Adopting new technologies in an attempt to improve the shopping experience and increase efficiency is the oldest trick in the book (ever heard of an Automat?), and it doesn’t always succeed (ever been to an Automat?).
But it’s nearly impossible to make a business thrive without staying abreast of new technologies and making strategic choices about which technologies to adopt. When you do, innovative new technologies can improve your business in surprising ways.
Here are two of our favorite ways that embracing the digitally integrated modern marketplace could improve the customer shopping experience.
Create an Experience
If they have the choice, customers would prefer not to have a boring, mundane shopping trip. What’s more exciting (in the retail world, at least) than trying out a newly-released item for yourself?
Digital displays that allow customers to test out new items or explore advanced product information in an engaging way are far more enticing than standard in-store signage.
Forbes projects that the future of retail involves new technologies that present customers with product information when they interact with a physical product in a store or even see one on the street.
In this case, simply touching a nail polish bottle shows you how the color can be found on the runway, among other things.
These innovations promise to make the in-store experience much more fun and memorable, and could go a long way toward creating the perception that your brand is both tech-savvy and entertaining.
Don’t you hate waiting in checkout lines when you’re done shopping? I know I do.
Lines are one of customers’ biggest frustrations, because they feel like they’ve made their choices and are ready to move on… and you’re the one stopping them.
If you need proof, consider this: customers consistently overestimate the amount of time they spend in lines. Several classic studies have found that shoppers overestimated by anywhere from 23-50%, and those numbers aren’t likely to go down in an era when we can’t even wait at a red light without checking our phones. Even if you are able to improve wait times, you may not get full credit for it with your customers.
Instead of investing in more cashiers, why utilize technology to eliminate lines altogether? At Apple Stores, there’s no need to queue up and pay at the registers – because there are none. If the employees are doing their jobs and shepherding customers through purchase decisions, they’ll be able to complete the sales where they stand with card readers on mobile devices.
Mobile payment technologies like Apple Pay and the retail strategies associated with it may not be perfect yet, but every indication is that mobile payment will soon become the standard. While implementing a POS solution like Apple’s may not be feasible at this time for all retail chains, it’s a model that will undoubtedly grow in popularity and continue to influence retail trends.
However you choose to do it, when you empower your employees to engage with customers at multiple stages of the in-store experience, you make it possible for them to build a genuine connection with customers and provide an easy, streamlined experience.
Combine that with technologies that help shoppers engage and connect with your products, and you have a winning combination.
Do you know how your customers experience your stores?