Helping retailers compete with e-commerce

The battle for customer engagement is on. Retailers are increasingly relying on digital touchpoints like iPad kiosks to merge the digital and physical elements of their brand together. Whilst it’s helping brick-and-mortar retailers connect with customers and provide better shopping experiences, e-commerce retail and shifts in customer behaviour are giving retailers a run for their money.

According to a report from Bronto Software, consumers are willing to make purchases from the same devices they use to shop either at home or in-store. Further, shopping has increased substantially across every device, including wearable technologies like the Apple Watch.

Susan Wall, vice president of marketing at Bronto Software, “it’s now imperative for brands to make the browsing and purchasing experience seamless and frictionless regardless of the device the consumer chooses.”

Here are three effective in-store strategies retailers are leveraging to engage customers and provide them with a better shopping experience.

Digital Signage

There are few more dynamic ways to contextualise and bring products to life than with interactive, visual displays. Fashion retailers can use digital signage to inspire customers and provide personalised experiences, fused with targeted ads and offers that drive sales. This can also be a new channel to test and push new content or products across store locations to gauge user interest and feedback.

Large interactive displays and touch screens can be effective and present an questioned ‘wow’ factor to visual merchandising, but they take up a lot of real estate. Smaller more relevant digital signage can drive footfall and attract more engaged customers just as effectively.

These digital signage displays, typically via a wall mounted tablet enclosure, lend themselves to more intimate interactions for both the customer and the retailer.

Beyond just look books or product information, retailers can enhance the shopping experience, by offering ‘Buy Now’ buttons on screen that give customers an opportunity to purchase the merchandise on display next to them for instant pick-up or home delivery.

Endless Aisle

Retailers spend a lot of time and money spent making their stores as attractive and inviting as possible for customers – retailers want to sell products, create and nurture relationships with their customers. When customers do shop, if a retailer doesn’t have the right size or color, there’s the inherent risk of leaving them with a bad – and potentially lasting – impression.

One innovative way retailers like La Maison Simons avoid this nightmare scenario is to offer ‘endless aisle’ shopping experiences. Endless aisle lets retailers sell merchandise that’s not available in-store but rather, on their online store. Customers can shop a retailer’s entire product range through self-service kiosks located anywhere in-store.

These touch points take a fraction of the space it would require to store the same amount of stock and inventory, which significantly lowers overhead costs for a business. More importantly, it prevents customers from shopping at a competitor or going to an e-commerce retailer to find what they’re looking for.

Click and Collect

Brick and mortar retail might not want to hear this, but a lot of consumers enjoy the ease and convenience of online or mobile shopping. Here’s the good news, it doesn’t mean customers aren’t willing to visitor your store.

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends Study, during the most recent holiday shopping season, almost one-third of shoppers purchased goods online and picked them up later at a nearby store location.

Click and collect blends the convenience of online shopping with the traditional, in-store customer service experience. When customers are ready to retrieve their order, they use designated kiosks (typically an iPad or tablet enclosure) to check-in and pick-up in-store, skipping long customer service and checkout lines.

Often, retailers will send notifications when an order is ready for pick-up, while also using this as an opportunity to push ads or personalised offers to create up-sell opportunities. The ICSC reported 69 percent of shoppers who used click and collect also purchased additional items while picking up in-store.

Interested in testing new concepts in your own retail store? Let’s talk! Drop us a line and we’ll give you a call.