The current retail landscape is full of stores that deliver a very static and forgettable experience. Most do not stand out and, therefore, have low sales conversions and few repeat customers. However, to be successful a store needs to develop an entertaining and comfortable environment, which would draw the clientele in regularly.
Technology, when used properly, can help you develop a more engaging experience, even a multi-sensory experience in some cases. The use of technology is certainly necessary when targeting Gen X and Gen Y consumers as well as teenagers. However, it can certainly appeal to Baby Boomers too when used accordingly.
There are a number of tools that a retailer can adopt. Here are a few:
- Quick Response Codes - QR Codes are now easy to use and increase the client's interaction. Develop your own codes and place them around the stores to unlock certain promotions or discounts. Make sure that they are placed in convenient locations where they are easy to scan. Also, make them relevant and interesting to the consumer. A QR Code that just directs the customer to your website is only going to annoy the user.
- Video Installations - Video installations and screens are a basic feature in many retail stores. However, try to use video screens in a more creative way and in a way which relates to your brand and strengthens your store concept. For example set up a number of video screens around the store, each associated with only one line that, and feature on each an appealing video that shows the specific use of that product. Done well it would reinforce your message and the lifestyle associated with your brand. Fashion brands could project their latest fashion shows and allow customers to pre-order the featured items.
- In-Store Workstations - Here I am referring to either workstations that are similar to the self service check-in stations that are now ubiquitous in any American airport or even big wall installations that could work like a big iPad. These would grab the attentions of younger customers even more than the actual products. The clients could use them to learn more about the brand, but mostly to browse and order the entire range of products that the brand offers, even items which are not currently in stock at that location.
- Custom Apps - Retailers can now design all sort of apps that salespeople can easily access from iPads at the store. The most interesting uses of this technology could allow salespeople to speed up checkout, access instructional videos that can enhance the sales presentations, and suggest to the client complementary products to their purchase.
"Technology is the enabler and I find it incredibly liberating. Burberry is really about an experience, it’s about an attitude, it’s about the spirit, and I think it’s a lot about music. Of course, there are the clothes and bags, watches, eye-wear and fragrances. But today we are all about how you interact with the brand. It’s not a one-way street anymore, it’s a two-way dialogue."This quote is taken from the article by the Huffington Post: Burberry: The Best of British Digital Innovation. I suggest you read the full article to understand how Burberry uses technology in its stores and provides what is today considered the freshest and most innovative in-store experience of any fashion brand.