brick and mortar stores
Explore the future of Omni-Channel Retail.
Explore the future of Omni-Channel Retail.
How can traditional industries adapt to the rapid development of new technologies and how will retailers manage to keep up with emerging consumer trends in order to evolve the in-store shopping experience and make their business thrive?
There is only one way. Tomorrow’s winners will be those who are able to redefine their stores both online and offline in a manner that engages customers, builds loyalty and generates brand value. Despite the marketing hype, these are more than just buzzwords. When it comes to building successful
customer engagement strategies, implementing expensive campaigns with short-term effects is not enough. An integrated marketing plan is needed in order to provide customers with a seamless and personalized experience across all sales channels.
Companies should connect and influence shopper behavior at every step of the consumer decision journey, from online to mobile and all the way through to the physical environment.
Sure, the digital world infiltrates the four walls of traditional stores where shoppers are armed with smartphones and an entirely new set of expectations. However, retailers have nowadays an enormous opportunity to leverage the distinct benefits of in-person shopping. Physical stores can still remain relevant in the market if they continue to provide the visual navigation and tactile experience that will be impossible to replicate online.
By marrying offline strengths with digital advantages, the creation of in-store interactive experiences can guarantee the development of a successful omni-channel strategy
Imagine a retail business that maintains both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores, allowing customers to either browse products online or indulge in an in-store shopping excursion. Customers move seamlessly among all retail environments, real and virtual, as if they were one. See how.
Even if they choose the latter of the two options above, customers can still return home afterwards or go back to their office and place their order online via their PC, mobile phone or tablet, asking for the order to be delivered at home.
While consumers looking for faster ways of shopping, retailers adopt a digital first approach towards them. Digital customer experience can sometimes be more personalized and engaging, that’s why customers usually prefer to research and purchase products online, regardless of location. But at the same time, picking the order up from the nearest store/ pick up point could be a convenient solution for someone in a hurry.
Without leaving the comfort of their homes, customers can browse the products they want to buy by exploring the website, e-shop and social media pages of the brand, but then they visit the physical store in order to try them on. They could finally place the order later on through the company’s Loyalty mobile application, using a discount coupon they got earlier at the store.
What happens if the product does not meet the customer’s expectations? Let’s assume that they ordered online a pair of shoes that does not fit them. In that case, they can visit the store to return the shoes and buy a new pair. If it happens to be more expensive than the previous one, they can redeem some points from their digital loyalty card, using their smartphone while being in store.
Nurturing a symbiotic relationship between digital and physical channels will help retailers maintain their competitive edge and gain a valuable insight into the customer journey. Technology, personalization and data integration across all channels should be used as tools to deliver an enhanced experience, a place where consumers can trial, research, compare, review, order for home delivery or buy in-store.
Being able to shop anywhere and receive goods in the most convenient way possible is what makes an omni-channel strategy stand out. Connected customer accounts, order history and behavioral information provide many added benefits, such as more effective and targeted content, advertising, offers, notifications and the ability to accurately predict customer lifetime value.
So, what exactly happened at
On the occasion of ATCOM Next, the annual event that brought together Atcom’s clients and partners, we developed an omni-channel ecosystem to urge visitors connect the dots throughout the customer journey. At this imaginary retail store that we developed, we set up a Microsoft Dynamics CRM system and we registered our guests’ profiles to track and unify their behavior at the ATCOM Next minisite, mobile application and ‘in-store’ during the event. The data we collected allowed us to accurately identify every user and device in real-time, as they were interacting with the two tech installations that we built. In other words, we managed taking an innovative approach to a store’s function and format so as to showcase these exciting retail opportunities.
To demonstrate this innovative use of technology, we created a shoe store window display that interacts with passers-by, using input from a Microsoft Kinect sensor that detects movement. Designed to be activated when someone walks by, it features a model on a video wall walking by your side, like following your steps! Furthermore, the model is ‘wearing’ the shoes that are placed in front of you.
Kinect for Windows can be used in innovative and creative ways to address challenges across a wide variety of industries, allowing users to interact naturally with computing technology. For example, in retail environments, Kinect experiences enable customers to interact with products more naturally before they purchase, providing retailers with a deeper engagement with their customers.
For the exhibition’s purposes, Beacons (Low Energy Bluetooth Technology) were placed on the display in order to identify every guest that had downloaded the ATCOM Next application on their phone and gain access to their profile.
Now imagine a real business taking advantage of this interactive retail installation, creative implementations and use of connected motion-tracking technologies. Having been identified, the shoppers would also be able to watch the model wearing the shoes that they had earlier added to their basket or the ones that they have added to their saved-for-later items list at the e-shop.
Not too impressed? What if the customer could choose from their mobile phone which products they wish to be showcased at the interactive window display in real time?
The transformation of a store into a showroom, with the use of a loyalty mobile app and data directly transmitted from the CRM system leads to consumer empowerment and guarantees an ultimate omni-channel experience.
Who would have thought that an interactive shelf could change the way customers shop?
When you see a product on a shelf, you can imagine how it might be used or how it might be worn, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. As digital technology is making frequent appearances in offline retail environments, such installations tend to be fun while at the same time drawing in shoppers through novelty of experience.
Projection mapping is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for any kind of content. Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. These objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings, small indoor objects or theatrical stages.
This interactive shelf aims to encourage visitors to explore the item placed on it in detail. The product display works as a surface touchscreen, providing informative and entertaining multimedia content. Customers get the chance to learn more details on the product they touch or lift from the counter such as available sizes and colors, videos, photos, specifications etc.
Again, with the use of the brand’s mobile app, a CRM platform and ERP integration we are able to deliver personalized content to customers based on the products they browsed online, their order history, or even the items they are checking out from their smartphones while actually in store.
It’s not just the interaction between humans and objects that engages customers. Making them feel that they are being treated as unique and valuable individuals is a strategy that will boost brand value and create lifetime customers.
ATCOM Next attendees had the chance to experience first-hand the innovative technologies that can superimpose virtual information on real-world experiences. They interacted with material space in unprecedented ways, exploring the enhanced features and capabilities that the event had to offer. Watching visitors embracing technology as a game changer and getting familiar with the digitization of a physical environment through our installations was a truly remarkable experience that exceeded our expectations.
Another positive surprise was that people were willing to share their personal information (exact location and social media accounts) and they even proved eager to enable their Bluetooth on their smartphones so as to gain access to the value-added services in offer that improved their shopping experience. Despite the growing concerns regarding consumers’ data privacy, Atcom Next came to prove that consumers can easily overcome their fear of personal data abuse, if they are promised trustworthy tailored experiences.
Omnichannel strategy enables businesses to merge the online and the offline world, to turn anonymous traffic into identified consumers with certain needs, behaviors and expectations across all devices and channels in order to develop a 360 customer value offering.
It is now more clear than ever that digitization has permanently changed long-established buying patterns and customers have the power to make decisions on their own terms. The use of innovative technologies needs to be relevant to consumer needs whether this is increased convenience, product interactivity or better communication. In the near future, all channels will be part of an elevated holistic experience.