During the various lockdowns people got used to some wonderful experiences online and they would now like to see some of what they enjoyed in their pyjamas transferred to the physical retail space. Consumers want retailers to take all the things they loved virtually and to make it work in-store on a robust infrastructure.
Such moves are absolutely essential for the survival of stores because e-commerce has become so sophisticated on the back of ridiculous amounts of investment made over recent years. Stores now need to reclaim their relevance and work seamlessly alongside digital channels otherwise they simply won’t survive.
We’ve certainly seen errors made by some retailers who’ve failed to make this journey. A few years ago we spoke to a business and suggested they needed to take bookings online for their piercings service and then when the customers turned up in-store they should be recognised and given a personalised experience. After their treatments, they could be offered health tips and sent vouchers for related products such as earrings. The relevant tools and technology were not taken on board and hey presto, this company is no longer on the high street.
The cloud tools and technology are available to enable these tailored shopping journeys. The route we’ve taken at Trust is collaboration with partners whereby we’ve built a community. We get best-of-breed products, package them together, and then deliver them as a managed service. To bring this to life in-stores requires a bullet-proof underlying network otherwise it simply won’t work and the foundations involve security and data integrity – with GDPR uppermost. This must be at the heart of the proposition.
We deployed a digital signage solution for a major retailer across 750 stores during lockdown and broadcast a whole range of content comprising advertising and brand awareness as well as real-time messaging. This was only possible because of the core technology of a managed WiFi solution using the Samsung product set in this case.
This digital in-store transformation is within the reach of all retailers if they take the approach of starting with those assets in which they have already invested. We’d recommend starting with something meaningful. The essence of store digitisation has to be the delivery of something that is similar to the home experience and it has to be seamless.
Whether the customer has looked at shirts online or searched for furniture and then wants to touch and feel the shirts or sit on the sofa, when they walk into the store there should be a connection made with them and at the very least they should be told where those specific products are located in-store. For this, we could give retailers agile technology for clienteling through the sweating of assets whereby the hand-held device they use for scanning stock could be multi-purposed to also take payments, undertake product look-up, and also clienteling functionality.
When such solutions are delivered by cloud service over an enterprise network then things begin to look very exciting in the stores with a familiar look to the experience delivered to customers, which resembles the one they enjoy when shopping online. This approach is creating a robust blended in-store and online experience that is seamless and has a familiarity about it.
What maximises the value from these actions and helps deliver the optimum personalisation is the utilisation of data. We acknowledge it is one of the biggest challenges for retailers because it is a struggle to digitise a business, to get your head around it, and then be faced with the need to grab and manipulate lots of data. We’ve some technology partners who can help through their rules-based engines, which can create communications that are, for instance, weather-related, product-related or time-related.
Our recommended approach is to take baby steps and identify the big issues the data can help solve within the business. Some companies bizarrely invest massively in building a data lake before they even know how they will use it. There has to be some investigatory thought put into how best to deal with data in order to avoid drowning in a data lake.
When data is combined with an invigorated retail proposition through a digital in-store transformation then the opportunities are incredibly exciting and help ensure future success by giving the customer the seamless, personalised experience that they now demand.
Interested in discovering more? Contact us today.
Written by Mike Dowson, Trust Systems | email@example.com