Retailers face tougher competition than ever before, and it’s no longer just from the store down the street. Online retailers are offering more extensive selections and lower prices, and with free shipping in some cases. Online businesses have also mastered the interactive shopping experience and can collect real-time analytics and shopper data to further improve the experience. Due to this trend, brick and mortar stores are struggling to keep up and are dealing with shrinking profit margins and higher employee costs. Through interactive retail technology, however, retailers can enhance the in-store experience for customers and improve sales.
Retail shoppers can bring high expectations into the store with them as they’re accustomed to immersive media experiences and access to information and tools to augment their shopping. Physical retail stores still have an advantage over online retailers that they have yet to take advantage of as modern shoppers are looking for more than just a product – they’re searching for an experience.
If your store can offer that experience, customers will stay longer, buy more, and come back again. Interactive retail technology is the missing piece needed by stores to increase sales growth and reduce costs. Through the latest innovations, you can work to exceed the expectations of the customer, get them engaged, and keep them in the store longer.
WHAT IS INTERACTIVE RETAIL TECHNOLOGY?
Interactive retail technology is the use of innovative digital platforms to create higher levels of customer engagement. The possibilities are endless, but typical solutions involve small and large form factor screens that are integrated into the shopper experience. These screens provide the platform and creative implementation brings the brand experience to life.
THE APPLICATIONS OF INTERACTIVE RETAIL TECHNOLOGY
The applications for using interactive technology are only limited by your creativity. Fortunately, there are firms like Promotion Technology Group that specialize in creating, installing, and optimizing systems for maximum impact. You don’t need to understand exactly how the technology works – just be open to the possibilities it can create for a store.
From screens on shelf ledges and endcaps to large touchscreen interactive merchandising electronics, interactive retail technology adds another dimension to the shopping experience. Even better, this technology can increase sales and productivity while reducing labor costs. And, once available only to the largest retailers and brands, it’s now affordable for chains and retail shops of all sizes.
Interactive screens can be used for something as simple as scrolling images or video, to acting as a virtual sales associate helping customers learn about products and options. These can even go as far as allowing shoppers to customize a product, view it in virtual environments, as well as make a purchase and have it shipped directly to their home. In many ways, interactive screens can incorporate the best of eCommerce while adding the branded experience of a physical location.
PROVIDING ENTERTAINMENT, MOVEMENT AND MOTION
For shoppers accustomed to a digital shopping experience, a retail store may seem boring. It doesn’t have to be this way! Online retailers have learned how to use video, rotating images, and dynamic content to engage shoppers, keeping them on their site longer and boosting sales. Thanks to interactive retail technology, these features can now be a part of the in-store shopping experience.
As a store owner, you likely have products on shelves and static signage that promotes sales and product features. What if the signage is enhanced with color and movement? Video displays on shelves could show customers more information on the products in front of them, and even more options than those available in the store. Larger screens on endcaps could grab attention and entertain with content that leads the shopper to investigate an offering they hadn’t yet considered.
With interactive retail technology, a store can move from being simply aisles of products to becoming an exciting interactive experience without the need for an expensive renovation. Given the dynamic nature of digital, content on these displays can be changed as often as you want for a fresh shopping experience.
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SLOWING DOWN THE SHOPPER
Ever grabbed a coffee from Starbucks while inside a Barnes & Noble, or perhaps another store that partners with the coffee giant? The “slow-shopping theory” is behind this, and the theory is based on the idea that shoppers are not just searching for a product but also an experience. In an ideal scenario, using techniques to keep shoppers in the store longer will increase consumer spending. Chances are you’re more likely to browse a store longer with a cup of coffee, and maybe even more leisurely. Interactive retail technology invites customers to use kiosks to learn and engage with products rather than simply looking at them.
INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND DECREASED LABOR COSTS
Fortunately for store owners, the cost of technology is decreasing while minimum wages continue to climb, effectively balancing overall costs. But you want to reduce costs. Many stores are already using digital systems for point of sale and inventory management but aren’t taking advantage of interactive retail technology and the cost savings that come with it.
Chances are you know someone that’s shy or has anxiety around people. Liquor store customers, for example, are eight percent more likely to buy something they can’t pronounce when they don’t have to talk to someone. It’s not uncommon that a consumer is more comfortable interacting with technology than with a sales clerk – rather than taking it personally, take it as an opportunity to make people comfortable.
Consumers can purchase nearly anything online and are becoming accustomed to getting information from chatbots and the like. Finding and retaining employees that are both knowledgeable and gifted with customer service skills is a challenge. Interacting with customers also takes your staff away from other operations of the store, which then requires more personnel per shift. Interactive retail technology, like interactive kiosks, can track information on every product and work with customers while store personnel increase their productivity in other duties.
REAL-TIME ANALYTICS AND SHOPPING BEHAVIOR
One advantage of eCommerce that brick and mortar stores have not been able to replicate is the collection of real-time analytics and shopping behavior. Fortunately, interactive retail technology brings this type of data to the physical retail store.
As customers engage, data is collected in real time, which can then be analyzed by marketing departments, product developers, and purchasing agents. Use this valuable data for strategizing future promotions and customer relations. Follow up on purchases and offer incentives to get shoppers back into the store.
FIND A TRUSTED PARTNER
Interactive retail technology should be exciting – not overwhelming. Therefore, you need an experienced partner to guide you through the process. From brainstorming possibilities, selecting and customizing the right equipment, completing a professional installation, training staff, and providing maintenance and upgrades, PTG has the expertise to get you up and running.
We partner with industry leaders in hardware and software solutions and can help you find the best digital solution to fit your needs. Whether you’re looking to add small form factor screens or considering a complete interactive makeover, we’re ready to help bring your store into the digital era. To leverage the full potential of interactive digital signage and develop an understanding of what it is, how it works, and all that it has to offer, visit our comprehensive interactives info.