If brick-and-mortar stores want to stay open and competitive, they need to revolutionize the way they reach customers. However, implementing technology for the sake of it is not productive. Instead, retailers need to address their customer service and how they have changed in recent years.
Here are some technologies that can keep the physical store alive and well, if they remember to keep the customer first:
With customers glued to Internet-enabled devices, the digital marketing it becomes more important than ever for retailers connecting with shoppers. Whether it's digital coupons, virtual storytelling, emails, or augmented advertising, companies are upping their digital marketing game.
Studying analytics is vital to understanding your customer. The Information, such as customer demographics and traffic, enables companies to make smarter decisions based on customer details, as well as personalize the customer experience.
Omnichannel commerce is a multi-channel shopping approach that aims to make the customer experience more seamless across online and in-person channels. Walmart is jumping on the omnichannel bandwagon with its text ordering service. This delivery service allows customers to order products via text messages to increase convenience.
AI is automating and personalizing the retail experience, with the goal of making shopping easier for the consumer. According to Deloitte, more than a third of top brand leaders are using AI to improve business. One of AI's main movements is the development of cashierless stores.
AI voice activation is so popular it deserves a separate section. Whether it's telling your Amazon Alexa to buy things or asking Siri to look up an item online, voice control has grown in popularity in the retail space.
Augmented reality is completely changing shopping experiences. Consumers can now virtually try on clothing or test products through AR. For example, within Sephora's mobile app, users can virtually sample makeup in real time. By placing filters over their live selfies, users can see what makeup products would look like on their faces.
While AR is transforming the consumer retail experience, virtual reality is changing the retail face. VR is useful for visualizing and redesigning stores and testing different layouts without having to physically rebuild the store.
Sensor data is revolutionizing physical retailers. Major brands strategically place small sensors in their stores, which connect to customer phones if Bluetooth is enabled and the retail app is installed. With this connectivity, retailers can see how long users have been in their stores and what they pick up, as well as offer personalized discounts based on that information.
Facial recognition technology can help retailers better understand customer preferences. Facial recognition can track where customers prefer in stores, determine customer demographics, and even prevent shoplifting. By tracking where most customers go in stores, business owners can develop a store layout that is more productive for their clientele.
Inventory tracking, stock availability, shipping details and orders are moving to the cloud. With cloud computing, retailers can reduce the cost of software development and process data at a much faster rate.