With e-commerce sales taking an increasing amount of the retail market share over the past few years, there has been speculation that brick-and-mortar stores will not stand the test of time. At iQmetrix, we don't see this happening anytime soon. In fact, we believe brick-and-mortar stores will keep serving as major anchors of retailers' omnichannel efforts.
A recent report by Bain & Company forecasts that “stores will continue to play a critical role in the luxury market, with 75% of purchases still occurring in a physical location by 2025.” So how do wireless retailers ensure that this applies to their brick-and-mortar locations?
To stay competitive in the changing retail landscape, companies should implement new technologies and perfect their omnichannel strategies to keep foot traffic up and customers making purchases in-store. Let's look at three considerations omnichannel stores should take into account during re-designs to enhance the customer experience.
Many patrons enter brick-and-mortar shops to find answers to their questions about goods and services. Even today, when more than three-quarters of people in the United States own smartphones, the urge to find a human being who can help solve your problems or answer your questions remains strong. After all, shoppers might not be sure exactly what they want, and heading to a retail outlet is a good way to seek guidance and find out.
Converting a typical brick-and-mortar location to a knowledge hub or information headquarters is a lot easier with new technologies. Products like wireless phones are complicated, and with high turnover rates and inexperienced employees, retailers don't always have the resources to train staff to become complete experts across different phone models. That's why Samsung has provided in-store kiosks or tablets which sales associates and customers can use to find the right items for purchase. Employees no longer need to memorize every piece of product information, and customers can combine the respective benefits of both an online and brick-and-mortar experience.
Wireless retailers can also consider what kind of experience their brick-and-mortar locations provide for shoppers. We've all been to an IKEA before—their showrooms are a great example. The experience of checking out all the different room possibilities allows shoppers to imagine what it would be like to have the products in their own homes, and to "play house" with different items. With a popular food court and a playroom for kids, shopping in one of their buildings is definitely an experience, not just an errand.
New technologies can help wireless retailers design fulfilling experiences for their patrons. Think of digital signage, for example. Instead of customers feeling bored while waiting in line, fun animations conveying brand messages can entertain them. The Journal of Business Research even found that digital signage's ability to evoke aesthetically pleasing experiences will positively affect shoppers' “approach behaviors”. In other words, consumers will be attracted to enjoyable videos, and more enticed to shop.
Customers feel appreciated when treated to personalized interactions, so omnichannel stores aiming to convert them into purchasers should provide a personal touch. How can this be accomplished with new technologies?
As mentioned in a Wall Street Journal tech briefing earlier this year, retailers are looking to big data and other concepts to personalize the shopping experience. Nordstrom Rack, for example, uses beacon technology where a Bluetooth-connected app pings customers to notify them when a dressing room opens up. The next step is for such apps to serve tailored ads to in-store customers. Does the shopper respond well to ads in the afternoon or the evening, or to ads for specific product categories? What kinds of ads does the individual prefer watching? The benefit of new analytics technologies is that wireless retailers can stop guessing at the answers and actually measure customer preferences. As a result, customers can then be targeted in ways that they prefer.
Whether you're looking to build a knowledge headquarters, or add a personal touch to your customers' in-store experiences, our products such as our cell phone store POS suite can help bring your store into the future and create the sort of shopping experience today's wireless customers expect.
Learn more about how brick-and-mortar stores can use omnichannel retail solutions to design their stores for the future. Download our whitepaper titled Five Steps to Reimagining the Physical Store.
Photos: Shutterstock / Hadrian, Shutterstock / withGod, Shutterstock / Dusan Petkovic, Shutterstock / Sorbis