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Does Automation Have a Place in Your Retail Store?

April 19, 2017

It may seem that automation and personalization are at odds with one another, but this isn’t necessarily true. Around the nation, retail stores are finding ways to implement automation technologies in call centers, email campaigns, and even in the stores. At the same time, experts continue to push the importance of personalized, customized, and tailored marketing efforts to reach today’s consumers.

It is not impossible for a retailer to balance these two seemingly conflicting elements for the ideal combination of cost-saving automation and optimized customer experience. With these tips, you will be able to determine if automation has a place in your retail store.

Creating a Win-Win Situation

There was a time when consumers would have pushed back if retail stores instituted self-checkouts, kiosk ordering, or self-driving shopping carts. Times have changed, however, and younger customers in particular are happy to forego staff interaction in favor of a quick transaction.

In order to decide if these types of automation will work for you, it is imperative to know your customer base. For example, if you have more senior customers you may have trouble convincing them that automation will help them. That is not to say that you can’t have some of these features but make sure you have staff available to cover senior transactions.

Advancing Consumer Engagement

While you won’t get 100% participation, engaging your customers with automated surveys and email campaigns can be beneficial on many levels. Customers enjoy the opportunity to tell you what they think as it makes them feel important and connected. You benefit from learning about their satisfaction level and suggestions for an improved experience.

Promotions are a big part of automation and when properly personalized they boost sales and set a foundation for customer loyalty. Mobile apps are an ideal way to handle the process. You can also automate call centers so that customer’s needs are met efficiently and accurately.

Potential Unexpected Automation Benefits

All too often people think that a company adds automation only to reduce costs. While they do realize savings, many companies consider it more of a shift of costs to benefit customers and the company at the same time.

For example, a retailer that adds automation for ordering or checking out may not lessen labor costs. Instead, they are able to shift that personnel to customer service elsewhere in the store. Additional service such as free design services, complementary assembly or free gift wrapping services can now be offered.

Another benefit of automation to both is the reduction of errors. This reduces company costs and increases customer satisfaction, both ideal outcomes.


Properly executed, automation has many benefits for retail establishments and few, if any, disadvantages.

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