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Retail experiences embracing technology

The global pandemic has taught businesses how they must be incredibly human-centric yet over-invest in technology to ensure they are fit for now and the future.

By Anna Brettle

The global pandemic has taught businesses how they must be incredibly human-centric yet over-invest in technology to ensure they are fit for now and the future.

Retailers need to put people at the heart of all their efforts. The emotional states of customers must continue to be considered post COVID-19 and technology will play a huge part in understanding the needs of customers. Using online survey tools, web analytics and social sentiment analysis will give you a better understanding of how your core audiences are feeling, what they’re thinking, and what messages you need to be communicating to encourage them to engage with your brand and your product. 

Digital disruption has brought huge changes to retail over the past few years and brands are continuing to invest in their physical retail as consumers prefer to try products in-store with a hands-on approach. Retailers have incorporated numerous experiences such as product demonstrations, product sampling and pop ups which gives the consumer the ability to see, touch and feel products in real life. But it’s key for retailers to consider an omnichannel approach with their strategies which has been highlighted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to address the issue of enhancing brand and product knowledge for online audiences. 

Bricks and mortar retailers need to embrace and not eschewed technology. But what else are today’s savvy marketers doing to stay viable and attract shoppers to their storefronts? How are they adapting and evolving? It’s all about offering unique experiences. 

Technology disruption in retail doesn’t necessarily mean a brand needs to become solely digital or move online – it’s about creating a multi-touch experience that embraces technology to enhance in-store experiences.

84% of consumers would feel more inclined to buy from a brand in the future after a demonstration experience. Just as we are evolving our customer experience to embrace technology such as such as virtual personal shopping experiences, live streaming and online tutorials, we will see new technology being brought into the physical retail environment.  

Amazon Go is a great example of how retailers can reinvent how physical stores operate and create a unique shopping experience for consumers. Unlike bricks-and-mortar stores, Amazon Go don’t include checkout lines, this helps retain this aspect of an online shopping experience. However, consumers can shop in a physical space, choose their products, collect them, and leave, all without having to queue in a line to pay.

With many stores already moving towards an experience concept prior to COVID-19, there’s an even bigger focus on the customer experience and this is a transition will be embraced now with a superb online sales solution to back up the real experience.

The focus for traditional retail stores should be on embracing technology, social media and data information to help strengthen interaction with customers. The foundation of good retail has not and will not change. It must evolve but will forever be predicated on customer service — giving the customer what they want, how they want it and when they want it. That, in turn, boosts loyalty, sales and a healthy bottom line.

About the author

Anna Brettle StellarAnna Brettle is the founder of Stellar. With more than 25 years’ experience in retail, marketing and events, Anna Brettle launched Stellar in 2019 with a single-minded focus on helping brands to maximise sales within retail. After ten years in the industry, our award winning team has a track record of developing and leading the biggest retail demonstration programmes, pop ups and events for an impressive portfolio of brands. Combining our expertise of people, data and insight, we have created a unique approach to optimising results in today’s retail landscape.

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