Though ecommerce sales make up just 10% of total US retail sales, digital influences half.
To keep pace with customer expectations and close experience gaps across touchpoints, retailers are making serious investments to extend digital commerce beyond their .com storefronts into physical stores. Forty-five percent of digital retail executives are expanding, upgrading or investing in technologies to deliver digital content, offers and customer service features to their physical shops, support store associates with a digital tech and enhance the buying experience.
5 Key Focus Areas of In-Store Digital Investment
Enhanced mobile Over 80% of shoppers consult their mobile phones for product information in-store. Both native apps and HTML5 mobile websites can be augmented with voice search, image recognition, QR-code scanning and NFC (near-field communication), as well as “store mode” features like wayfinding (in-store navigation) and location-based content and offers.
Universal accounts True omnichannel retail connects all customer touchpoints, including online account activity with retail POS systems and other in-store digital touchpoints. Purchase history, loyalty status, reward point balances and personalized content should be seamlessly accessed in-store and updated to a universal account in real time.
Augmented content Pushing digital content like product details and demos, customer reviews, video, social content and product recommendations to the shelf or showroom saves shoppers time and offers a value-added experience. Integrated with digital signage, kiosks, wall-mounted screens and magic mirrors, digital content can be centrally managed and deployed consistently across channels, selectively based on store location or even personalized to the individual customer.
Empowered employees Tablet apps developed specifically for sales associates can help them answer customer questions, access and inventory across stores and online, provide personalized service and recommendations and execute “roaming checkout” (transact anywhere within the store) without leaving the customer’s side.
Experience-driven innovations Progressive retailers are exploring emerging technologies like AR/VR (augmented reality and virtual reality), virtual try-on, AI-driven shopping assistants and other forms of “retailtainment.”
Bridging the digital-physical divide requires nimble technology
Technological and operational constraints still hinder retailers when it comes to connecting digital and physical experiences. Legacy systems and monolithic architecture make it difficult to extend commerce to new touchpoints without significant cost, time and risk.
Our latest ebook Beyond the Storefront: Integrating Digital with Physical Retail explores how microservices architecture mitigates the risks and hassles of extending monolithic architecture to the in-store experience.