In-store is the new online. Smart retailers today — on a mission to create channel-agnostic shopping experiences — are making stores as digitally-wired as websites. Digital integration, when done right, gives your shoppers and store personnel intuitive connections to one of your company’s richest assets – DATA. Combine this with helpful associates and an engaging shopping atmosphere — well, the in-store experience is kicking butt again.
Way back when (earlier in the century), retailers were fearful of “showrooming” and felt compelled to explore in-store digital as a weapon in the war against huge, online marketplaces. But as their own e-commerce sophistication grew, they began to see the beacon of omnichannel shining as a bright new opportunity for customer engagement, loyalty, and sales. And so, while it’s a bit ironic that traditional operators took their marching orders by way of pressures from Amazon, hey, it’s all good — because shoppers win when retailers reach beyond price and availability to generate store traffic. Today’s consumers want all shopping experiences to be as seamless as clicking from web page to web page.
SAP’s latest (and highly awesome) whitepaper, “Retail in a Digital World,” lays out three ways in which this digital revolution is inspiring retailers to “reimagine” their businesses. While the first two pillars — reimagining business models and retail processes — are fairly significant, they both work in service to the third area: heightened shopper engagement. The paper breaks out a number of ways digital is reshaping the shopping experience — from giving customers the ability to tailor their assortments, pricing, promotions and fulfillment options into a “segment of one,” to the continuous e-learning opportunities now afforded store associates by way of mobile devices. As retailers evolve their digital business models to meet this heightened shopping experience, process efficiencies across merchandising, supply chain, and point of engagement/purchase will be the competitive differentiator. This approach, when orchestrated properly, leads to greater simplicity across the retail organization and overall shopping experience.
Think of the new digital store this way: Just as an e-commerce web page connects customers to your digital assets — inventory data, personal browsing and purchasing history, etc. — new digitally-powered stores have become customer interfaces as well. (To be accurate, stores have always been interfaces, it’s just that they’re now plugged in to your vast repository of digital assets.)
“There’s one paradigm in particular that retailer’s will benefit from,” wrote digital innovation strategist Ken Lonyai in a recent RetailWire.com discussion. “It’s foundational to what UX designers seek to accomplish. It’s reducing the number of clicks. In other words, if a website checkout process can reduce the number of clicks from four to two, consumers will notice and be appreciative. It’s not hype. Amazon patented ‘one-click checkout’ in 1999.” In-store is the new online as retailers work to digitally integrate their shopping experiences and create a physical incarnation of the UX design experience that simplifies, engages, and generates value across channels and interactions.
We concur — it’s not hype. And to see how it works for real, come see us at NRF. In the meantime, read our new paper … and prepare yourself to REIMAGINE.
WHITEPAPER: Retail in a Digital World – How to Survive and Thrive in a world where technology is rewriting the rules of retail (click to download)
Interested in learning about how SAP Retail is powering the digital in-store experience revolution? Request a meeting and visit us during NRF 2016.