Enhancing the Visitors’ Experience with Omnichannel Retail Technologies
Powered by enhanced features, Acquire Digital’s Shelf-Edge, Endless Aisle, and Retail Wayfinding solutions are transforming the shopping experience in brick and mortar stores. From the AcquireDigital Blog —
During the initial months of 2020, retailers dealing with essentials were left with very little time to act and put in measures to safeguard the health of their employees and customers. On the other hand, non-essential retailers were making every possible effort to move from the traditional, physical environment to a digital one. With the arrival of June, e-commerce stores were way ahead of the usual brick and mortar stores with more than 4X sales.
While this pandemic posed many challenges for physical storefronts, technological advances are accelerating the digital transformation of the retail industry. These technologies power the enhancement of customer personalization, physical store shopping, and contactless service.
An interesting fact worth mentioning is that these experiences aren’t just limited to hyper or superstores or high-end retailers; midsize and small stores all need to change their focus and shift toward these next-gen technologies to serve their customers in a better way in the wake of a new normal.
Key Challenges for Brick & Mortar Stores
For retailers, it is critical to understand that the traditional shopping experience is changing, and expecting things and businesses to return to ‘normal’ is futile. Even before this pandemic struck the world, traditional retail stores were already under attack, thanks to e-commerce giants like Amazon.
The pandemic has simply widened the gaps and has made the situation critical for retailers to adjust to market demands. With more and more consumers opting for online shopping, retailers are in no position to be in sit-and-watch mode. For the first time ever, more than a quarter of holiday sales will occur online.
According to Digital Commerce 360, online holiday sales are expected to surge to 43% in 2020.
Retailers looking to bridge the gap need to focus on improving the in-store experience to drive online sales. We’ve seen the emergence of retailers like Bonobos who use physical locations to increase awareness and allow users to try on, and touch and feel the products before purchasing online or through a ship-to-home purchasing model.
On the other hand, larger retailers should be taking a closer look at how consumers navigate their stores and make purchasing decisions. Utilizing the advancement in digital technologies can assist retailers with these changes.
A New, Redefined Baseline: Before anything else, traditional stores have to ensure that their operations comply with the necessary health-and-safety regulations while meeting the basic consumer expectations. This involves maintaining a proper physical distance, mask-wearing, controlling the number of customers in the store, enhancing the speed of service, initiating contactless transactions, and introducing self-service and eCommerce options.
Rethinking In-Person Experience: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have to ensure that the in-store experience they are providing to their customers is simply extraordinary. In other words, retailers have to give their customers a compelling reason to visit. Only such in-store experience would break the inertia of consumer behavior that they adopted during the early days of the pandemic.
Digital Technology is The Ally in Tough Times
Similar to other industry verticals, digital technology has become the savior of the retail industry as well. Retailers are utilizing many existing technologies to elevate the customer experience while safeguarding the health interests of their employees.
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