As we head into the official start of the holiday season, shoppers are not the only ones with wish lists of the gifts they’d like to see under the tree on December 25. Retailers have their wish lists too, but not in the form of big packages tied with red ribbon. This year, a large majority of retailers want (and need) to take the first step on their digital store journey by filling up their stockings with “must have” digital solutions that will give their customers the unique, personalized experiences they crave. RIS News recently published the report “Complete Your Omnichannel Transformation: Digitize the Store,” sponsored by Displaydata, detailing how retailers can truly create a true omni-channel experience by blurring the lines between online and physical shopping channels. As with any new initiative, retailers need to follow an actionable plan. According to RIS News, “Digitizing the store for technology-sake is not going to support an omni-channel approach. Instead, brands need to use a digital strategy as a means of personalizing the customer experience and creating store-level engagement that can truly define the brand.” We couldn’t agree more!
One of the main components to digitizing the store is the use of electronic shelf labels (ESLs). As our very own Andrew Dark said in the report, “
Electronic shelf labels can serve as the critical link between the physical and digital retail store.” Through the use of Bluetooth enabled ESLs and a retailer’s mobile app, having a true one-to-one “conversation” while in the store can be a reality. See below for other highlights from the report:
- Define Customer Expectations Regarding Digital Solutions – Instead of making unchecked business decisions, retailers should instead use exit surveys delivered via POS payment terminals, e-mails and social media polls to understand the criteria shoppers use to determine where to shop and their favorite shopping tools. According to a recent Retail Systems Research report, 48% of retailers believe that by having customers’ input in place, they will be in a better position to merge store and digital experiences.
- Leverage Innovation Labs to Test Next-Gen Solutions – These labs allow brands to test innovations, determine speed of scale and evaluate future enhancements in a dedicated, controlled environment that mimics a live store. According to Sephora’s vice president of its innovation labs, “The lab and dedicated management team gives us an incredible opportunity to drive the future of innovation.”
- Add Digital Signage to Support the In-Store Journey – Retailers are quickly seeing digital signage as the core ingredient to spur the in-store digital experience. French retailer, Carrefour, replaced static posters with digital screens to feature the latest promotions and product information, as well as manage queues at the cash wrap. “One screen does the same work as a number of posters, so to speak,” says Carrefour’s marketing services and logistics manager.
- Integrate the Power of Social Media in Digital Touch Points – The savviest of retailers are already taking advantage of consumers use of social media when online shopping, and incorporating this information into the in-store omni-channel experience. By doing this, retailers can target shoppers with a new level of valuable information needed to help make purchase decisions.
- Align and Integrate Digital Assets – Retailers must be able to know how to use each digital tool to connect with individual customers, while also delivering a consistent brand experience. Many CIOs have invested in omni-channel integration technologies, retiring obsolete legacy systems with cloud or SaaS-based solutions. This allows a retailer’s digital solutions to work together in harmony to guide shoppers through the in-store shopping experience.
The four walls of the store and the online shopping store are on their way to morphing into one in the same – are you ready?