While convenience and personalisation used to be reasons to shop online, they’re now reasons to shop in-store, too. Retailers have implemented technologies to bring these benefits into stores, blurring the lines between online and offline.
Although queuing at the long checkout to purchase our groceries was once so normal, we now look for self-checkouts to ensure the fastest shopping experience possible. The ability to scan, bag and pay for our items as quick as we can is just one of many ways technology and retail are both moving forward.
We’ve all been there when the queue in front of us is not moving and the person working the checkout is scanning at 2mph. We question whether our one pack of gum is really worth it and end up putting it down and leaving the store.
Thanks to in-store technology, this is no longer the case.
Online shopping alone isn't enough for customers anymore. Sometimes, having to wait for your item to be delivered just doesn't compare to the luxury of buying it in-store right away.
If online was everything, Amazon wouldn't have opened their first checkout-free grocery store, where actual sales associates aren't needed as part of the buying process. Customers simply pick their items off the shelf, bag them and walk out. They are then billed on the app after leaving the store. No scanning or queuing required. Simple.
But it’s not just grocery stores who have implemented this kind of technology. Zara recently relaunched their Westfield Stratford store with smart retail technology. The store practically replaces sales associates with technology, making the customer experience faster and more convenient.
The order collection point is manned by a robotic arm and the checkout doesn't even require the customer to scan. The technology simply recognises the item the customer wants to buy, which they then confirm on the screen.
In-store technology has made it as quick and simple to shop in-store as it is online.
If you pop into your local high street, you’ll notice more sales associates have access to iPads and mobile devices. If the item you are looking for is out of stock or they don’t have your size in store, they can order the item in for you to collect later or, get it delivered straight to your home.
Augmented reality enhances customer experience by making shopping more personal. Timberland introduced virtual fitting rooms into their stores, so customers can try on clothes with no fitting room required.
Evidently, a more personalised shopping experience is a better one.
Previously when you wanted to personalise something, you would have to go online and wait 3-5 days for it to be delivered. But now personalisation is becoming more accessible in stores.
I recently went into a store where they were able to imprint and engrave my name and initials onto a bag of my choice right there and then. This added a unique touch to my item and enhanced my customer experience.
In-store technology continues to elevate customers in-store experiences and change the way we shop.
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