The retail sector has never experienced the unprecedented levels of change forced upon the industry over the past 18 months. Global events have led to retailers adopting new or existing technology to aid innovative routes to market – ensuring business continuity and, in many cases, survival.
Retailers have also witnessed a remarkable increase in online activity, which continues to accelerate. However, some digital-first businesses are moving in the opposite direction and expanding operations by setting up physical stores. The likes of Amazon are opening stores blending online and offline characteristics with the promise of a more frictionless experience. Its unique approach allows customers to place an item in their shopping bag, and once they exit the store, Amazon charges their account accordingly. In contrast, leading UK supermarkets such as M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco each require the customer to scan every item purchased at a self-serve checkout or on their smartphone.
But Amazon adapting its business model to include bricks and mortar will not be plain sailing as 64% of consumers still prefer to shop with brands that have both an online and offline presence, according to The Future Shopper Report published by Wunderman Thompson.
Even better than the real thing
Where does in-store technology fit into this new world of retail? In the first instance, the payback adopting in-store technology should be improving the overall retail experience as customers today demand the same convenient experience they get shopping online when they are in the store. Introducing in-store technology is also a game-changer for Store Associates, giving them access to new enhanced levels of data to strengthen their customer knowledge and improve omnichannel operations.
These immediate goals and much more can be easily achieved with Clienteling and Assisted Selling software such as KIT, from making in-store appointments with Store Associates (who can reserve items to view or try on) through to personal video calls to review products before the in-store visit.
KIT Clienteling software collates customer likes and dislikes, creating the perfect foundation to understand their needs to help retailers determine what they want when they arrive at the store.
By using KIT, retailers can reach out to customers using the channel that best suits their needs, be it an SMS or a WhatsApp message — informing them of the latest need to know product information or to arrange an in-store visit. Technology can give the in-store experience, remotely, or the digital experience, in the store so that consumers remain able to shop as they wish.