In our previous article, we reviewed some of the digital tools used by retailers to drive store footfall and customer engagement with their products and brands.
In the second of this 2-part series, we will now look at examples of digital technologies that can be used in store to drive conversion levels and sales.
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.
Addressing pain points of apparel shopping
Zara recently opened a new store in Soho, their first one to feature the “smart” dressing room using RFID technology. Inside the fitting room, customers can see on a touch screen the product information of the items they brought in, all tagged with RFID, as well as available sizes and colors.
Zara smart dressing room enables shoppers to request other colors and sizes without leaving the fitting room.
RFID is an exciting technology with numerous possible retail applications. Yet, it is often used to showcase digital innovation or generate buzz. Zara’s initiative on the other hand appears more customer-centric than technology-driven: it enhances the customer path, rather than changing or disrupting it, and simply makes it easier and more convenient.
From Fashion to Beauty, consumers increasingly expect total brand experiences
To meet these expectations, brands need to complement the physical product experience with new digital shopping tools. By digitizing the store, retailers can deliver shopping experiences aligned with the digital reflexes of today’s connected consumers.
Sephora opened its new concept store in Milan earlier this month, blending senses discovery and digital interactions to create a unique customer journey.
Successfully introducing digital technology that seamlessly enhances the in-store customer experience is a sheer challenge. In addition to requiring in-depth understanding of target customers’ needs, pain points and expectations, it should translate into tangible sales performance.
House of Fraser’s Executive Director of Multichannel shares on the Mobile First strategy behind their new e-commerce site. The UK’s department store’s chose for adaptive responsiveness (several responsive templates optimized for categories of devices, e.g. tablets) to better adapt to users’ context.
House of Fraser recorded its best ever Christmas with a increase of 57.7% of its online sales in the three weeks to December 28th compared to 2012.
House of Fraser on iPad
House of Fraser’s brick-and-mortar sales only increased by 3% over the same period of time.
Revenue growth of SMEs making extensive of the web (also referred to as “High-web”) is on average 22% higher than Low or No-web SMEs. In the UK, the e-commerce leading country, the difference can be as high as 500%.
Ralph Lauren, who jumped on the sales opportunity that the internet offered as early as 2000 – before many of its closest competitors – recorded a twenty-three percent increase over the same period.
Such difference can be explained by external and internal reasons, regardless of whether a business sells online or not:
Market & product exposure
The web is a cost-effective marketing channel as it enables mass visibility and laser targeting. SEO/SEM strategies drive traffic towards brands and CRM programs can significantly boost sales and build loyalty through online campaigns and personalization.