Change is permanent, and yes, retail is changing every day every moment. It is just not shopping any more. Today, I would like to elaborate on the changing nature of the traditional retail.
Regardless of instant purchasing, automated purchasing and subscription based purchasing, three critical issues, namely smart use of omnichannel, customer experience and 360 degree customer movement, need to be dealt by every retailer today. The issues individually may sound simple, but, when it comes to fixing them, it becomes a big goal of assuring a seamless complete sales journey. Henceforth, it is recommended to go for the end-to-end customer journey, rather than assigning individual weights to the various buying channels, like mobile, in-store, online, offline, etc. And here, the customer journey starts for you.
Exploring the Customer Journey:
- Nurture the feeling of need: Most buyers feel the need of buying an item when they see it, be it in a showroom, or on an advertisement hoarding on road, or just in a magazine.
- Dig down for more info: Shoppers do research online before buying. They consider every other alternative possible for an item prior to confirming one.
- Finalize decision for confirming order: Customers, nowadays, prefer confirming order on a simple mouse click, avoiding the hustle and bustle of travel.
- Jump into store: The purchasers jump into the store at a reserved time expecting smooth product delivery.
- Approach inside the store: Common expectation of all buyers is to get received by a dedicated personal assistant from the entry point. It’s time to realize that interaction is much more important than transaction.
- Feel the product through staff interaction: The staff builds trust on the brand to ensure the customer is confident about the product.
- Check for add-ons: If a shopper has ordered trouser online, he/she prefers checking out shirts/kurtas as an add-on. Retailers need to en-cash the parameter instant ownership in this case.
- Pay per product: The buyer finally pays for the products that he bought both in-store and online, exploiting mobile payment in Wifi enabled store.
- Receive products at doorstep: Shoppers expect quick home delivery as a value added service.
- Re-nurture the need: Need continues and so is the retail cycle.
Are you lost in thinking how to streamline the customer journey? No need to worry. Technologies are always there to help you out, rather no journey is smooth without technology. So, to ensure a seamless journey for your customers, go ahead with the upcoming techs.
Top Upcoming Retail Technologies:
- Virtual Mannequins: Enable customers in customizing item on a mannequin anytime anywhere before buying, just by a tender touch on their smartphone.
- Mobile Mirrors: Assist buyers in featuring a 360 degree look of theirs in their new clothing leveraging a time-delayed display. Some devices have in-built memory where those looks can be saved for later view, thereby merging the digital with physical.
- Customized Holograms: Make your customer’s shopping experience easy and interesting using 3D holograms.
- RFID Tags: Ensure goods security both from theft as well as damage using cheap RFID enabled tags.
- Beacons: Send push notifications on discounts and offers, rather promote Just-in-Time (JIT) through Bluetooth enabled beacons, at the very moment customer enters the store, deciding on contextual location.
- Order Hubs: Empower customers with gadgets to browse product catalog with details of individual products.
- Augmented Reality Systems: Enable customers to view over visualize the after effect of using certain products (say cosmetics).
- Digital Signage: Engage shoppers with the right displays showing the right messages at the right positions of your store.
- Trial Room Assistant: Employ robots to fetch clothes that your customer needs to try in trial room analyzing try list update in customer’s smartphone.
- Smart Shelves: Continuously maps inventory balance between that on shelves and that in back room.
- Robotic Sales Assistant: Not only managing warehouses, now robots are all set to help customers by speaking in their own local languages.
The Future of Retail:
As I said that retail is changing, I would like to highlight that minimalism is at its high tide, counterbalancing technology growth. No more huge shopping space of 2000 sq ft is required, a limited connected space of 400 sq ft is more than enough for both online retailers and in-store brands. Surround yourself with less things but the things connected with IoT and social commerce that only make you happy. On the contrary, virtualization of store should not be a cover story for boring customer experience, rather it should be a touchstone for streamlined CX centering on immediacy and convenience.
The final pillar of tomorrow’s store will be data, I mean, customer data. Consumers today are ready to share their private data, provided they get relevant offers based on them. Retailers need to utilize these data to gain deep meaningful insights from them, which in turn help them take a step forward towards personalized retail.
5 Steps to Conquer Future Retail:
Finally, it’s not too early to chalk out your retail road-map.
- Work on your agility in new technology adoption
- Redefine segmentation and filtering algorithms (predictive analytics) on hybrid purchasing behaviors
- Realize the difference between customization and personalization
- Strategize and do things that others don’t
- Explore the customer journey
- Potentiate brand awareness
And reign the retail sector reining the power of your winning strategy.
To sum up, I will say that the retail industry is a force that no investor can afford to ignore. And shopping is no longer a discrete activity, rather it is an ambient one. So, chuckle up your shoelaces and buckle up your belts to offer the best of the best service in detailed retail for your customer.