Do you agree that digital technologies change our life drastically? We can solve many daily challenges using smartphones, tablets, smart domestic appliances, and so on. How often do you go to the cinema? Well, today you probably prefer buying a movie and watch it on your laptop or smart TV. How often do you go shopping? I bet that digital shops have become more popular today than physical stores. This article will cover how smart retail technologies can change the in-store experience and what you should do if you still own a physical shop:
Why physical stores become second to mobile apps
These days, we can’t ignore the fact that people visit physical stores less as Internet shops have become much more accessible and convenient. Of course, if you need to buy a bottle of milk or bread, you generally wouldn’t order it from a digital shop although the possibility does exist, but if you need to buy home appliances, phones, TV sets, etc., a digital store opens up more options.
A picture below shows you some telling facts about mCommerce and eCommerce.
Let’s review the main reasons why customers prefer shopping online rather than visiting physical stores.
A wider range of products. For example, you came to a physical store to choose a laptop, but you can see only four to five models, and that’s all! Moreover, you don’t know how good they are. That’s why people check eCommerce websites that sell laptops, sort them by rating, outline technical particularities, and provide product reviews. You can sort out a dozen laptops, and you don’t even need to leave your apartment. So physical stores are not so good at it.
Availability. As we noted above, users have all the information at their fingertips, and they don’t need to spend much time visiting a shop to discover that it doesn’t have the necessary item available. Internet shops make it possible to get notifications when the item is available, and they will buy it immediately.
Time-saving approach. Users don’t need to stay in long lines, and they always have an opportunity to visit the online shop, day or night. Plus, customers save their time since they don’t need to go anywhere.
Lack of bothersome consultants. Almost every person has had at least one encounter with a bothersome consultant in physical stores. In the online shop, you will get assistance only if you need it. That is another reason why Internet shops usually prevail.
However, physical stores still exist. Moreover, new technologies have the potential to give them a second wind. Let’s check out what smart stores exist today and how they change the customer experience:
Amazon Go is the first store where there are no human workers at all. It offers customers all the latest digital technologies along with a wide range of products. If you want to visit it, install the Amazon Go app and then link it to your Amazon account. If you chose something inside, put this item right in your bag, not in the basket. How does it work? Everything is simple. Everything you put in your bag is added to your virtual cart. If you decided not to buy it, this item will be removed from your cart. When you leave the shop, payment is performed automatically via your Amazon account, and you get the receipt.
Jack & Jones and Vero Moda
In China, fashion retailers Jack & Jones and Vero Moda have opened their smart store using facial recognition. To start purchasing, customers need to register using facial recognition, and then they connect to the WeChat Pay system. If they bought something, the facial recognition system scans their faces, and payment is authorized. Besides that, mirrors in the fitting room may also scan faces and recommend them to buy other items considering their shopping history.
This European store owner also wants to gain the lead. A large chain of supermarkets in the Netherlands known as Albert Hejin also has integrated new digital technologies to improve the customer’ experience. Customers may scan items they want to buy using their phones, and then their bank accounts are debited for the spent amount. If they changed their minds and want to buy something else, they need to change it tapping on a shelf tag.
Advanced retail technologies that enhance your store
If you also plan to compete with such smart retail solutions and create your smart store, you need to make sure that your store uses all the innovative technologies. We will list them for you:
Smart shelves. These shelves use RFID tags and RFID scanners. They scan the number of products, and if an item is left, shelves send a signal. It can also be convenient if the product fell on the floor since some products like meat or ice cream should be stored under specific conditions. On the whole, smart shelves make it possible to control the number of items more efficiently and automate your process.
Beacons. Small beacons are devices that can connect customer smartphones if they are somewhere near and then send notifications about discounts, offers, and so on. It helps increase customer loyalty, attracts more of them to your store, and encourages them to buy something.
Mobile apps. Of course, mobile apps are essential as well. Apps allow customers to explore your product range and more. Besides, all customers have more trust for the store if it has a website or mobile app. But don’t forget that retail automation software may also be required to automate the retail process.
As you can see, physical stores may be able to compete with online shops once again. Just keep up with all the tips about smart and innovative technologies, and you’ll be that much more likely to succeed!