Today’s shoppers are increasingly demanding, seeking real-time experiences, personalized options, and exciting new ways to interact with their favorite brands. And the trend is only expected to grow; Generation Z is projected to become the next big retail disrupter and has been pegged as “millennials on steroids”. The take-home is that retailers should get creative in order to shake up the traditional model and reach their tech-hungry customers. Those who fail to amp up their consumer experience risk falling flat and losing out.
These 5 technological tactics are making tidal waves in the retail industry:
Augmented Reality Kiosks and VR Goggles in Retail Stores
Retailers are looking to differentiate themselves by providing a valuable in-store experience for consumers. With VR goggles, customers can now shop the aisles and try on items without even physically touching them. This novel experience is fast, easy, and fun – providing additional incentive for customers to enter the store.
iBeacon Systems to Drive Traffic to Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
Within many multichannel retailers, digital teams focus primarily on ecommerce KPIs – website traffic, conversion, units per order, amongst others. Accordingly, digital activity that might benefit the physical store is often deprioritized or neglected. iBeacons use Bluetooth to alert retailers when customers are in close proximity to their stores, to deliver hyper-contextual content to their smartphones. iBeacons also provide data collection to determine the effectiveness of a retailer's marketing campaign. This provides data on which promotion performs best given the time or day, age group, and product type.
Click and Collect to Increase Online and Offline Sales
Click and collect, or more commonly known to consumers as “order online, pickup in store”, helps increase traffic to brick-and-mortar stores and increase sales. This tactic engages consumers across multiple mediums and leverages eCommerce, mobile apps, and in-store experience. While it’s been successful in grocery stores, it is gaining momentum amongst non-food retailers. About a third of shoppers would prefer to pick up their purchases from a physical location than to their home. A comScore survey revealed that shoppers who go in-store, they are 45 percent more likely to buy an additional item.
Subscription-Based Model is Ramping Up
Some companies are moving away from a pay-per-product model to a subscription-based model. Successful subscription models focus on designing the best offering and finding the best fit for its customers. Adidas launched Avenue A – a subscription service for runners that delivers a box of items curated by well-known runners – and in doing so created a whole new revenue stream in a program that has now switched from pilot to permanent.
High-end In-Store Experiences Are Growing
While the Zara’s and TopShop’s of this world are trying to grow their customer base and increase store traffic, increased store clutter can become unpleasant for customers. Fashion label Reformation revamped its in-store experience to provide a high-end, high-volume retail experience, while keeping its Yelp reviews up. The brand focused on reconfiguring the space to unclutter the stores and dressing rooms. Touchscreen monitors are displayed around the store to scan through outfits and with one click your size can “magically” appear in your dressing room. Even car companies – which have traditionally been very focused on the showroom sale – are starting to offer digital screens to provide a more autonomous and easy in-store experience.
Livia Dayan is a senior account manager, Digital, Edelman Montreal.