The space for retail brands has become extremely competitive, and some have even shut shop. Compared to a few years ago, retailers are not just coming up with great offers to see an increase in customer footfall but are also looking to explore new avenues altogether.
Retail brands today want to woo customers with great experiences. This includes having a digital strategy, which even the most traditional retailers are adopting steadily. And why not?
According to some research, only 9.6% of Gen Z reports buying items in a physical store –– a staggeringly smaller number than their older generations. This is the future retailers and buyers are looking towards.
This takes us to the crucial question – what exactly should retailers factor into a good digital strategy? How do they break beyond the tried and trusted in-store experiences?
Here are some examples of good digital strategy used by brands. they have embraced the digital side and set innovative marketing and sales strategies in motion:
Hema’s QR Codes:Alibaba’s Hema store was launched in 2016, in China. The great thing about this in store experience example is that it utilizes the best of both online and offline shopping, catering to the customers’ needs in the most unique way possible. It took retailing to the next level by letting customers scan the QR codes on the products and get more information. For generations that love to compare and buy, this led to the creation of a seamless customer experience that flowed from the offline world into the online. This shows that even a small change, can make a huge difference. And of course, for the brand, it generated a treasure trove of data about buyer behavior, motivations, and decision criteria.
Ralph Lauren’s Virtual Trial Rooms:Interactive mirrors are straight from the future that we dreamt of. But they are already making their way into the retail space with biggies like Ralph Lauren’s flagship stores scanning pieces of items shoppers want to try and then loading the information on a virtual, interactive mirror in the dressing rooms. Customers can adjust the lighting in the room using the same mirror and take a look at how the outfit appears. And that’s not all, the information about the item(s) that shoppers like but are not ready to purchase yet, get saved and sent to their phones. Next up, they can select a different size or color of the outfit or select accessories that match with the chosen piece. Overall, it encourages them to get the best fitting outfit. It’s a small step from there to adding in Netflix-like recommendation engines to encourage shoppers to make other purchases to complete the look.
App for Coachella by Bose:Audio retailer Bose launched an app for Coachella and used AR (Augmented Reality) to create an “almost there” experience. In a unique partnership with Goldenvoice, the retailer came up with the Coachella app that unlocked special audio content when festival-goers wear Bose Frames. The content included all the latest updates of the fest and real-time audio notifications. With the app and the special merchandise, the retailer brand got two birds with one stone -a wow customer experience and more sales! This is a great instance of how a retailer embraced technology to strengthen its position as a brand on the market.
Sephora Chatbots:Both virtual and augmented reality play a crucial role in customer engagement and this is exemplified by beauty retailer Sephora. On Facebook messenger, the brand used bots to help customers try on different products before buying. They gave customers all-round service by handling their queries and requests. From reviews of products to make-up tips, the bots covered it all. Since customers could scan an image to view a range of matching make-up products, they could take an informed decision without having to visit the store in-person. Data made all the difference.
Ikea’s Interactive Catalogue:In a move to adopt an omnichannel digital strategy, furniture-giant IKEA came up with a cohesive brand experience that bridged the gap between its offline and online customers. In 2017, the brand came up with the Place app. It’s an augmented reality tool to help customers visualize different pieces of furniture as they would look within their abode. The strategy helped reduce buyer dissonance and helped the buyer journey progress. But even before that, it had launched an interactive 31-page catalogue called ‘Celebrate Brilliantly’. This was a refreshing addition to its brick-and-mortar experience.
Target’s Mobile Wallet:A good retail store example would be the popular retail store Target which launched mobile wallets to make its payment and checkout processes a breeze for the customers. The four-times faster method also let the users pay using the Target REDcard or a credit card and apply discounts on the spot. Such experiences are now a part and parcel of customer needs and are crucial for earning loyalty. The integrated experience also provided a wealth of data to the brand on customer behavior that it could use to target (yes) offers and promotions better.
E-Mart:Autonomous shopping carts are the future of digital retail strategy and the future has arrived at E-Mart, a South Korean supermarket. Known as Eli, the cart features functions that include shopping-list-driven navigation, avoiding obstacles, follow the shopper, automatic payments, and other enhanced techniques. This state-of-the-art shopping cart is an exciting sign of how going digital can help retailers improve their in-store customer experience and take innovation to the next level.
Take the Next Digital Step These examples show that despite occupying dissimilar niches, Solutions for retail brands can build digital strategies to offer the best experience to their customers in-store and outside. For retail brands, it’s all about going beyond the conventional. The digital experiences help the brands dovetail into the customer’s buying journey. The data they mine in the process will help them find new opportunities to market and sell their products, build customer loyalty, and stand out!