The retail landscape today looks quite different than it did a decade ago. How customers are making purchasing decisions and buying items has changed significantly. Customers will often be physically present in a store, yet still consult their smartphone to complete the buying decision. They will read product reviews, compare pricing, take pictures, and sometimes even purchase the product itself.
Rather than struggling with this consumer behavior shift, successful retail companies are coming out on top by embracing technology and blurring the line between the online and in-store shopping experience.
Delivering a Seamless Customer Experience Throughout All Retail Channels
From discovery to being ready to buy, next generation shoppers want to be able to do it all with minimal effort.
Retailers are responding to this demand by investing business capital into syncing systems. Global inventory management, merchandising, and logistical data meets with online platforms to provide a true omnichannel experience. This gives customers the information they need to know at their fingertips, such as real-time item availability and shipping times. Multi-channel communication also means that a retailer can eliminate overselling by viewing unified sales and inventory information across all stores and retail channels.
Empowering Employees and Customers with Technology
As global trends have shown, the prevalence of smartphones in brick and mortar stores is only going to increase over the next several years. Forward focused retailers have accepted this fact and have shifted their focus to providing a more mobile-friendly customer journey. Some examples of this which can be found in several stores today include:
- Customers can bypass the traditional time-consuming checkout process and by using optimized websites and native smartphone apps.
- A growing number of retailers are integrating in-store pickup or BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) technologies.
- Retailers are providing customers with “call” buttons which allow them to receive service-on-demand from a sales associate.
Today, customers have a higher expectation of sales associates than ever. This new engagement technology means that employees can quickly respond to the needs of a customer, help them find the most suitable product, and increase the likelihood of a customer walking away with a purchase.
Gaining Better Business Intelligence to Drive Sales and Loyalty
How customers research and buy items is becoming more technologically driven, but it still does not compare to being able to physically touch and try on items. This creates an opportunity for retailers to utilize technology in order to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
Retailers now have the resources available to keep up with consumer-driven retail. With access to these tools, they can deliver a better and more memorable customer experience while driving sales and profitability.