Technology is inherent in online retail. From start to finish, online merchants rely on tech and data to make sales — and keep selling.
When it comes to brick-and-mortar retail, however, innovation and commerce haven’t always been so connected. But traditional retailers have been making strides, using technology to improve the in-store customer experience. And, in turn, their bottom lines.
Many big-name traditional retailers — like Nordstrom, Walmart, Staples, and Home Depot — have even created innovation labs to find ways to better use technology and boost business.
So, how are traditional retailers strengthening the intersection between the technology and the transaction?
Personalization and Retail IT
One important way is by adopting technology that helps make shopping more personalized. Two solutions that can help retailers with this are Point Inside’s StoreMode and Apple’s iBeacon:
- The StoreMode technology in retailer apps, like the one from home improvement store Lowe’s, enables customers to scan barcodes with their smartphones, build shopping lists, find stores nearby, find the merchandise they’re looking for within a store, and find related products that might be needed.
- Using iBeacon, customers using the drug store Duane Reade app would, for instance, be greeted by notifications when they approach a store that feature coupons based on historical data and product reviews.
Enhanced Security Leads to Innovation
Another advancement that can not only aid in personalization, but security as well, is chip-and-PIN technology for credit and debit cards. Already popular in Europe, this technology features an embedded microchip — rather than a magnetic strip — and customers insert their card into a terminal and enter a PIN during a transaction.
In addition to standard customer data, the chips can store information for customer loyalty and rewards programs. So the stack of reward cards that many people carry around on their keychains or wallets could become a thing of the past. These credit and debit cards are also safer than traditional cards, because the chip-and-PIN technology makes it harder to steal data, even in a breach.
Digital Merchandising and the In-store Experience
Implementing new merchandising technology is another way retailers are improving the in-store experience — because before customers even get to the transaction, they have to interact with the merchandise.
Technology like digitizing SKUs can help retailers bring the right product to the right shopper at the right time. These digitized SKUs can link inventory with customer interactions and improve store offerings to meet demand. Digitized SKUs also can give traditional retailers the kinds of data insights that online retailers use to target customers.
What other uses of technology can retailers implement to improve the in-store experience?