Create a Purchase, Not browse, In-Store Shopping Environment
During the holiday season, when it comes to in-store shopping, opinions are often mixed. PwC's “Retailers and Interrupted Times” survey found that while 68% of respondents were interested in browsing products in the store before purchasing online, 73% of respondents said they browsed the Internet and purchased products in the store. Consumers can't decide which channel to buy, why should retailers not help them make decisions? The following outlines the three steps retailers should consider creating a purchase rather than browsing the in-store environment.
Step 1: Invest in the digital core
The first step in creating an environment that appeals to shoppers is to invest in a digital core – an end-to-end IT infrastructure that helps brands create unique experiences across channels. The integrated system removes silos and provides retailers with real-time visibility. Brands can manage wholesale, retail and manufacturing processes in one place, easily tracking inventory and product locations. Even in each set of processes, the digital core eliminates departmental digital silos. Brands can also coordinate and deploy resources in a supply chain journey to increase efficiency while cultivating meaningful data. During the holidays, store employees can easily maintain inventory and be ready to find specific items of interest online or in the store.
The digital core also integrates data from each consumer touch point into sales, customer service, business, and more into a unified system. By connecting these isolated departments, brands can gain insight from every step of the consumer journey to prevent a disconnected experience and provide personalized messaging. When consumers enter the store, the brand will have the correct data and background for each shopper to help them in the best possible way.
Step 2: Digital Training Staff
The success of the holiday season depends on customer service, and the brand needs the latest training practices. In today's omnichannel environment, retail employees should be connected to online resources to easily guide consumers through the purchase journey. By training employees to use the mobile app to perform core sales and customer service functions in the store, employees can answer any questions at any time. They can find items across channels, find consumer purchase history, recommend items based on out-of-stock items, and more.
Related story: One shopping season
The brand that successfully uses advanced technology to help store employees guide buyers is the cosmetics company ULTA. ULTA's digital core ensures that consumers and employees have access to data and can use the same data set at any time. ULTA has implemented a number of in-store mobile solutions that reduce back-office work, allowing employees to spend more time helping consumers, providing advice and deepening relationships. ULTA employees have real-time inventory visibility that allows them to instantly check if the product is in the store, near a store or when new stock arrives.
Step 3: Create an experience
While the future of the retail industry may look like in-store assistants and smart shelves, in order to make the shopping experience more attractive, this holiday season brand must create a personal experience. Footwear brand Aldo enhances the consumer experience by creating a true omnichannel environment every time shoppers enter the store. Using the Internet of Things and mobile technology, Aldo created an interactive, integrated store touchpoint that links to mobile applications. This new consumer experience includes product wish lists, high-resolution product images and descriptions, and social media sharing. By providing an adaptive consumer experience, Aldo provides shoppers with a high level of engagement, resulting in a 20% year-on-year increase in sales.
Consumers continue to show that they tend to shop through a variety of channels, including in-store, online, click and collect. By investing in a technology that makes each experience unique, shoppers are more willing to buy once they walk into your store.