SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

March 05, 2008 11:59 ET

Best-in-Class Retailers Adopt Multi-Pronged Approach to Improve Customer Point of Service

Integration of Point-of-Sale (POS) With Multi-Channel Service Functions, Loyalty Programs, and Improved Payments Are Top Strategic Initiatives for Improving Customer Satisfaction

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2008) - Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), surveyed 175 retail enterprises in January 2008 and found that at least 60% of retailers have point of service (POS) systems that are older than 5 years. Out of the 60%, 35% of retailers currently use POS systems that are older than 10 years. This has created a large gap in the retailer's objective of delivering customer satisfaction through the three POS tenants of multi-channel order management, loyalty programs, and faster payment options for customers.

Aberdeen's research reveals that the reason for this gap is the outdated POS process resulting from a lack of standards-based migration in software, hardware, and peripherals towards next generation POS systems. However, Best-in-Class retailers are leading the efforts by narrowing this point of service gap.

"When aggregated, the three-pronged strategy adopted by 82% of Best-in-Class retailers for improving POS experience of customers is to integrate POS procedures with cross-channel customer service functions, introduce more loyalty and guided selling programs, and improve payment processing and acceptance at POS," says Sahir Anand, senior retail analyst and chief author of the POS benchmark report. "This strategy has enabled Best-in-Class companies to convert POS towards a single hub, one destination for service -- a unified point-of-service that is customer responsive and bottom-line driven," says Anand.

Aberdeen data shows that 47% of the retailers surveyed have identified complex and time-consuming POS checkout procedures as the major pressure impacting customer POS experience. This is largely due to the slow pace of migration from legacy to the next generation of POS systems that focus on seamless order management, loyalty programs and guided selling, and faster payment acceptance.

Despite the challenges, Aberdeen has recommended that Average and Laggard retailers can improve by focusing on a structured upgrade of POS processes and enabling infrastructure in stores towards faster checkout, better integration of POS with other store applications such as loyalty, promotions, payments, and creating a performance culture for attaining corporate goals for effective customer management.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Coresense, Torex, CrossView, Retail Anywhere, and Retalix. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4649.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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