Customers do not lag behind anymore when it comes to the fast-moving world of technology – They are generally tech-savvy and expect retailers to be also, according to FierceRetail. There has historically been a gap between offline and online shopping, but with the emergence of new technologies like in-store geo-tracking, this is not the case anymore. Helped along by the huge surge in smartphone usage by the general public, once thought unrealistic technologies are now being realized and implement in stores. Will you adopt this way of thinking or be left behind?
Customer experience is key!
Retailers often make the mistake of treating their online and in-store business sections as separate – Customers, however, do not; to them it is the same company, just a different method of shopping with them. Research has shown that customers expect the same level of detail in-store as they can access online – Where in a store can you read product reviews or find information on different sizing options etc? Nowhere! Event if retailers should consider multi-channel retailing, they should not forget that their only goal is the customer satisfaction.
More and more customers are resorting to using their phones in-store to enhance their shopping experience and this is something retailers need to take advantage of and develop on to spearhead this kind of technological revolution.
How can phones be used as a retail tool in store?
There are various different ways in which a retailer could use mobile technology to enhance the in-store experience – Such ways include barcode scanning to bring up product reviews, or even providing store maps to allow customers to navigate to the different parts of a store using their phones GPS signal.
Ways in which in-store mobile technology is being used now
Tablet usage by staff – One major way in which mobile technology is seeing a breakthrough is the use of tablets by store employees. This is becoming more and more popular and you will see much retail staff carrying IPads with them for example. This could be to show customers additional merchandise or even special discounts or plans they offer – Carphone Warehouse provide a system on their tablets that shows you the different contract payment plans available depending on your needs. Other shops have tablets that allow their staff to bring up customers purchase history and use this to give them a more tailored shopping experience by showing the similar items to what they have previously brought.
Tablets for customer use – You may have noticed tablets stationed strategically in some retail outlets; this could be as an aid to browsing through a retailer’s product range, or even to provide a tailored shopping experience and giving customers questionnaires so they can better understand what product would suit them. This approach may not work for every retail store, however, to help its success, attention to detail is required and there must be a clear explanation as to why the mobile device is beneficial.
Free Wifi and enabling the use of personal devices – How often do you see a customer on their phone on Facebook instead of looking at your products? Many stores are providing free Wifi to enable customers to browse their products or look up reviews while they are in the store. Things like scanning barcodes to find reviews and processing payments with a single click on a mobile device all enhance the customer experience.
Technology and the future of retail
Research shows that nearly 28% of customers in retail environments use their mobile phones in-store – This figure cannot be ignored and retailers must take advantage of this statistic and try to develop technologies that bridge the gap between mobile and the end purchase. How can you turn that mobile into a tool in which to give you better conversion rates and more sales? What apps and technologies could a customer use on their mobile to enhance their shopping experience? Customers like to be rewarded, and they like to have as much information about an item as possible before making a purchase – Mobile technologies are the way forward and can help to give customers a positive time in your store.