Shopping has changed a lot in a relatively short period of time. Whether you’re looking for a fashionable new outfit, buying a refrigerator, trying to track down a rare book, or just picking up your groceries, the way that you go about looking for what you want and purchasing it is different now than even in the early days of the World Wide Web – let alone back in the pre-internet era.The renaissance in online and mobile shopping is, of course, the most notable change to sweep the retail world. But right alongside it is interactive technology – the world of cutting-edge tech that has begun to change how customers’ in-store experiences tie into their online experiences, what tools they use in the course of a shopping trip, what customers expect when they’re browsing in the aisles – and what will get them into the store in the first place.
The changes are happening all around you, and it’s critical to be on top of them to understand what customers expect from retailers and brands, and how you can meet those expectations. So here are just a few examples of how interactive technology is changing the retail world, to get you thinking about making use of the new world of interactive technology on that next customer-facing campaign.
Streamlining the Shopping Experience
The inconvenience of having to stand in line is one of the key factors that drives customers away from brick-and-mortar retail outlets and to their laptops or tablets. But new in-store interactive tech is beginning to appear on the scene that’s helping retailers streamline the shopping journey and get rid of that all-too-familiar bottleneck.
For instance, touch screen ordering kiosks are beginning to appear in fast-food restaurants, and are allowing for a smoother ordering process and a broader range of choices for customers. This could allow the once-dwindling fast-food restaurants to begin to compete with the fast-casual chains that have eclipsed them in popularity in recent years.
But it’s not just the fact that touch screens in such environments are making old tasks like ordering in-store easier and faster – they’re also giving customers something new.
Adding New Functionality (and Shrinking Locations)
It’s not always convenient for retailers to keep a huge number of items in stock, especially when we’re talking about big-ticket purchases that people don’t buy very frequently, like appliances. But when a shopper is looking for such an item, they’re looking at making a big investment – they want a demonstration.
Interactive touch screens have begun to allow for on-site demos without requiring actual in-store product. Using interactive video walls in some appliance and hardware stores, customers can explore the features of a given item by rotating an on-screen version of it around with their hands. They can even get extended information about it that wouldn’t be immediately available with the physical product. And as this model proves itself as a satisfying and reliable way for a customer to demo a product, it could likely continue to move into other areas of retail.
With the decreased need for back-stock comes a different kind of shopping concept altogether. Some retailers that sell big, heavy products are delving into small urban store concepts with touch screens that replace the need for a lot of in-store stock. Such a concept is less of an investment in real estate and more attractive to the urban shopper. But it’s not just the functionality of the touch screen that is bringing customers into these stores …
Using In-Store Interactivity as the 'Wow!' Factor
Interactive technology, when implemented correctly, can streamline shopping and provide functionality that retailers couldn’t have dreamed of a decade ago. But it also serves another purpose that’s just as important – it looks cool.
Interactive technology has a visually-stimulating, futuristic look and feel that makes customers want to try it out. It can be enough to make a customer choose one store over another – whether that customer is being dragged in by their kids who want to play with the touch screen, or is, like most adults, a big kid at heart themselves.
So when you’re brainstorming about how to give your clients something new – new functions, new features, and new fun – think interactivity.
Author Bio | Casey Dubbs | Horizon Display
Casey Dubbs, Marketing Manager for Horizon Display. Casey is a classic over-achiever who likes to get the job done right and can’t stand when things are left unfinished or with unmet potential. She is passionate about implementing others’ vision into reality. When she is not obsessing over marketing, she can be found in her garage working on her latest woodworking project. #buildlikeagirl