Stores are no more JUST stores, they are like museums!In today’s world, the traditional brick and mortar stores need some serious reinventing to meet the growing expectations of the resilient millennial customers. In-store design and user experience has become highly important for both mediocre and high end brands.Getting the attention of shoppers is not as easy as it used to be. Retailers are putting in a lot of money into digital signage to provide an Omnichannel approach of selling fashion which includes using various bleeding-edge technologies to increase consumer engagement.Retailers are striving to market to their customers a unique, hyper convenient and personalized shopping experience. The foundation for this customization is to harness a massive amount of data that is available to retailers and to carry out analytics that make the data meaningful and will subsequently benefit both the retailers and their customers. Let’s look at some most important trends for retailers to embrace now:Interactive store windows and Virtual in-store displays
Whether it’s for customer education, in-store entertainment or just a plain marketing strategy, interactive store windows would definitely get you hooked on to the store! In fact, this is the main goal of a display whether its static visual merchandising or interactive store windows, they need the customers to stop and look at the product. Using interactive retail displays only make it that much easier.
Let’s look at how Kalogirou, a luxury footwear brand in Greece, Installed interactive window display to re-imagine the fashion retail world by creating a holistic, in-store interactive experience for the consumers.
Australia’s Telecom giant, Telstra is a classic example of how they infused technology into their daily in-store chores and made the customer experience its top most priority.
Beacons were first introduced by apple in 2013. Beacons use Bluetooth low energy wireless technology to send information to customers passing by the store with information such as push notifications on sales and promotions, list and style guides, and so on, that would entice the customers to enter the store.
Once they enter the store, the information becomes more personalized like suggestions of products depending on their previous shopping patterns, loyalty programs, payment methods and so on.
The video below shows how beacons are used in retail stores.
Interactive dressing rooms and Magic mirrors
Retailers have been experimenting with this technology since 2010, when macys rolled out its smart dressing room which scans your body for measurements and let you virtually try all the clothing and accessories. This concept was a hit on the designer level but not feasible enough for the consumers. However, the basis of this technology has served to boost the development of magic mirrors.
Magic mirrors are used in retail spaces to display their products and provide augmented reality experience to the consumer. Magic mirrors are also used in fitting rooms where the customer walks in the fitting room and the sensors in the mirror recognize the items bought in. This technology is RF-id tag based. The system allows users to select sizes and colors available in the stock and give fashion suggestions. The customer can also call the store associate for any help.
Rebecca Minkoff’s Store is a classic example of magic mirrors in partnership with eBay- that built the technology!
Chatbots are incorporated to provide real time advice and recommendations to customer. Chatbots are artificial intelligence platform where humans can interact with a software computer both in text and voice commands. They are used by brands to respond to customer queries in real time. Chatbots are completely automated. They can respond to hundreds of consumers at the same time.
H&M moved to the forefront of the future of shopping with the release of its chatbot via the messenger app KIK. The customer uses the KIK app and selects the H&M bot to communicate with it either via messaging or voice.
You can see a demo of the HandM chatbot below:
There is lot more development on the platform and the jury’s still out on whether they are going to transform customer interaction and change the way we shop!
Just-walk-out Technology through mobile pay
Starting with the traditional Brick-and-Mortar to Click-and-Collect, retail is now slurring over to grab-and-Go formats!
Amazon has come up with their new beta store called Amazon Go in Seattle that has no checkout lines. You simply need to grab your products, the RFID on the products will sync the data to the handheld device or phone and the customer can exit the store. This is Just-walk-Out technology where the payments are done through your mobile.
As discussed above, the digital revolution of retail is also about empowering store associates with mobile devices to work smarter, be more efficient and provide more personalized recommendations when interacting with customers. This is where big data analytics comes into picture.
Big data has become a vital part of the business world. Retailers are using big data to make their industry more profitable. Analytics are being used at every stage of the buying process – from predicting popular products to pricing and figuring out what to sell to customers next.
The process of data collection for data analytics is based on Internet of things(IoT) that starts with in-store beacons, associate tablets, social networks, Artificial intelligence, gesture recognition, digital signage, loyalty cards and so on.
Data is then analyzed using business analytics that converts the raw data to actionable data that would benefit the retailer in forecasting inventory, forecasting trend, dynamic pricing, planning the product promotion and offers that will give retailers increased store traffic and greater revenues.
The race is still on as the impact of digitization on retail is yet to be realized. With the ever-changing demands of the customer, retailers need to continue forecasting innovations like these!