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Can in-store technology boost your retail business’ performance?

With more people shopping online, retail businesses have probably noticed a dip in visits. But, recent statistics show that weekly bricks-and-mortar shoppers were up to 40% in 2015 and are expected to increase further to 44% in 2018. It’s likely that this is down to more people using shopping as a social activity and then placing their orders online. But, what does this mean for retailers?

It means that retailers who have a physical store presence are able to decrease their stock holdings and enhance the space entirely for the customer. Together with QUIZ, dresses retailer and owner of seven digital-led stores across the UK, we take a look at the importance of having in-store tech:

Available in-store tech

Although in-store technology is still relatively new for retailers; it’s becoming a crucial implementation requirement. But, recent research still indicates that people value brick-and-mortar stores — in fact, 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?

Popular features include kiosks (powered through artificial intelligence). However, not all retailers are getting on board — 66% of those surveyed in one study said that they were yet to encounter artificial intelligence in-store. 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.

With technology constantly developing, retail workers can become better informed which will benefit the customer. One way to do this is by providing employees with handheld iPads or other smart tablets. This allows staff to 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.

Augmented reality is also on the horizon for retail stores. This can help the customer with their purchase decision and help them visualise themselves with the product. Although this can be made available through an app, there are also ways to introduce it in-store. In a fashion store for example, a smart mirror can allow customers to dress themselves in different outfits without actually trying them 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.

Increasing brand loyalty

The introduction of retail technology can most definitely boost brand loyalty and increase visits. It’s possible that having in-store technology in a physical shop can make a brand more attractive to customers, and potentially a better option over competitors. Some retailers are recognising this too 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.

If your brand continues to develop with technological advancements, your brand will be perceived well. One study revealed that 46% of those surveyed said that a positive experience due to well-functioning technology increases their brand confidence.

Problematic technology

On occasion, technology will not work the way that we desire. This can be frustrating and add time onto a customer’s visit which may result in a negative experience.

Two-thirds of retail businesses have experienced a problem with store technology. Unfortunately, this then affects sales — one third of customers said that they were unable to complete their transactions because of the technology difficulties.

If your customer encounters a bad experience, it might put them off for good. Retailers must keep software and technologies updates and well-maintained to avoid issues like this.

If consumers find it difficult to use, it may be poor for your ROI objectives. This could make people feel excluded too — in-store tech should be simple to use, and visitors should be accompanied when using it if it’s more complex.

Whether retail stores accept it or not, technology is becoming a huge part of our society. Although customers are happy to shop online, they also enjoy shopping as a leisure activity and appreciate an interactive experience when doing so.

 

Sources

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/retail-consumer/consumer-insights-survey.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2017/06/20/the-future-of-retail-how-well-be-shopping-in-10-years/#21188bbe58a6

https://www.itproportal.com/features/consumers-love-in-store-technology-so-its-time-for-retailers-to-respond/

https://internetretailing.net/themes/themes/quiz-brings-digital-into-westfield-stratford-store-15243

https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/07/06/can-in-store-technology-slow-the-retail-apocalypse.aspx

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