Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Looking for ways to enhance the retail experience for your customers? Wondering how you can get those customers into your store, given the myriad of online shopping venues that are offering one deal after another? Turn to technology and join the digital age party.

Having a website for your brick-and-mortar location is not the only important way to incorporate technology into your business plan, if you hope to get shoppers into your store and convince them to purchase things they could easily find on the Internet. You’re going to have to court them with conveniences, deals, and other perks that tie into the experience of shopping in your store. You’ll need to create an advantage, or perception of an advantage, to lure people in and keep them browsing and buying.

The following are 10 ways to enhance the retail experience using technology:

1. Provide Free Wi-Fi

People are on their mobile devices a lot, even in the middle of a shopping trip. They’re comparing prices, looking up alternatives, checking product reviews on social media, and messaging others about deals they’re finding. They’re also texting about coffee and lunch dates post-shopping and making calls to say when they’ll be home. Make it easy for your customers to stay in touch while they’re in your store or they might leave.

2. Offer User-Generated Content

How cool would it be to be shopping in a retail establishment and have store-specific information pop up on your phone or tablet? We think it would be pretty awesome, especially if you had consumer reviews of store products pushed to your device as well. Use geo-tracking devices on your store’s app to offer valuable user-generated content regarding sales and featured items in your store at any given moment.

3. Place Self-Serve Internet-Capable Kiosks in Your Store

Use self-service in-store kiosks to make it easy for shoppers to look up products they’re interested in, get pricing, and even have items shipped to their homes. They don’t need to wait for help or use bandwidth on their mobile devices, and they have access to your full online catalog of merchandise.

4. Create Mobile Coupons

Use technology like Shopkick to create mobile coupons for shoppers to access while in your store. Then, they don’t have to worry about bringing coupons with them. Target uses a system that allows consumers to scan a barcode at endcaps within the store to pull up coupons for various products.

5. Perfect Your Branded Mobile App

Stores who want to stay competitive should have a branded mobile app that allows customers to get information about products, read reviews, and tag certain items as favorites. Perfect your mobile app by letting customers save their purchase histories, post their buys to social media sites, and get recommendations for products.

6. Give Discounts for Promotion Via Social Media

Allow your customers to receive a freebie or special deal if they post their locations, or purchases, to a social media site while in your store.

7. Place Tablets in Your Dressing Rooms

Tablets in dressing rooms let customers click on an Assist Me button if they need help with another size or item.

8. Partner With Apps That Make Shopping Fun

Form partnerships with apps that allow your customers to play with color combinations, find suggestions for appropriate clothing for special occasions, and earn points for shopping.

9. Offer Mobile Checkout

Instead of having to stand in lines, your customers will likely enjoy having the ability to check out via their phones or tablets. Let them scan and buy products with their personal mobile technology, and they might be more willing to frequent your store when they need just one or two things.

10. Integrate Email Receipts

Give your customers the option of having their receipts emailed to them, but make it easy for them to choose this option by integrating email address storing into your technology. That way, they don’t need to enter their email address every time they shop.

These 10 ways to enhance the retail experience will show your customers that you realize their time is valuable and you appreciate them coming into your store.