A shopper crosses the threshold into your retail store, takes out their phone or picks up your store tablet, pulls up your onsite inventory, and voila! She has an expedited mobile shopping experience. Instead of browsing without a clue until stumbling upon something interesting, that shopper has streamlined the process of going from point A – finding out what the store has to offer – to point B – merging her preference with what’s readily available or, just as important, with what the store can quickly order and deliver.
If you had a dollar for every time you heard the cliché that life’s all about the journey, not the destination, you could retire today, right? Maybe that’s true about life, but it’s only half true about contemporary retailing. Retail success requires a synergy between the trip and its end point. Technology builds and strengthens that synergy by simplifying the journey and giving it value.
Most shoppers want quick, convenient ways to get their shopping done; even those who enjoy the more leisurely shopping journey want a streamline experience. When you employ in-store technology to learn about your customers, personalize their experiences, and connect with them in a meaningful way, you give them just that. You save them time tracking down what they want to buy, making them more likely to spend in your shop, and you ensure a memorable experience to boot. In today’s evolving retail atmosphere, time – taking less of it to go from perusal to purchase – is money.
Technology really accelerates the start-to-finish shopping trip by helping you get to that finish even before your customer does. Think of a digital data engine that monitors and predicts shopper behaviors. It’s an invaluable time-saver for the retailer and the shopper because it puts relevant content and sales incentives in front of the shopper in seconds. Apps that open up to an interactive map of the store, like Target introduced before the 2014 holiday season, also compresses shopping time. And what if you could let sales associates know that you’re en route to their store, so they can expect and plan for you? Neiman-Marcus has an app for that, where shoppers can mark products as favorites, have them placed in a dressing room before they arrive, and even make appointments with the store associates.
There’s one more time dimension that technology can shrink for brick-and-mortar shoppers: the time it takes to forge a meaningful connection with a customer. Technology is opening up new ways for retailers to position and present themselves by giving shoppers more right-away touchpoints and viewpoints, and hence, more opportunities to fall in love with their brand. Once you’ve captured their hearts and sped up their journey to the objects of their affection, you’ve made the sale – a lot sooner rather than later, thanks to the support of technology.