How technology is transforming in-store shopping

Internet Retailing – With ecommerce growing at an unprecedented rate all around the world, brick and mortar stores have to work twice as hard to attract customers’ attention. No wonder – online shopping keeps the desire for convenience alive. There are ways to compete with online retailers and create a greater in-store experience, though. And the easiest way to do so is by using technology to their advantage.

As a matter of fact, the industry is already undergoing a digital transformation, with worldwide retail tech spending expected to increase 3.6% to $203.6 billion in 2019. It’s mostly due to the rise of new technologies, changing patterns of consumer behaviour, as well as the influence of companies that put digital first and become true pioneers of the industry.

The response to these changes, however, vary from business to business. One thing is certain – the changing nature of retail is bound to require a tech-fueled and customer-centred approach from the retailers. If they want to stay competitive, that is.

TRANSFORMING IN-STORE SHOPPING WITH TECHNOLOGY

Implementing technology just for the sake of it is not good enough anymore. But, using tech solutions to increase convenience for shoppers and franchisees, or gather relevant data to enhance and personalize their shopping experience, is a completely different story.

Collecting and analysing customer data more effectively, leveraging new technologies like AR and IoT, and incorporating innovative payment systems are only a few examples of how technology can transform in-store shopping. In fact, there are many ways for retailers to differentiate from their online competitors.

THE USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

With software being one of the fastest growing technology expenditures in the retail industry (according to Gartner), online and mobile shopping have become disruptive forces within this sector. Many retailers are adopting data analytics software to manage their stores more effectively and provide an effortless and personalized shopping experience to their customers – even in real time.

That’s hardly surprising. According to BRP Consulting’s “2019 Special Report: In-Store Mobility”, 63% of consumers rely on mobile phones while shopping in-store to compare prices, search for offers and coupons, and check inventory, among other things. With self-scanning apps, mobile devices can also turn into a POS system and speed up the checkout process while selling on-the-go. The BRP study noted that 44% of consumers surveyed would shop with retailers that offer such a possibility.

These numbers might be the reason why in-store mobile experience is one of the top customer engagement priorities among retailers. Even though many of them have already developed some sort of shopping apps, retailers are now looking at new ways to take advantage of mobile technology. And rightly so.

The biggest Central and Eastern European convenience store chain Żabka is a great example of such efforts. It has been working on two mobile apps – one dedicated to its franchisees (the award-winning “frappka” app), and the other meant for its customers. In the near future, the app will encourage shoppers to purchase products based on the circumstances while they’re inside the store, and send them notifications about any Żabka stores in the vicinity – suggesting that they may be in need of shopping. Both apps align with the company’s digital transformation strategy that is supposed to lead to the creation of “the store of the future” very soon.

Another brand that brings retail to a new level is Nike. Its flagship store in New York is mobile-centred and clients can check out and choose products to be delivered to the fitting room using an app, which is also a source of personalised discounts.

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