When walking the aisles of a supermarket or browsing the racks at your favorite department store, chances are you’ll find a good amount of shoppers with a smartphone in hand. Regardless of the reason shoppers use their phones while browsing a store, retailers can take advantage of mobile’s effects on the retail scene.
Since the iPhone introduced the concept of “there’s an app for that,” retailers have created apps for e-commerce, coupon collection, in-store maps and loyalty programs. These initiatives cater to newfound needs among shoppers including endless aisle options, improved in-store innovation and faster services for shopper convenience. As smartphone users are constantly reminded to get the latest update and tempted to buy the newest version of the device, adoption is inevitable. Following suit, they are more likely to adapt to an evolving retail environment where mobile can maximize the shopping experience.
Tech Choices that Matter
From data tracking to augmented and virtual reality, in-store technology is growing. But which advancements are gaining the most customer acceptance? According to HighStreet Collective’s Retail Innovation Radar, a quarterly report that measures 12 influential technology innovations in brick and mortar retail based on shopper acceptance, many of the top trends involve a mobile device.
Though a prevalent commonality, the way retailers optimize mobile to enhance the customer experience has changed in recent years. For example, 82% of customers would rather not receive texts from brands, even when the content is personalized. Instead, customers are turning to mobile apps for communication with their favorite brands. For example, retailers like Nike utilize their mobile apps specifically for in-store shoppers, offering exclusive deals, barcode scanning to receive additional product information and try-on requests with the touch of a button.
Mobilizing the Shopping Experience with Augmented and Virtual Reality
Retailers should view the growing demand for in-store assistance by way of the smartphone as an opportunity to give customers what they want. By enabling product search and store navigation through an app, the shopping experience becomes more enjoyable and less of an endless maze. Technologies such as augmented and virtual reality make this vision possible.
With augmented reality, shoppers can use their mobile devices as a lens to the optimized in-store experience. Instead of wandering the aisles looking for a certain product, users can find products through the app’s advanced search features and built-in navigation system. In addition to helping them check every item off their grocery list quickly, apps provide personalized experiences that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. As a customer’s shopping habits and preferences become more familiar to the app, promotional and product information, special offers and recommendations become part of the in-store journey. For shoppers, this means a more tailored experience with assistance in the form most like best: mobile. For retailers implementing the technology, increasing shoppers’ exposure to the store’s products and gaining loyalty are among the benefits that await.
A step further into the future, retailers have their sights set on virtual reality to heighten the customer experience. VR apps already exist, using technology to emulate a 3D experience. Using this technology in a brick and mortar store can jumpstart familiarity with VR experiences, replacing wearable gear with the smartphone in your pocket.
Driving Mobile App Adoption with Electronic Shelf Labels
The emergence of online shopping and the affinity many shoppers have for their phones indicate physical stores should incorporate more mobile into in-store shopping experiences. To complement the addition of a store-specific mobile app, retailers can use the shelf edge to further inform and guide shoppers.
Displaydata’s Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) enhance real-time promotional and product information in the store. Once a customer is led to the product they’ve searched for via a mobile app in AR mode, electronic labels deliver real-time promotional details, product comparisons and ratings and reviews, leaving customers with the knowledge they need to be confident about their purchase.