You’ve likely heard this from every corner of the retail landscape: the COVID-19 pandemic caused a fundamental shift in the way consumers shop. But have you considered how long these new methods of retailing will stick around?
What was originally thought of as a temporary change is now deemed the way retail will operate post-COVID. Retailers who aren’t able to rise to the elevated demands of their customers will risk losing even the most loyal of shoppers. Adoption of omnichannel retail solutions and processes that enable convenience in the retail experience will be what separates the retailers who thrive in the future and those who are left behind.
iQmetrix wants to support retailers readjust with a live, virtual event that explores how telecom businesses can solidify success in this new retail normal. The iQmetrix Industry Address will be an investigative look at the strategies, processes, and products that will drive telecom — and its retailers — into the future of the industry. But it’s important to understand why the Industry Address is a must-attend for telcos of all sizes. Stacy Hamer, VP of Customer Experiences, and Beth Wanner, VP of Marketing at iQmetrix share their insights on why this event is essential.
How has telecom changed in the last six months?
SH: Oh boy, loaded question. Telecom is changing so quickly in every aspect; consumer expectation, staffing, sales, carrier changes, acquisitions, and more. What retailers were planning, pre-pandemic, has now shifted to creating new sales strategies, implementing new ways of engaging customers uniquely, and focusing on having solid processes to accommodate the new expectations of customers.
How have these industry changes impacted retailers?
SH: A lot of new “trends” being implemented quickly, is something I’ve seen happening for retailers. For example, six months ago touchless payments weren’t on anyone’s radar. Today, there is a growing pressure from all carries to implement this technology. Touchless payments are a new way of running a retail store to consider a 1:1 distanced sales experience with a customer. There are impacts to sales levels when the economy has been disrupted and retailers have to adapt quickly — they’ve done a great job in our industry.
With these rapid changes, why is the iQmetrix Industry Address important to attend if you work in the telecom industry?
BW: Telecom retail, whether you’re a carrier or wireless retailer, is a unique space within the larger retail industry. How Covid-19 and other factors are affecting you is not the same as other retailers who don’t operate in telecom. iQmetrix’s Industry Address is specific to the trends, impacts, and realities telecom retailers need to keep on top of.
What’s one trend you see as being important to telecom retailers in the near future?
BW: Hyper-convenience is a demand of consumers right now that isn’t going away anytime soon. Customers are proving the physical store is still important but they’re taking note of retailers who make shopping easy and safe. This means offering conveniences like buy online pickup in-store with curbside pickup, check-in services or appointment scheduling to limit time in-store, contactless payments, and inventory visibility to ensure your store has what I need before I make the trip — just to name a few.
SH: One trend I’m excited about is the convergence between carriers and dealers. There are a lot of synergies happening right now, between the various carriers and their dealer channel, and I think it’s a unique time to be either of these retailers. Whether it’s the mobile experience, the payment experience, in-store customer experience, or brand experience, we’re seeing more alignment and operational similarities than we have in previous years. Ultimately, the trend to watch is that the customer walking into a retail store is getting a more unified experience regardless of which store they walk into. That same trend is now happening online as well as in-store. Telecom retailers of all channels need to be ready for this to be able to succeed with the best overall customer experience.
What can Industry Address attendees expect from this telecom industry event?
SH: Attendees should expect to learn about retail changes and trends as well as the specifics in the telecom industry. They will learn about iQmetrix’s vision for the future of telecom retail and how we see ourselves helping retailers adapt and grow.
Of the three tracks, which are you most excited for?
BW: I’m most excited to share iQmetrix’s vision around enabling Buy Anywhere. Covid-19 has taught everyone the importance of meeting customers where they’re at, the power of convenience, and the competitive advantage of agility. Without giving too much away, iQmetrix’s vision for enabling telecom retailers to deliver a Buy Anywhere experience to their customers is a focus on the core elements of retail management and efficiency that are fundamental to powering the evolution of existing and emerging retail channels.
SH: I think I’d have to pick the iQmetrix innovations side. Our team has been so hard at work to bring some amazing things to our clients. The innovation is really exciting and it’s been very validating and exciting to hear such great early feedback from the clients we’ve shared with already.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
BW: While we miss seeing everyone in person, I’m very excited for the first-ever virtual iQmetrix Industry Address. iQmetrix is known for bringing the telecom community together to network and learn from one another, despite it being an intensely competitive industry. Our commitment to sharing insights, best practices, and delivering innovative solutions is stronger than ever.
SH: And as always, get ready to have some fun with the iQmetrix team as we explore the necessary tools needed to thrive in the future of telecom.
The iQmetrix Industry Address isn’t only focused on one area of the industry. Rather, it’s a holistic look at everything impacting telecom businesses in the new-age of retail. This investigative look will provide actionable insights that will help move the industry, and its retailers, forward with confidence.