Sven-Olof Husmark: Future Stores Need to Inspire and Offer Extra Value

In the end of April, Hansab Estonia held a client seminar "Improving Customer Experience“. In the medieval tower of Kiek in de Kök in Tallinn, more than 60 people listened to experts of retail, customer flow management and customer service. Sven-Olof Husmark, vice president and CMO of Qmatic was also there and spoke about the future of retail.

„The consumer wants faster and more personalised service. Due to that, the size and purpose of a store is changing in the future, “said Husmark. He added that when clients go to the store, they want to get inspiration, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will shop there. For example, you can easily buy a TV from e-shop, but because it is a big investment, it is better to go and see the product in a store first. “Stores need to be more like showrooms – agile and personal,” commented Husmark.

Other important reason, why the customers go to the store in the future, is that they want the product right now. “That is the IKEA store principle that I buy and I can take the product home right away. When ordering furniture from the Internet, I have to wait 3-4 weeks, IKEA offers me the opportunity to get it now. That is the main reason, why stores will exist in the future as well,” is Husmark certain.

Improve customer experience with technology

Husmark pointed out the retailers must understand, that service and the customer experience are the key components of retail. When the client comes to the store, he wants expert advice and better service.

“People have done research before they go and buy something. Imagine, I will go to a store and the salesperson have only been working there for 2 weeks and knows nothing about the product. I think the salespersons should wear some kind of technology, where they can give more information to the client or show demo info and reviews. It is a tool for the salespersons so they will be able to do better job and give advice to the client”, suggested Husmark.

Technology will also help, when there are less salespersons in the store. “For example, the customer could previously book a time online or take a ticket from the queue management system. It is also possible to create an e-shop section to the store, where client can independently learn about the product and even order it through the system,” Husmark gave examples.

He believes that today retailers are not inspiring the customers enough, because they are lacking the tools for doing their job effectively. “Salesperson needs to offer that good customer service, that the client would make the purchase right now, not later from e-shop. For that, the store needs to inspire and offer something extra, that makes the client buy the product from the store”.