Nowadays, customers are empowered with information from online sources about the product they want to buy before coming to the store. Even though customers appreciate the wider selection and the amount of information they can get online about the products they wish to purchase, they still need the in-store experience; they still need to touch, see and try the product in ways they can’t do online.
As the customer in-store experience has completely changed, brands are creating a shopping experience where online and offline intersect through digital transformation. Digital Transformation has been defined by Altimeter’s group in their 2014 report as being “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle”.
Digital transformation of retail experience responds to customer’s expectations. Here are some examples:
- Customers do not want to wait in a queue: customers can use digital carts that scan the products. This way, they can save time and inconvenience of waiting in lines.
- Customers want to see information about the products around them in a store: digital interactive touch points give to the customers further information and details about the product in real time allowing them to make more informed decisions. For example, retailers can use mobile apps on a tablet to show interactive content to the customers.
- Customers want to redeem rewards points from mobile apps: mobile applications can be used to redeem rewards, compare products but also to find stores and check the availability of products. For example, Macy’s send promotions and deals alerts in-store via their mobile application.
- Customers want to see most frequently pinned products: the use of social media both in store and on mobile offer to the customer to browse reviews on the products they would like to purchase. It can also be really helpful for companies. For example, Nordstrom is using Pinterest and has more than 4.5 million hits on Pinterest page daily which helped them with the inventory management by knowing which product potential customer wish to buy the most.
In today’s digitized world it seems obvious that companies that are not focusing on mobile apps and big data analytics are missing a lot of customer opportunities as well as companies that are not focusing on social media. Therefore, the biggest challenge for retailers is to develop this connected retail experience by combining e-commerce and in-store shopping.
However, the digital transformation of the retail experience is not just about bringing the advantages of the online shopping experience such as speed and easy-to-use platform. The real goal is to make the in store shopping experience more positive to the customers by simplifying and reducing the scope of their search. This way, brands and stores will be more intuitive and more attractive.
Forbes – Digital Transformation by Any Other Name? – Jason Bloomberg – Jul, 31 2014
Building a better shopping experience – Nurun Agency