Reportedly, bricks-and-mortar shoppers will increase 44% in 2018. But how does this affect you and your business?
Although this rise appears positive for those of us with physical stores, you still have to compete against others in your industry to get people into your store — and implementing technology might be the key.
Ways you can boost in-store visits
Did you know that tech-based products might help boost brand loyalty? In-store technology can improve a customer’s experience and one study even showed that 46% of people claimed having a positive experience because of well-functioning technology increased their confidence in a brand.
Could technology also make you a more enticing option? Some retailers seem to think so, as one report suggested that 53% of retailers view investments in new automations and appliances in-store as vital to keep up with their competitor activity.
Which technology can we implement?
Most retail brands already have websites, selling everything from formal shoes and power drills, to sequin dresses and sports equipment. But, recent research still indicates that people value brick-and-mortar stores. 81% of UK customers said that the physical stores were vital to the shopping experience. So, when it comes to improving the high-street and implementing in-store technology, what should retailers be getting involved with?
Technology can work to boost the knowledge of your employees and give the customer a better, more efficient time in your store. For example, providing employees with handheld iPads or other smart tablets lets staff find the answer to a query, check a product’s availability and place orders for the customer without having to use a fixed computer. This can improve the customer’s experience and help build a stronger brand-to-customer relationship.
A shrewd move if you’re looking at the best in-store technology is to research augmented reality (AR). This can help the customer with their purchase decision and help them visualise themselves with the product. Although AR is available through an app, there are also ways to introduce it in-store. In a fashion store for example, someone could try on a men’s blazer in front of a smart mirror before viewing themselves in various alternative jackets without actually trying the rest on. Similarly, in a furniture store, visitors can upload a photo of their home and try out pieces of furniture to see if it would suit their rooms.
Tills enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) are another option for innovative business owners. However, 66% of those surveyed in an experiment said they hadn’t experienced AI in a shop. Do retailers realise the huge potential of this type of technology? In fact, 60% of consumers are attracted to the idea of using them to find products that they weren’t aware of before. As an example, in QUIZ’s digital stores, an in-store kiosk enables visitors to browse the full collection (even if some products aren’t available in-store) and order them to their homes or local store.
Bad points of in-store tech
Of course, there are aspects to consider when it comes to in-store technology. RetailWeek found that around 66% of people met with issues when dealing with in-store technology. Unfortunately, this then can affect sales — 33% of customers said that they were unable to complete their transactions because of technology trouble. This highlights that technology can fail and cause frustrations for staff and customers, adding time onto a visit that may result in a negative experience.
Bad experiences can harm a brand and cause someone not to do business there again. Retailers must keep software and technologies updates and well-maintained to avoid issues like this. Similarly, if technology is difficult to use, clients may just not bother at all. This could make people feel excluded too — in-store tech needs to be simple to use for everyone. If not, a member of staff should be on hand at all times to help.
In-store tech is apparently the future of retail. Although customers are happy to shop online, they also enjoy shopping as a leisure activity and appreciate an interactive experience.