Smart Stores – Staying competitive in the digital age

With the introduction of Amazon Prime’s free 2-day shipping, Target’s free shipping for REDCard holders and many other sites offering free shipping and easy, lenient online return policies, shoppers may not want to travel to a store anymore. If your business model depends on a brick and mortar store-front you need to read this and begin thinking about new strategies to be relevant with consumers.
Bridging the gap between digital and bricks-and-mortar stores to better engage with customers is key. “I think it’s do or die for retailers when it comes to bridging that gap,” says Jeff Donaldson, senior vice president of the GameStop Technology Institute – a business unit formed in March 2014 to drive technological innovation across the company. “Customers’ expectations are growing and retailers need to evolve in line with their needs, using the latest tools at their disposal to deliver the best retail experiences.”
A study done by Cisco Consulting shows that consumers will generally choose a purchase destination for at least one of these reasons:


    1. less hassle, faster to purchase, ease of solving purchase problems


    1. discounts, promotions


    learning what is new, entertainment, exploring accessories

Brick and mortar retailers will have a hard time competing with e-commerce on terms of Efficency or Savings in most product categories. But a physical store can really beat an e-store when it comes to Engagement.
To get shoppers out of the house and into your store the technology giants have some forward-thinking ideas.

Here they are, the top 3 new technologies to get shoppers into your store.

#1 Shopper’s Treasure Map
Did you know grocery stores locate essentials like milk and eggs in the back corner of the store so that shoppers will have plenty of opportunities to get distracted by other items and increase their overall spend?
Or that Las Vegas casinos purposefully make their casinos difficult to navigate with signs pointing in non-direct directions to keep visitors trapped?

While this “entrapment” strategy can be effective, why not at least make it appear you are on the shoppers side when it comes to getting them in and out of the store quickly.

Imagine if a consumer could write out a simple shopping list and as they arrive at the store, power up your app and be guided through the store to their desired items locations. To increase overall sales, offer discount pop-ups on items as they pass.
As I shop more and more online I have become a bit overwhelmed by traditional shopping. The other day I went to pick up an order I had placed online at a large department store, having selected Ship to Store to save on shipping fees. While there I thought I would look around. I was so overwhelmed by all the different sections and areas with all the clothes mixed together that I quickly gave up without making an in-store purchase. I caught myself thinking, “I wish I could just see all the ¾ length sleeve tees they have and pick my favorite.” That’s how I shop online after all.

Use technology to help your shoppers buy more!

#2 Truly no wait check-out
I don’t shop at walmart unless I absolutely have to. And its not because of People of Walmart. Its because of their check-out lines. I sometimes spend as much time in the check-out line as I do shopping.
Wireless technology and micro-chips could make it so your customers do not have to checkout! They simply walk out of the store with their purchases. This could draw a lot of shoppers.

Check out both of these concepts in Cisco’s retail strategy video:

#3 Fun stuff
We all know how popular the Apple Store is. Why is that? Because its fun! You get to play!
Verizon has destination stores that draw in customers with giant digital signage.

Inside you will find a treadmill that gives the effect of walking through beautiful scenery.

A DJ booth to play with and make your own music and even sign up for a free music lesson

Add some tech fun to your store to draw consumers in.

Staying ahead of the competition means inspiring shoppers. Use these ideas to brainstorm a new strategy for your business. If you’d like our help, send us an email!

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