Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
For retailers in highly competitive markets, the point-of-sale experience they deliver can be just as important as the products and services they sell.
This is especially true in the beauty and skincare market. After all, if the purpose of the product is to pamper, then shouldn’t customers expect a purchasing experience that matches?
Traditionally, however, even the most consultative sales experience ends with the customer being left to complete their transaction at the cash register.
One retailer on a mission to transform this traditional approach is Australian natural skin care brand, Jurlique, which recently implemented a cloud-based POS system from Vend. The new system is set to effectively transform each of its team members into a mobile POS operator, and is able to take customers from the initial introduction and consultation right through to the final purchase without the need to hand them off at a cash register.
General manager at Jurlique Australia, Ann Donohue, said the Vend system replaced a proprietary POS system running on laptop PCs.
“When we had a fixed point-of-sale, we really were expecting the customer to leave a very comfortable engagement in the store with the team member to then go and line up to pay at a counter,” she said. “This was particularly challenging in our concept stores, where we have a treatment business with separate rooms for facials and body treatments. We were bringing those customers out after an hour of absolute bliss and relaxation back onto a really busy retail store to finish that transaction.”
As part of the rollout, each team member has been equipped with an iPad mini, with transactions processed wirelessly anywhere within the store. This eliminates the need for a fixed POS terminal for anything other than cash transactions.
Donohue said the deployment is not just improving staff engagement with customers and enhancing their experience, it is also improving opportunities to cross-sell related products.
“We like to talk about [skincare] rituals, and talk about using more than one product by itself,” she said. “Being able to then give the customer relevant sampling and telling them how to use the products generally happens right at the end of the transaction.
“Because it is such a consultative process, it is very important to keep that connection with the customer. Not having to leave them at that that time is really quite important.”
Because the Vend system is not constrained by proprietary hardware, adding more POS terminals is simply a matter of adding more iPads. Donohue said this has been particularly handy during busier periods, such as VIP shopping nights.
“Now we can just deploy a couple of extra iPad Minis, which are really low cost, and then every team member can be a point-of-sale,” she said. “That efficiency means customers don’t have to line up anymore.”
This flexibility has also enabled Jurlique to take advantage of a warehouse sale opportunity with Westfield that would not have been possible with the old POS system.
“We can roll out extra point of sale into our stores very quickly, and use them in pop-up locations. And we have also been able to put the program into different channels,” she said.
The Vend system has also given Jurlique a more comfortable way to gather customer data, as team members are simply able to hand the iPads to customers to enter personal details such as email addresses.
Moving forward, Donohue said Jurlique is now looking at rolling out Vend globally, including at its Hong Kong concept store, and recently opened concessions at Debenhams in London and Galleries Lafayette in Paris.
“We are using the software in those locations in a concession environment to collect customer data and then to report on sales,” she said.
Ultimately, Donohue believed the deployment is all about the constant quest to improve the customer experience.
“The standard is always quite high, so you really do need to go above and beyond and be less transactional and more about what the customer concerns are,” she said.