Everyday more and more retail chains are struggling to keep up with the competition from e-commerce sites. With most percent people owning smartphones and tablets, the shift towards mobile and online purchasing will only increase. With e-commerce options readily and easily available, buyers are choosing where they complete purchases – and if retailers don’t create satisfactory customer experience, including in-store e-commerce options, shoppers will take their wallets elsewhere.
How to do it right?
National retailers are starting to converge online and in-store selling by introducing self-service kiosks in select stores throughout South Africa – serving as a complement to the store associates and traditional checkout area, the kiosks are positioned throughout the store or near the service desk. This gives shoppers the choice of self-service by providing multiple touchpoints throughout the store where they can shop both the store’s physical and online product offering, make a secure purchase and ship their order directly to any address.
Luxury and smaller boutique retailers are also finding ways to benefit from using interactive technologies in-store. To maximize the availability of their inventory beyond what is in their shop, the sales associates use the screens for personalized assisted selling, where they can comfortably show shoppers the full line of jewelry and demonstrate how different pieces, such as their signature keepsake lockets, can be customized.
Not a one-size-fits-all approach
These two examples shows that retailers of all sizes can benefit from using interactive technologies in-store. But unfortunately it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and what type of technology a store should incorporate depends on the type of store, its product offerings and what its customers are looking for in a shopping experience.
For the retailers looking to create a multi-channel shopping environment, self-service kiosks allow shoppers to choose an online option while they’re already in your store. This can help prevent a loss of sale if a location is out of stock of an item, while still giving the store credit for that particular sale. Offering ship to store, home or office options also continues to converge online and in-store channels while giving customers more choice on how they shop a brand.
But not all retailers necessarily need a kiosk installment. They can be a significant cost investment, and smaller retailers and boutiques can equally benefit from using digital signage with point of sale capabilities. These touchscreens can range from a tablet size up to 70+ inches depending on the needs of the retailer. By doubling as both signage – that broadcasts beautiful, interactive imagery or dynamic pricing/promotions – and a place to deploy a website, retailers get more bang for their buck while still giving their shoppers the in-store technology options they crave.
Considerations for incorporating in-store technology
It can be quite daunting to choose from the wide range of digital signage and kiosk options available. Retailers researching how to incorporate in these technologies should drill deep down into what they’re looking to get out of it, and make smart choices before making an investment. Some questions to consider:
- How much space do I have to display my inventory?
- Would it benefit customers to be able to make online purchases in store?
- Is my website well-designed and mobile responsive to enhance the customer’s in-store experience?
- What size digital signage and screens will best display my website or product offerings?
- Where else can I incorporate point of sale capabilities?
- Would my sales managers and consultants benefit from being able to carry, or easily move, my digital signage?
These points serves as a good starting point to think strategically about how to stand out from your competitors and impress your customers.