The retail environment is in a transient state. Traditional brick and mortar stores are adapting to the emergence of e-commerce and the growing integration of digital seen through the popularity of online shopping. To stay relevant, retail environments need to remain on the front foot. They need to ensure they are offering an in-store experience that lives outside the digital space but also can’t afford to be afraid to push digital boundaries, integrating the digital and physical elements to elevate the customer experience to a whole new level.
There is no sign that the evolution of the online market is slowing down, and there are a multitude of benefits in providing consumer goods through the Internet as people actively seek out the variety and convenience available through online retail (e-tail). However, there is still a place for a physical shopping experience. Understanding the customer journey and delivering a brand experience unique to the physical channel, as well as being inherently aware of the omnichannels, is important for brands as they navigate this new landscape.
In-store technology can be used for;
- Campaign integration,
- Visual merchandising,
- Store aesthetics,
- Store information, and
- Collecting customer data
Digital tools include video walls and digital screens, social media integration and interactive touchpoints as well as virtual and augmented reality. These are all available to enhance the in-store experience and the emotional reactions associated with the physical purchase.
Video Walls / Digital Screens
Bringing your omnichannel campaigns to life through internal digital screens and video walls allows an engaging brand extension in your physical retail environments. Moods, colors, lifestyles and stories can be told through screens that display different content or combine to deliver large-scale videos and visuals. Take your product off the shelf and deliver images and videos of how customers can interact with your offering to build real desire around its potential place in their lives.
Social Media Integration
Integrate online platforms into your physical space through interactive photo walls, uniquely integrated brand uploads and hashtags. Let your customers be the star of their experience through customized brand filters, personalized messages, product information and the ability to share across social networks.
Customers love having information at their fingertips, allowing them to feel empowered in the physical retail environment. Offer your customers wayfinding and product identification, or link products of interest through preference by following similar algorithms to online retail. Have an exclusive brand app or story? Bring it to life through interactive touchscreens and journey mapping by providing customers with digital access directly on your shop floor.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The future is here with the growth of virtual and augmented reality. Leveraging VR and AR into the retail space allows a range of opportunities for further customer engagement, increased personalization and constantly changing environments, injecting a digital edge into your in-store retail experience. Purchasing a snowboard? Take your customer to the slopes. Looking to paint the walls of your kitchen? Experience the color coming to life in your space. The opportunity for retail brands in this space is truly exciting and will see a whole new world in relation to the customer experience.
Our recent visit to the PWC Chair in the Digital Economy on Retail 5.0 highlighted a shift from customer relationships towards proactive retailing and the future of customer managed relationships where the power within a physical environment lays in the consumer’s hands. The merging of physical and digital presents the ‘phygital’ retail space where the unique elements of environment and digital possibility find harmony.