What does it take for retail environments to deliver compelling customer experiences in the face of soaring online and mobile-commerce figures?
Despite the rise of e-commerce, in-store retail keeps an important place in the lives of consumers who seem to move effortlessly between all consumption channels. The factors that might help physical stores stay abreast of e-commerce are hard to capture, but seem ironically reliant on digital technologies.
Retail stores will not disappear, but they need to evolve, integrate technologies, and rethink consumer loyalty to drive store visits.
In a white paper published this week, Samsung reveals that what customers are looking for is a blending of online and physical experience, with digital technology becoming more prevalent in-store. In-store technology should serve two functions:
- Help the speed and ease of the purchase process;
- Make the retail environment more engaging and interactive.
Here are a few exciting examples of retail/technology integration:
iBeacons, which deliver real-time, customised discounts, store information, or engage users in games. The Beaconcrawl in New York is a brilliant example: it gamifies the pubcrawl experience by notifying crawlers of secret spots and offering them special drinks and perks.
Instant printing and customisation can also be created through technology, like Topshop allowing shoppers to make their personalised, in-store, instant printed t-shirts with the Yr technology.
QR Codes: since 2011, Tesco’s branch Home Plus has implemented smart supermarket shelves in South Korean subways: commuters scan the QR codes of products on 2D shelves, order instantly and get the goods delivered directly to their homes.
3D scanning: Virtual Changing Room technology like Fitsme lets consumers visualise what they would look like wearing a specific item without needing to get undressed, just using 3D scanning. A similar tool, StyleMe, developed by Cisco, was tested in John Lewis stores recently:
These are but a few striking examples of how retail environments can make the most of online technologies, but it does not stop there and will continue expanding beyond current applications.
Keep your eyes and phone open on your next shopping trip!