Rethinking in-store experiences
In-store retail is no longer about seeing, trying, and buying the product. When the convenience of ecommerce is available to your customers, they expect in-store experiences to be more convenient and valuable than traditional in-store experiences.
According to a 2023 survey, what customers want the most when it comes to in-store experiences, is self-service checkouts (wanted by 42%), in-store guided navigation (41%), and the ability to see store inventory on mobile . Self-service checkout serves to eliminate the friction introduced by long queues, and in-store navigation helps buyers pinpoint the item they are looking for without hassle.
These features are supported by robust digital management capabilities driving store operations. For example, in order to guide a customer to a product on your shelf, your systems must not only reflect accurate inventory data at all times, but also the exact position at which the product is placed at any point in time.
Mobile apps: the new digital storefront
The convenience of shopping via smartphone is almost unparalleled in a world where buyers spend 3+ hours on their phone each day . But mobile apps can do more than just sell your stuff – they can also help you connect buyers to your helpdesk, and engage buyers and offer them loyalty points and discounts. Moreover, mobile apps can help you deliver connected device features like the ability to control an item you sell, or track its usage through an app.
Given that mobile is the next most preferred channel after in-store experiences, investing in a mobile app can prove to be a high payoff strategy for your business. However, it can also prove tricky for some businesses, shall they fail to drive their customers to download their apps.
Phygital retail: 2 key trends
With growing adoption of digital technology on the consumer side, the boundary between digital and physical worlds is growing increasingly blurred. In this phygital world, an experience can start in the physical world, and end in the digital world – or vice-versa. Here are 2 key trends associated with this shift.
Trend 1: BOPIS (Buy online, pickup in store)
BOPIS is a sales model in which an item is purchased via an ecom website or a mobile app, and the user picks that item from a store later that day, or the next. It saves them long queues, offers an easy payment experience, and quick fulfilment – in other words, the best of both in-store retail, and online shopping.
Needless to say, BOPIS capabilities can only be activated when the business already has an ecommerce capability.
Trend 2: Product placement with Augmented Reality (AR)
In some lines of business, it is important for the customer to be able to see the product in the surroundings in which it will be used. To this end, businesses are now making use of AR to showcase their products in real-world surroundings.
AR is already used by IKEA and Apple to help users see what their products will look like inside their home. Other industries that are making use of AR include fashion, apparel, electronics, and lifestyle.