Your in-store technology can help exceed customer expectations and differentiate your store from competitors.
Today, people can satisfy their shopping needs from the comfort of their homes through their mobile device or tablet. What does that mean for furniture retailers with brick-and-mortar stores?
Furniture retailers must rethink the role of their brick-and-mortar stores and motivate consumers to visit through intriguing experiences.
A key part of the solution to this challenge is technology. Retailers must continue to invest in engaging in-store technologies that will meet and exceed the always-shifting expectations of the consumer.
Shoppers want to make the most of their store visits. And since shoppers wait years before buying furniture again, retailers want to make the most out of those visits, too. The vast majority of shoppers want to either be left alone while they shop or expect sales associates’ help to be quick and thorough. It’s important for retailers to provide in-store technologies, either self-service options or in-hand applications, to keep up with ever-changing consumer behavior.
Shoppers are increasingly expecting technology during their consumer journey. A recent survey by Retail Customer Experience showed that 76 percent of consumers indicated they have had a better in-store experience when retail sales associates were armed with high-level technology.
They expect access to endless aisle inventory through a digital kiosk in your showroom. When they make a purchase, they don’t expect to stand in line. Just like you, they want to be checked out on a mobile POS and get on their way. If stores are still held back by traditional limitations, the customer will shop elsewhere until she finds the store that meets her expectations.
In-store technology is the future of shopping, and for retailers to get ahead, they must first evaluate which technology offerings are worth investing in for their businesses.
Here are some key areas of in-store technology:
The rise of smartphones
There are countless studies that show as many as 90 percent of shoppers use their smartphones in a store to read reviews, research comparative product prices, and save or send a photo to someone. They can also use their phone to bring up coupons or special offers they may have received through email or via a store’s app.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Based on a consumer’s previous shopping history with your store, retailers can target consumers by sending them personalized text messages and special offers using geotargeting.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality are making waves in the retail world. Augmented Reality (AR) adds a digital element to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone, while virtual Reality (VR) implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world. Retailers can use AR and VR to enable customers to picture how pieces of furniture can fit into their homes. AR helps solve customer problems, specifically relevant to the furniture industry, by allowing computer-generated images to be placed over real-world scenes.
This will help customers view how pieces of furniture will look in a specific room in their home. Using a VR headset allows customers to create their vision in a virtual environment.
The technology, once exclusive to big box stores, is becoming readily available to all furniture retailers, who are adding these applications into their showrooms, custom apps, or on their website.
Mobile POS technology is a great way to keep a furniture retailer’s business advancing. Retailers can use Mobile Point of Sale to increase average revenue per user, boost loyalty, enhance the customer experience, and create operational efficiencies. Sales associates can add or update the consumer’s information into their database via a Mobile POS. Associates also have access to inventory details to answer product questions on the fly.
In-store kiosks offer a self-service channel for consumers who prefer independence. Bridging the online and in-store experience, kiosks provide the same familiar digital content to customers and allow them to browse full product catalogs from inside a retail store. They can facilitate a purchase by allowing shoppers to look up product information, availability, reviews, recommendations and options for up-selling. The kiosk can also be used for in-store digital signage, which can push location-specific content like promotions to your consumers in real time.
CXM is a web-based, mobile tool developed for sales associates to create engaging experiences and reinvigorate the brick-and-mortar channel. This modern application is developed to surpass customer expectations. As an extension of customer relationship management, CXM allows sales associates to focus on providing a positive shopping experience by maintaining accurate customer and product data.
In-store technologies will continue to draw consumers into brick-and-mortar stores and support revenue generation on this important retail channel. Once retailers understand and decide which in-store technologies will be key for their businesses, they can then start to create new, meaningful ways to use these technologies for consumers to interact with their brands.