We’ve recently written a fair amount about how technology is changing up the retail space – from the role of IoT, to ecommerce trends and tracing the evolution of retail spaces from traditional to modern day.
Today, we’re looking at the connected retail revolution and unpacking exactly what retailers need to do to tap into this digital trend. So, let’s start off by explaining what the connected retail revolution is all about.
In the past, a customer’s purchasing journey was pretty straightforward – they’d see an ad for a product, visit the physical store with hope that the item they’ve eyed out is in stock, buy the item and head home. The connected retail revolution means that customers have so many more options – they can buy items via a ecommerce website and have them delivered, they can “Click and Collect”, which entails ordering an item online and then picking it up themselves, they can peruse the Internet for specials while inside a store and then use this research to secure the best deals. All of this is enabled by mobile technologies, apps, augmented and virtual reality, QR codes, NFC technology, customer analytics and the Internet of Things.
According to Cisco: “This sweeping digital transformation has dramatically altered the shopping behaviours of consumers, who now demand experiences that are contextual and hyper-relevant (enabling consumers to receive what they want, when and how they want it), whether in-store or out. As a result, retailers are reinventing their business models and rethinking much of what they once knew”.
Tapping into this trend is all about ensuring consumers have a connected experience throughout the customer journey. Here’s a look at a traditional customer journey and how you can use this as a roadmap to get your digital strategy on track:
Awareness – This is where it is critical that retailers don’t underestimate the power of search. More than just a tool for consumers to find information, it reveals insights about customer behaviour. As customers research products online or view in-store digital displays, retailers can use this search information to transform their searches into personalised promotions.
Consideration – As customers now know what they need, they start to consider their options. This is where customer experience is crucial. Connected retail technologies not only make for a vastly improved shopping experience for customers, they also boost a brand’s bottom line. With so many options out there, if one retailer doesn’t offer the level of experience a customer is looking for, they’ll simply go elsewhere.
Decision – The customer is making things official and buying the product, it’s time for retailers to sweeten the deal. Imagine if they could enter a store, scan a QR code on their desired product and then receive a personal discount? Or if they were greeted as they entered the store by a sales assistant who is armed with customer search information and is thus ready to help the customer solve the problem they’re looking to solve.
“The coming Connected Retail revolution will combine the best aspects of the online and brick and mortar shopping experience, making for happier, more loyal customers who spend more at the store,” says Corniel van Niekerk, a senior manager at Deloitte. Are you ready for it?
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