Why digital and physical have the perfect in-store chemistry

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The perfect store in today’s retail world generates memorable customer experiences (CX) and brand loyalty through a mixture of physical beauty and digital engagement.

New store openings still receive huge fanfare and help retailers – whether they started life online or have been operating in bricks and mortar for years – to showcase their credentials, cement customer relationships and make a visible impact in the market.

But as we detail in our latest market report, The Generation Game, modern shoppers want more from stores and not every customer is the same – those businesses that mix digital experience with traditional shop keeping standards are set to reap the rewards.

Shoppers want to use technology in stores

All the consumers we surveyed agree that technology can enhance the in-store experience – it’s not just a case of retailers foisting high-tech equipment upon their shoppers.

And that’s because digital interactions can help alleviate the pain points related to the in-store shopper journey, such as long queues, out of stocks and the disconnection between online and the physical shop that consumers still feel exists in many retail outlets.

One telling statistic from our research is that 31% of under-45s get frustrated if they cannot order an out-of-stock item from the store. If forward-thinking retailers can enable this, then the customer expect the capability to stretch to the wider market.

Generation differentiation

In fact, it’s the younger shoppers that are most likely to identify the experiential upsides of in-store digitalisation, while older consumers are more practical and crave seamless, convenient interactions with retail staff, who are well informed and responsive to their needs.

Generation Z and Millennials view stores as a place to explore and a social meeting point – they typically spend much of their time researching and shopping online, and expect the store to offer a connection to that world.

On the flip side, older shoppers such as the Generation X and Baby Boomer generations want technology that informs and supports their shopping journey. Whereas digital signage and virtual shelving may most appeal to the young ones, interactive kiosks and a mobile tablet service might best keep the more experienced shopper happy.

Creating a connected store strategy

When enabling this new in-store experience, it’s crucial retailers do not just implement technology for the sake of it – there must be a considered approach to the introduction of new systems and customer-facing digital touchpoints.

So many retailers talk of following the ‘next big tech trend’ only to not optimise this investment in their stores or, in some cases, cause operational headaches for the staff left managing the equipment at the coalface.

It is essential, here, to invest in a single platform that connects devices, integrates digital systems into the physical environment and offers central management capability that eases staff workload and consequently enables customers to achieve their in-store goals.

With a significant acceleration in the use of in-store Internet of Things technologies expected in the years ahead, now’s the time for retailers to align their digital-in-physical propositions – it will enable the CX shoppers are looking for and drive their business in the right direction.

Download our market report, The Generation Game, for a snapshot of what digital consumers want from today’s retail store

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