a product before purchasing online – a technique known as ‘showrooming’. In addition, 68% admitted to using their phone to check the price of an item online before deciding whether to purchase in-store. 

Overall, 89% of shoppers felt that high street retailers needed to make changes to the overall shopping experience to compete with their online counterparts. 

“Consumers are sending a very clear message to retailers,” commented Alan McPherson, CEO of Tensator Group. “The online vs offline debate has raged on for a number of years, but these new figures put things into perspective. Retailers need to be looking carefully at the overall customer experience to lure them away from behind their computer screens. 

“It’s obvious from our research that customers are not finding in-store shopping an enjoyable or engaging experience and, even when they are in-store, their attention is drifting towards their mobile phones. 

“Retailers need to look at bringing the convenience of online shopping in-store and make the customer experience efficient, stress-free and captivating. 

“Only recently, we’ve seen data that suggests stores are closing at a rate of 16 per day, which is a total of 3,003 stores across 500 main shopping centres during the first half of 2014*. Unless retailers start to address some of the issues uncovered in our report, I’m genuinely concerned that the closure rate will get even higher.”

Michael Sheridan is chairman of global retail design agency Sheridan&Co, which has offices in London, New York and Shanghai, and works with some of the biggest names in retail. For him, the findings of the Tensator Group report make for interesting reading:

“I was obviously aware that these problems existed, but some of the extremely high numbers that this research has uncovered is staggering. 

“For me, many shops lack overall experience. Customers don’t feel wowed anymore, they don’t feel special and they don’t get excited about the prospect of shopping like they used to. It’s no longer escapism and, for many, it’s become a chore that they don’t have time for. It’s no wonder they are turning to their laptops and phones. 

“We almost need to look back to some of the good old fashioned values of customer service and engagement and bring some of the drama and theatre back into retail. The challenge is to find new, innovative ways to do this. 

“Retailers need to ensure customers leave the store with a smile on their face and it’s clear from this data that this isn’t happening at the moment.”

For more on Tensator Group, visit www.tensator.com. Further details on Sheridan&Co can be found at www.sheridanandco.com

*PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC).

The Future of High Street Banking is Careful Consideration

03. November 2014 18:25

As customers demand more from their banking customer experience, branches are bringing their customer service up to date with new innovations.

Ajay Joshi, Tensator Group’s head of media and technology, explains how this is happening in the November issue of Technology Banker.  He also delves into why retail’s use of technology to improve customer experience may have unexpectedly kick-started something of a revolution for the high street banks.

Click here to read the complete article as it appears on the Technology Banker website

Technology is the saviour of traditional customer service

28. October 2014 10:52

It’s no secret that Britain’s shoppers are getting smarter. Price is a key factor, as today’s customers become savvier than ever before when it comes to finding a bargain. What plays just as important a role, though, is good old-fashioned customer service. 

A recent survey by Imperial College and retail experience company Red Ant found that 38% of those questioned would leave a store if a shop assistant doesn’t return in three minutes to answer their query. Meanwhile, 37% revealed that staff members’ lack of product knowledge was the most irritating thing about in-store shopping. 

Shoppers have a genuine desire to see high street shopping remain. They expect old-fashioned values and standards as part of that experience, but they also want a modern twist to accommodate 21st century demands. The use of tablets by staff can often be used to access a bank of product knowledge – which 34% of respondents to the survey agreed would improve the situation. 

Shop assistants are under continual pressure to perform and to consistently provide quality customer service to all shoppers throughout the day, with little time to learn the background on each and every product. Fortunately, new technology is able to enhance the customer experience by arming staff with that knowledge. It frees up staff time by speeding up the service, and leaves customers happier with their shop.  

Technology is becoming increasingly customer facing, as a way to simultaneously engage customers and make operational processes more efficient. The Tensator Virtual Assistant, for example, is a next generation digital signage solution that provides an in-store ‘wow factor’ to capture shoppers’ attention. This solution can handle routine tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions and giving consistently accurate product details – freeing the sales staff to focus on more detailed and complex queries. 

This has been shown in the Grafton shopping centre in Cambridge, which took delivery of a Virtual Assistant Ultra earlier this summer. Located in the centre’s main hall, it gives shoppers information on offers from various retailers, creating numerous extra sales. As the centre managers observed, it created a splash with a wide cross-section of curious shoppers. 

This type of immersive experience is what allows brands and retailers to provide the detailed level of customer experience that goes back decades, whilst also performing under the modern demands of 21st century retailing. 

Slicker self-service queuing for Brighton Station

21. October 2014 13:53

In our years of developing solutions to make the customer journey more efficient, we have found that one part of the shopping experience has the biggest effect on customer satisfaction: waiting times.

Having to queue for long times creates more frustration than any other mishap. Shoppers just about tolerate items being out of stock, untidy displays or technical faults, but having to wait is what makes the blood boil – and stops them from returning.

Theorists have confirmed this in various studies and books, such as Paco Underhill in Why We Buy. People like Professor Richard Larson have identified how this frustration is worsened when somebody jumps the queue in front of them, because they perceive it as a social injustice. 

This is what was happening at Brighton Station and its self-service ticket area. The lack of a clearly defined route for queuing for the machines had lead to customers being confused as to where they should stand, only for other travellers to walk straight up to the machines in front of them. Commuters were becoming frustrated and unhappy.

To remedy this, the station got in touch with Tensator for a simple solution that would improve customer satisfaction, as well as being easy to organise on the concourse.

Tensator provided 43 marine-grade stainless steel Tensabarriers, with floor socket mounts. These provide the base for a neat queuing system that was in keeping with the existing décor and branding of the station concourse. 

The Tensabarriers are fitted with pull-down roller signs that cover the full gap between the top of each barrier and the floor. These direct customers how to queue in order to buy or collect their tickets, at one of the two banks of machines.

In certain places, the roller signs have been omitted to allow the Tensabarriers to be re-routed or to permit staff access. These barriers feature webbing in the matching dark blue livery, to create a recognisable ‘official’ queuing route and messaging.  

Brighton station manager, Beth Holbrook said: “The Tensator products are just the job for us here at the station. Since the new system has been in place, there has been a significant increase in positive feedback regarding the queuing system from our passengers. The Tensator system is much more organised, as well as being more civilised, than the previous setup.”

Click here to read more about Tensator’s range of barriers.

Want to Increase Holiday Sales? Click and Collect Services Attract the Connected Consumer

20. October 2014 16:17

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article on research firm eMarketer’s Holiday sales predictions. The good news is that they’re estimating that U.S. retail sales will climb 5% in November and December, besting last year’s growth rate of 3.4%. While that is excellent news for brick and mortar retailers -- holiday eCommerce sales are projected to also grow 16.6% to $72.41 billion, ahead of last year’s 15.3% rate. As connected consumers continue to buy both in-store and online -- what is clear is that retailers need to maximize their opportunities across their various channels by offering digital incentives that according to the article, “merge the physical and mobile space.”  

One way to do this is via “Click and Collect,” a rather recent phenomena that has gained traction in the US and is already popular in the UK. “Click and Collect” services allow shoppers to order products online and have them delivered to their local store or to a designated store. Not only does this ease shipping costs for customers and offer an additional option for purchase, but customers can extend their shopping – especially around the holidays by buying other items in the store while there for pickup.

In order to make “Click and Collect” a successful bridge between virtual and in-store shopping – retailers need to be cognizant of delivering a seamless customer journey that is consistent with the ease of purchase online to the in-store pickup experience.  

To maximize the “Collect” experience here are some ideas to consider:

  • Create a clearly designated, attractive area – incorporate interactive digital signage for maximum branding and visual appeal along with colorful media panels to guide and inform customers about your particular “Click and Collect” program.  
  • Arm your staff with inline greeter technology – so from the moment the customer arrives they can be quickly, easily and personally assisted based on their preferences.
  • Since you can expect this to be a busy area in the store – implement virtual queuing technology so customers can shop and be alerted on their mobile phones when their pickup is ready or take a ticket from a touchscreen ticket dispenser.  Display queuing information alongside branding and advertising information by incorporating Corporate TV, multimedia management into an inline dispersed virtual queuing system will keep customers informed and entertained while they wait.  
  • Ensure the checkout line is equitable and clearly designated.  Make the most of the space by using the time your customers have while waiting on line to share exciting offers and promotions via next generation digital signage and by showcasing thoughtful last minute merchandise items for purchase with in-queue merchandising

“Click and Collect” is a great opportunity to improve the overall shopping experience, win your customer’s loyalty and boost Holiday Retail purchases.  If you are ready to set up your “Click and Collect” area but aren’t sure how to get started, contact Tensator’s customer journey specialists today.

Bilingual Tensator Virtual Shopping Consultants Land at Miami International Airport

15. October 2014 14:08

MIAMI, FL and BAY SHORE, NY -- October 15, 2014Tensator, the world leader in queue management and customer journey solutions, today announced that the MIA Concessions as part of its Marketing Program has installed two bilingual Tensator Virtual Assistants in Miami International Airport’s (MIA) South Terminal (Concourses H and J), providing passengers with exciting, high-tech virtual shopping consultants and offering a vibrant advertising vehicle for shops and restaurants to effectively reach high net worth consumers: multi-lingual air travelers to Miami.

The MIA Concessions program selected the Tensator Virtual Assistant, with its interactive push button panel, to help capture the attention of passengers so that they can make the most out of the 55,000 square feet of concession locations throughout the two concourses. Unlike traditional signage, the Tensator Virtual Assistant next generation digital signage uses innovative HD projected imaging, surround sound and video technology to create the illusion of a real person and is fully customized to deliver specific messaging, and to showcase products. The MIA Concessions’ Tensator Virtual Assistants, named Leticia, offer passengers on demand information in both Spanish and English about where and what they can eat, and provide shopping ideas, tips and information about products, stores, restaurants and services in the Terminal. 

“Passengers are often overwhelmed with all the activity that typically goes on at the airport and they typically end up wasting  time trying to figure out where they can eat, what services and shops are available or how they can best spend their time,” said Adrian Songer, Chief of Airport Concessions Business Development at Miami International Airport. “The Tensator Virtual Assistant virtual shopping consultants cut through the noise and distractions, capturing people’s attention and holding it. Not only are they seeing and hearing about specific retail, service and dining options in English and Spanish, but they are provided with real-time friendly guidance with real directional cues and offered suggestions on what they can buy and advice on currency exchange and duty free that enable them to make the best use and get the most out of the time they spend in the Terminal.”

“We are extremely pleased that Miami Airport Concessions has chosen our Tensator Virtual Assistants to be their virtual shopping consultants at Miami International Airport, said Louis Ruiz, Business Development Manager, Tensator, Inc. “By working closely together and by exploring the product’s full potential, Tensator delivered a completely customized, personalized, bilingual, high tech digital signage solution that provides passengers with rich media that empowers them to make the absolute most of how they spend their time and money. ” 

To learn more about the Tensator Virtual Assistant please visit www.tensator.com.

Tensator Group to Unveil Technology Showcase at GITEX 2014

01. October 2014 16:32

Press Release

Tensator Group to Unveil Technology Showcase at GITEX 2014  

MILTON KEYNES, UK, 24 September 2014Tensator Group is preparing to take visitors at GITEX 2014 on a retail journey as it showcases the latest in queue management and customer journey technology. 

The experience at the Tensator Group stand (Hall 2, A3-2) in the Dubai World Trade Centre (12-16 October) will begin with the opportunity to trial the new Inline Mobile App. 

Following their experience with the app, visitors to the stand will continue their journey with a welcome from a member of staff using the tablet-based Inline Greeter application. As the first product of its kind in the Middle East, Inline Mobile is set to revolutionise the way customers queue. Using the app on a smartphone or tablet, consumers can join a virtual queue by taking a virtual ticket with an estimated time of service and move through it, or book an appointment for a specific time and person, without having to physically be in line or even near the vicinity of the business.  

Inline Greeter enables retail sales staff to engage with customers from the minute they enter the store. The application delivers a high-tech offering that allows retailers to capitalise on customer preferences, eliminate waiting in lines and transform customer visits into a personalised experience. 

Once they have been checked in by Inline Greeter, those visitors who have not pre-booked using Inline Mobile will be placed in a virtual queue and issued with a ticket from a PRIMA ticket dispenser.  They would then be free to browse the retail environment until they are called to the next available service point. 

For those wanting to make a straightforward transaction, Tensator Group will also be showcasing a Multi-Service Machine (MSM). This self-service kiosk will show visitors how cost savings, enhanced performance, increased sales and heightened brand promotions can be achieved when it comes to simple, low cost, repetitive payment transactions such as the sale of SIM cards, vouchers and mobile phone top-ups. 

Completing the experience will be the latest next generation digital signage solution, the Tensator Virtual Assistant. Projecting the image of a real-life customer service assistant, it will be on hand to demonstrate how product information, directions and answers to frequently asked questions can be communicated to consumers in a unique and engaging way. Visitors will see how this technology can be used to free up staff members’ time, allowing them to improve efficiency and provide better customer service. 

Commenting on Tensator Group’s innovative stand at GITEX 2014, CEO Alan McPherson said:

“It’s clear that customers are demanding a more personalised experience. They want to be presented with a solution to their needs without having to wait in lengthy queues or be passed between different members of staff. 

“As a leading technology innovator, Tensator Group has its finger on the pulse of consumer requirements. Visitors to GITEX 2014 will be looking for the most innovative and cost effective ways to best serve their customers. To help them gain a unique insight into this, we’ll be putting them firmly in the shoes of the consumer. 

“The Inline Mobile App will be a major talking point at the show as this is the first time that a company in the Middle East has implemented this type of feature as part of a Virtual Queue Management System (VQMS). 

“We look forward to working with retailers and businesses at GITEX, to listen to their problems, show them viable, bespoke solutions, and, ultimately, demonstrate how they can give their customers the increased amount of control and efficiency they now expect.” 

Tensator Group can be found in Hall 2 on stand A3-2 at the exhibition. Visit www.tensator.com and www.gitex.com for more information. 

Tensator Group to Unveil Technology Showcase at GITEX 2014

01. October 2014 15:59

Press Release

Tensator Group to Unveil Technology Showcase at GITEX 2014  

MILTON KEYNES, UK, 24 September 2014Tensator Group is preparing to take visitors at GITEX 2014 on a retail journey as it showcases the latest in queue management and customer journey technology. 

The experience at the Tensator Group stand (Hall 2, A3-2) in the Dubai World Trade Centre (12-16 October) will begin with the opportunity to trial the new Inline Mobile App. 

As the first product of its kind in the Middle East, Inline Mobile is set to revolutionise the way customers queue. Using the app on a smartphone or tablet, consumers can join a virtual queue by taking a virtual ticket with an estimated time of service and move through it, or book an appointment for a specific time and person, without having to physically be in line or even near the vicinity of the business.  

Following their experience with the app, visitors to the stand will continue their journey with a welcome from a member of staff using the tablet-based Inline Greeter application. 

Inline Greeter enables retail sales staff to engage with customers from the minute they enter the store. The application delivers a high-tech offering that allows retailers to capitalise on customer preferences, eliminate waiting in lines and transform customer visits into a personalised experience. 

Once they have been checked in by Inline Greeter, those visitors who have not pre-booked using Inline Mobile will be placed in a virtual queue and issued with a ticket from a PRIMA ticket dispenser.  They would then be free to browse the retail environment until they are called to the next available service point. 

For those wanting to make a straightforward transaction, Tensator Group will also be showcasing a Multi-Service Machine (MSM). This self-service kiosk will show visitors how cost savings, enhanced performance, increased sales and heightened brand promotions can be achieved when it comes to simple, low cost, repetitive payment transactions such as the sale of SIM cards, vouchers and mobile phone top-ups. 

Completing the experience will be the latest next generation digital signage solution, the Tensator Virtual Assistant. Projecting the image of a real-life customer service assistant, it will be on hand to demonstrate how product information, directions and answers to frequently asked questions can be communicated to consumers in a unique and engaging way. Visitors will see how this technology can be used to free up staff members’ time, allowing them to improve efficiency and provide better customer service. 

Commenting on Tensator Group’s innovative stand at GITEX 2014, CEO Alan McPherson said:

“It’s clear that customers are demanding a more personalised experience. They want to be presented with a solution to their needs without having to wait in lengthy queues or be passed between different members of staff. 

“As a leading technology innovator, Tensator Group has its finger on the pulse of consumer requirements. Visitors to GITEX 2014 will be looking for the most innovative and cost effective ways to best serve their customers. To help them gain a unique insight into this, we’ll be putting them firmly in the shoes of the consumer. 

“The Inline Mobile App will be a major talking point at the show as this is the first time that a company in the Middle East has implemented this type of feature as part of a Virtual Queue Management System (VQMS). 

“We look forward to working with retailers and businesses at GITEX, to listen to their problems, show them viable, bespoke solutions, and, ultimately, demonstrate how they can give their customers the increased amount of control and efficiency they now expect.” 

Tensator Group can be found in Hall 2 on stand A3-2 at the exhibition. Visit www.tensator.com and www.gitex.com for more information. 

Why is mobile the new king of online retailing?

26. September 2014 13:50

This month The Guardian revealed that online shopping on mobile devices had overtaken those from desktop computers for the first time. 52 per cent of us visit ecommerce websites on our smartphones and tablets, which accounted for 36 per cent of sales.

Just four years ago, only three per cent of shoppers visited retail websites from their smartphones or tablets. Such a huge jump signals a major shift in online shopping habits, which presents retailers with new opportunities.

We have written before about the practice of ‘showrooming’, when shoppers look at products in store and then purchase them online – and ‘reverse showrooming’, which is simply the opposite. Both of these may account for the change in consumers’ behaviour.

We believe from our own research that much of this is primarily to avoid queues. Frustration with self-service checkouts and improperly managed multiple lines all pile on the stress for in-store shoppers, and technology now allows them ways around that.

Most retailers have invested heavily in their e-commerce operations in order to take advantage of this change and to avoid being left behind. However, now they face the challenge of how to stay ahead in terms of their physical stores and to keep the high street alive. We believe this can be achieved, if addressed in the right way.

Online customers have become accustomed to a quicker shopping experience, and retailers should look to match this in their stores by increasing efficiencies. One way to do this is by incorporating virtual queuing. Using their smartphones or tablets, customers can book their place in a queue without having to physically stand in a line. As a result, customers’ shopping experience becomes streamlined and is less frustrating. 

At Tensator, we are conducting our own survey into online retailing versus the in-store experience, and the extent to which people use mobile technology to shop. The results will tell us what it is about all aspects of shopping that consumers now value the most, and the role that technology plays within it.

Click here to take part in the survey, which only takes a couple of minutes and is completely anonymous.

TY KU Realizes 600% Uplift in Sales with Tensator Virtual Sommelier

25. September 2014 14:01

MONTEREY, CA and NEW YORK, NY - September 24, 2014 Tensator, the world leader in queue management and customer journey solutions, today announced that TY KU, the premier Sake & Spirits company has realized a 600% uplift in sales following the deployment of Tensator’s Virtual Assistant interactive next-generation digital signage at a national retail chain in Monterey, California. 

While wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs have been bowled over with TY KU’s Sake, TY KU wanted to attract a broader consumer audience. Getting consumers to try something new is always challenging - and with dozens of beverages for consumers to choose from, attracting and holding customer attention long enough to get them interested in trying something new and different is hard to achieve using traditional signage.  

Much like having a friend or an expert that people can relate to for trusted recommendations, TY KU was looking for a way to make a direct connection with retail shoppers in a personal, yet professional way to engage, entice and educate prospective buyers about TY KU Sake.

The Tensator Virtual Sommelier

TY KU turned to Tensator’s Virtual Assistant, an innovative HD projected imaging and audio-visual technology that creates the illusion of a real person, capable of delivering customized messaging. Working together with Tensator’s Customer Journey experts, TY KU identified the exact persona they wanted and developed the script they had in mind for a virtual sommelier. TY KU’s Virtual Sommelier was designed to provide a whole array of deep, rich, and of course, highly visual information about TY KU Sake, covering everything a customer would want and need to know about TY KU Sake - from how the sake is prepared, how best to enjoy various different kinds of TY KU Sake and even recommendations on which food pairings are best with which sake, along with the right temperatures to serve them. The Tensator Virtual Sommelier also included messages for health conscious shoppers to let them know that TY KU Sake is all natural, gluten free, sulfite free and has very low acidity - making it the perfect complement to seafood, sushi and lighter, health conscious cuisine.

600% Sales Uplift within two weeks

Before deploying the Tensator Virtual Sommelier, TY KU Sake sales were flat for six straight weeks. After the first week, TY KU saw an incredible 500% increase in sales followed by a second week of 600% lift. 

There is literally no other form of signage that could have achieved the amazing boost in sales that the Tensator Virtual Assistant delivered,” said Adrian Molina, Brand Communications Manager, TY KU. “Its ability to captivate shoppers is unparalleled.  Not only did shoppers stop, look and listen -- they bought TY KU Sake -- providing us with an amazing 600% lift in sales in the first weeks of deployment. We are delighted with the results of our Virtual Sommelier.”

“TY KU turned to Tensator with the idea that by having a Virtual Sommelier they could engage, educate and inform retail shoppers about all the delicious, healthful benefits and options that TY KU Sake extends,” said Keith Carpentier, Senior Business Development Manager, Tensator, Inc.  “In today’s fast paced, noisy world, being able to capture and hold a potential customer’s attention is priceless. We are extremely pleased to have partnered with both TY KU in this innovative deployment which has proven how instrumental and effective the Tensator Virtual Assistant is in driving new sales.” 

To learn more about the Tensator Virtual Assistant please visit www.tensator.com.