Our world has really continued to get up heaved by the changing face of retail, and consumer preferences. The retail technology being deployed yesterday, it seems, is no longer good today. For one reason or another, classic brick and mortar, is competing against a rather large uncertain future. It is the opinion here that retailers will need to embrace a faster change of pace, quicker technologies, and easier implementations of tools than before, if they want to stay in business, much less proliferate. Retail technologies are out there to help do a world of good for brick and mortar, but they must be found, implemented, and tested rapidly to ensure widespread success of the technology itself. In this post we will explore what sorts of retail technologies are working, and how you can implement it.
How About Social Retail Technology?
Well, if you aren’t sure by now, social media is a big thing. It is only until now that we are starting to enter a phase where social media is truly the main discovery source for new products or fashions by mainstream individuals. This presents a unique and challenging retail technology to master. It is no longer so much about the showcasing of your products or your stores, as much as it is cleverly showcasing the brand story, connecting with consumers, showing your personality as a brand, and establishing a following. If you are consistently posting pictures of new product (limited release shoes or special jersey may not count here) and the sale price, I wouldn’t expect a huge response, even with boosting the post. Showing the fund side of your brand, the cool store designs you have set up, event’s you are sponsoring, or truly great new products, help showcase your brand in a good light. Additionally, be sure to check into sponsoring an “Insta” model. These people will have large followings, with a lot of bored people out there who surf through these accounts finding new fashion or products to buy. Work out a deal, and test…
Omni Channel Retail Technology
This is where things can get interesting, and challenging at the same time. Omni channel, means being where your customers are. I’ve talked about this before but it is super important to invest resources here. Now, if you are operating a online store as well as brick and mortar, this topic caries a whole ‘nother level of importance. Your use of retail technology needs to create the most seamless buying process possible. The logistics you are running such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, Demandware, or others should have the ability to accept a package for return in any store, whether purchased online or at a different store. This makes logistics and inventorying a whole lot easier, reducing your “logistics load”. Since you have this capability, be sure to use it to your advantage, and tell customers about it.
The Social Store
This point primarily combines the effects of the above two points on retail technology. If you have a system in place to handle omni channel operations, you can leverage the power of customers voice to drive new customers. Try offering a discount for customers who share your brand, or a product in store on their social account. When they hashtag or tag you in the post, you offer a 10% off coupon or something. If you assume you are amplifying the store brand by at least 200–300 people, even if one of those people now becomes a new customer, you will surely gain the 10% back. Place large “We’re Social” banners and encourage your customers to join your brand story (brand engagement) online, where they will surely become a happier (higher lifetime value) customer.
Sharing Economy in Retail Technology
I’ve been preaching this one for a while now. It is becoming a new staple of the economy, sharing. Why pay the price for a while car, when I could buy someone else car temporarily? Why pay full rent, when I could share a room and earn money? The list goes on, but for you to win with retail technology, take advantage of the sharing economy. Partner with other retailers to deliver a design forward format that attracts customers because of the variety, while you split the expenses with another retailer. With modern retail technology, you can make this happen.
Location Relevant Retail Technology
We are certainly a big fan of this category. While the retail stores still fundamentally serve the same purpose, why not utilize retail technology to find, and convert new customers to the store. get creative and use a platform like Proximo to identify customers nearby your location, and offer real time incentives to bring them in. This works whether you are selling online or especially if you aren’t selling online. Proximo will target customers near the location of any of your stores using geolocation and IP, so you can focus on increasing the experience they receive while they are there.
The store can become a hub. A hub for product, a hub for vendors, a hub for customers. With modern retail technology you won’t have a problem adapting the store to allow new retailers to enter and sell from your stores. You could see a future where the retail store is a mini warehouse, delivering products to nearby customers via drone. The store could provide a portion as an automated, self-supplying vending machine, delivering only the hottest products for a particular area, on demand 24/7. While this may seem far out, the retail technology to make it happen, is well underway so prepare now, or you’ll already be behind the curve.
This is by no means an extensive or complete list of the retail technologies out there. It will however, provide foundation, and expose some of the latest retail technologies, that you should be looking into. Please inquire for any questions or to get started with Proximo as the best way to find and convert new customers in real time to your stores.