Due to the digital evolution, the bricks-and-mortar retailing space is changing with many analysts predicting that we will see more changes in the next 5 years than we have seen in the past 20.
Historically driven by a need to stop stores simply becoming showrooms, retailers now have access to an abundance of digitally interactive solutions they can use in pursuing their overall business objectives, from driving customer engagement and loyalty through to conversion and sales.
In the first of a 2-part article, we will look at some of the technologies and tools which can be used by retailers to drive footfall and customer engagement levels in the store itself.
Increasing store footfall
As online sales continue to grow and shopping malls become increasingly used as a source for entertainment and social gatherings, retailers are having to work extra hard to drive footfall to their stores.
A.S. Colour ‘Colormatic’ virtual stylist windows
A.S. Colour in NZ introduced the worlds first ‘Colormatic’ machine to help spice up customer wardrobes whilst driving them into the store to purchase their recommended products.
Shoppers and passers-by can experience a virtual stylist first-hand outside the store, have their outfit rated, find out their scores, their weakest colour-link, and have the opportunity to change their overall results by adding their recommended color, which they can then go and find inside. It resulted into a 16% increase in store sales.
Driving engagement with product and brand
With up to 75% of shoppers using their mobile devices to compare products and prices whilst in the store, retailers want customers to be engaged with their brand and products to detract from potential online competition.
Timberland self-service tablets
Timberland as an example created their first digitally connected store to increase engagement with their products.
Products in the store have an attached tag which, once tapped using an in-store mini tablet, displays an online-style product page giving additional information to the customer. In addition, they can have their selection sent to them by email.
Personalizing the in-store experience
Customers not only want a personalized and rewarding experience in a store, they increasingly expect it. Retailers who offer this can in return benefit from increased customer loyalty.
Macy’s In-store App via Beacon Technology
By using beacon technology, Macy’s embraced the use of mobile technology beyond providing basic free Wi-Fi to their shoppers.
It allows them to give their customers the opportunity to receive more personalized department-level deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards via their app.
Leveraging social engagement
Todays digitally savvy customers are highly influenced by their peers and often complete their research online before going to a store. Bringing social techniques onto the shop floor streamlines the online and in-store experiences.
Nordstrom and Pinterest
Nordstrom as an example, tag products in store with Pinterest icon labels so customers can instantly see what are the top trending products on their social media site.
Of-course, we must not forget the sales associate in the store, who has just as vital a role to play as the technology itself. When adopted and implemented correctly, digital tools can really help brands attract and retain their customers by offering them an engaging and relevant in-store shopping experience
In part 2, we will look at the digitally interactive tools which can be used in store to drive conversion levels and make that all important sale.