Convenience is a word that consumers like, and that makes it a buzzword for retailers as well - because convenience helps create loyalty, according to Aneesh Reddy, CEO for Capillary Technologies, who here explains why bricks-and-mortar retailers are increasingly moving beyond traditional shopping conveniences and embracing the mobile shopping experience. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

Today's customers often expect proactive notification of sale opportunities, purchase and delivery tracking as well as other conveniences made possible through online communications. They also demand the flexibility of shopping anywhere, anytime, and using any device. In fact, studies show consumers prefer to extend their engagement with the brand across multiple channels.

The convenience of picking up or returning merchandise across any channel - regardless of the purchase channel - is also an important requirement. A new study released by ComScore and UPS shows that retailers have an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction just by making the process of exchanging/returning products simpler, easier and more convenient.

The other notable trend in today's digital age is that shoppers expect a more friendly online shopping experience whether at home, in a shopping mall or in a showroom. Improving the in-store experience is fast becoming a necessity rather than a perk. Shoppers demand value-added services, personalised recommendations and a convenient customer experience - much like they would in an online store.

Going The Extra Mile
Competitive retailers are leveraging technology and the changing economy to create more ways to make the buying experience more convenient providing a more positive customer experience. Many brands are willing to shake-up their tired marketing strategies to better engage with consumers and win their loyalty and trust.

Factors like improved access to the internet from smart devices and easy access to product information are two areas where retailers can enhance the shopping experience. Several retailers are looking to replicate online shopping experiences in-store by making it possible for shoppers to access discounts and recommendations at the click of a button via their mobile devices.

The role of a retail showroom has been extended from being a transactional place to becoming an integral part of a brand's communication channel. The showroom becomes the brand ambassador by allowing consumers to have a relevant and rich brand experience each time they visit.

In order to be successful, a store has to offer emotional and personalised engagement to its customers. Facilitating the usage of internet by providing Wi-Fi in stores helps bridge the gap between online and offline engagement and lets the brand stay connected with customers. This also helps retailers to push the stock of their choice at any given point in time.

Even though customers are increasingly placing orders online, brick and mortar stores still offer value because humans are basically tactile by nature. We like to touch and feel the product before buying it. For instance, at the beginning of every new season, Burberry transforms their London store into an entertainment hub by providing an audio-visual customer engagement using big screens and iPads. They also invite their loyal customers for an exclusive chance to be the first to buy the latest product line, thereby creating a privileged experience. Customers preview the new arrivals via catwalks displayed on big screens in-store and purchase from their iPads.

Empowered Staff Influence Customers
Technology is also accustomed to sales associates empowered to help customers with their decision making process.

Increasingly, associates are required to be tech savvy and many retailers are able to provide personalised shopping assistance with the help of smart devices and tech savvy associates. For instance, in several Apple stores, associates use mobile POS to provide recommendations, take payments and provide email receipts.

Personalised Service Nurtures Loyalty
Customers are emotional beings. By anticipating their needs and focusing on improving convenience throughout the customer experience life cycle, retailers can help attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Technology is coming to the rescue of retailers today by enabling companies to track customer's behaviour and send personalised messages to consumers for a unique, one of a kind customer experience which ultimately deepens customer loyalty.