Technology has indeed revolutionized all industries. And like every revolution, this too has divided the society into two opposing sides. While on the one hand, are the eCommerce websites who have benefitted from the technological advancements, the other side of the spectrum is marked by a number of brick-and-mortar stores that have had their position in the market taken over by their digital counterparts.
The most significant change that has been heralded by technology is that it has absolutely modified the customer. If you are waiting at your store for a customer to come and ask you about what is the product that they should buy, and then you will take them through all their options and help them make a decision – that’s not going to happen.
The Internet has ensured that customers no longer need salespersons to tell them what they need. Today customers are well informed and chances are that they will come to your store already have decided what they want to buy.
So, the best you can do is use technology to enhance the customer experience you offer.
A recent trend is to merge online and in-store retailing. This involves maintaining a physical retail space and an online ordering mechanism. The customers can come and try your products – like clothes and glasses and place the orders online and get them shipped to their homes. Bonobos and Warby Parker have successfully implemented this approach.
The advantages of this mix-up are that you need less retail space because no inventory and you solve the biggest problem of online shopping – getting your size right in the first order.
Though this is, by no means, the only way in which you can technologically upgrade your store.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are increasingly becoming an important aspect of shopping. High-level stores like Ikea and Anthropologie, allows its customers to use AR to see how the furniture that they like will look in their homes. All they have to do is download your app and hold your phone at an angle that allows it to gauge the measurements of the room you are looking furniture for. And then the system will show only that furniture that can easily fit in that space. They get on their phone a visual representation of their room with the new furniture.
You can also spice up your store using beacons. These are sensors strategically placed around the store that picks up customer’s Bluetooth signals and uses it to install your app on their phone. This allows you to provide them with a map of your store and personalized discounts. Sephora has used this method to serve their customers.
Therefore, Technology in your retail store can help you create a better customer experience, which is the key to establish yourself as a force to reckon with in the market.