How Interactive Tools Improve the Retail Experience

May 22, 2017 — Marty Yaskowich
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In order to ensure customers will complete their consumer journeys, companies need to provide a quality retail experience. Now that the world revolves around technology and sharing, the encounters consumers want with brands are more personal than ever.

Consumers seek to be a part of brands' stories, and interactive tools help make this happen by allowing shoppers to engage with touchscreens, menus, games, hashtags, and more. Here are some ways that interactive tools intensify the retail experience.

Interactive tools for searching

Interactive aisle kiosk technology

It's a well-known psychological principle that people who participate in something generally become more invested in it than passive observers do. Once someone puts effort into a task, they don't want to give up the sunk cost of the time they've spent. In terms of retail, if a sales associate simply informs someone that a product exists, the shopper won't necessarily feel a particularly strong connection to it. If, on the other hand, the searching consumer discovers the product on their own (say, on social channels), then the shopper usually feels more committed to the item. After all, it's something they worked hard to find.

Interactive tools such as Endless Aisle can bring this principle into brick-and-mortar locations. Tablets give shoppers the chance to search through reviews, various model and color options, and other data. By allowing customers to navigate their way through screens to figure out which product will suit them best, stores allow shoppers to feel more connected to the items they're engaging with, almost as if they're playing a game.

Interactive tools for selecting

Interactive shopping app

Tailoring the retail experience so consumers can have their say is a wise move for retailers. It's the same concept as with searching: the more individualized and invested shoppers are, the more they are going to “plug into” a brand and become a loyal customer. Retailers should want customers to feel as if they have a say in which products they are selecting.

Here are two examples. Consider the paint brand Dulux, whose interactive website allows users to select between shades, and the beauty supplier Sephora, whose app lets potential shoppers upload selfies, test out make-up virtually, and buy online. In each instance, the shopper plays an active role in picking out the product. This can be replicated in brick-and-mortar locations with Endless Aisle kiosks and tablets that empower the shopper to choose between multiple items and models.

Interactive tools for sharing

A third use for interactive tools is sharing the brand story online. It's no longer enough for the consumer journey to stay within the walls of the retail outlet. The world is increasingly connected, and shoppers want to share what they are doing. Innovative interactive tools can make this a natural process.

One great example of an interactive tool that encourages users to share brand stories online is Nike's Run Club app. On the app, users can take pictures of their runs, superimpose branding on the images, and share them online. The Nike story integrates seamlessly with the stories of joggers talking with each other about their exercise. Nike is providing a service by helping runners talk and share, and it is connecting consumers with its products at the same time.

Heighten the retail experience with iQmetrix

For retailers to build their brands with interactive tools, they need to first move beyond the brick-and-mortar mindset. Omnichannel solutions such as iQmetrix's Commerce Platform can help them create the infrastructure necessary to get started.

Download our whitepaper titled, Footprinting Brick and Mortar for Omnichannel Retail and find out how to adapt your retail footprint by exploring what works, what doesn't, and why. 

Get Your Free Whitepaper

Photos: Shutterstock / Zapp2Photo, Shutterstock / LDprod, Shutterstock / Zapp2Photo

Topics: Customer Experience, Retail Marketing, Interactive Retail

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