Like it or not retailers are operating in a tech driven society, whether you’re a high end boutique or the local corner store these days a retailer can’t afford to be living in the dark ages. From grass roots social media brand awareness campaigns to influencing in-store – purchases technology has forever altered the consumer experience.
There is a plethora of benefits we could highlight from embracing technology in your retail space but for now we will focus on the core reasons every retail MUST invest in technology.
As we move to an increasingly cashless marketplace the emphasis on store security must also swing from the physical to the digital. At the very least retailers should all by now have embraced EMV “chip” readers for eftpos terminals but further consideration must be given to the network integrity, point to point encryptions and even the security or your communications. Of course if you also offer an ecommerce platform then a whole other world of variables must be considered.
For a long time, software has focused on a silo model, doing what it does well but not allowing information to flow between different business processes. Now as cloud based SaaS’s (software as a service) proliferate and RESTful API’s become the norm, retailers can now enjoy the benefits of having a POS system which updates an inventory control system which than auto restocks based on previous sales data. A loyalty or rewards system will share customer data with a marketing automation system to curate custom offerings based on a shopper’s behavior and previous purchases. Giving owners and managers more time to step out of the back office and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Now days seemingly every device, from fridges to coffee machines feature internet connectivity and whilst some may say it seem likes overkill, this prevalence of technology provides for greater levels of interactions with consumers. By capitalizing on new technology, any consumer facing device can now be utilized to enhance a consumers instore experience by personalizing offers, identifying repeat customers and contributing to a word of mouth buzz.
By embracing emerging augmented reality (AR) technology these retailers have been able to differentiate their offerings from competitors through value added services.
- Cosmetics chain Sephora launched AR technology which enables customers to view different styles and shades of makeup on them without the need to physically apply it accompanying this are customer facing iPads which display product tutorials.
- IKEA launched a digital AR catalogue for tablets which enabled customers to experience what different pieces of furniture would look like in their homes.
- London based Topshop unveiled a virtual reality dressing room which removed the need for customers to enter the change rooms.
Insight Rich Data
The beauty of interactive technology is that not only does it entice increased customer engagement but it is also capable of capturing rich data on consumer behavior. The same wireless technology which can be used to interact with customers on an individual level can also interact with the customer’s mobile devices to track browsing and shopping habits and then send targeted messages via Beacon transmitters placed around a store. By capturing such rich data, retailers will gain greater customer insights, providing more effective identification and realization of opportunities. The technology will significantly increase a retailer’s acquisition marketing levels and will provide a far greater overall ROI on marketing activities through enhanced information.