TECHNOLOGY - CHANGING THE FACE OF THE CUSTOMER'S RETAIL EXPERIENCE
Updated: Sep 3, 2018
We are definitely seeing a change in the International retail landscape due to advancements in technology and the use of the internet and social media but I don’t think it’s changing fast enough in the Australian market and it’s frustrating me! Here in Australia, we need to change the way we think about CHANGE and how it can we can use it to our advantage, rather than seeing online technology, as the death of retail.
I would have to agree with Richard Van Hooijdonk (www.richardvanhooijdonk.com ) that we MUST embrace new technology and use it to build and strengthen our retail presence as there is still customers who prefer to touch, feel and see what they are purchasing.
Rather than continuing to buy way too much stock with most bricks and mortar stores bursting at the seams which in turn reduces stock turn, slows sales and impacts profits due to the heavy discounting in order to shift stock, it would be better to look at new ways technology can fulfil our favourite pastime of shopping.
Mobile smart phones are by far the easiest and quick way consumers are researching their purchases before buying. Making that experience the most effective will go a long way to ensuring a retailer can stay ahead of the curve. Clever retailers are using data collected online through the use on beacons, (https://www.shopify.com/retail/the-ultimate-guide-to-using-beacon-technology-for-retail-stores ). Beacons are small Blue-tooth enable devices that retailers have in store. They have the ability to connect to smart phones that have Blue-tooth on and have that retailers’ app on their phones. The retailer can send special offers, discounts and promotions to the customer, thus providing them information particularly about the things they like.
Collecting consumer data through smart phone, social media, website visits and the collection and collation of data at point of sale has been critical to big retailers like Macy’s in the US. They are able to study and use the data they collect from all these platforms to reveal more about their consumers habits, provide then consumer with the experience they want and gather data to keep evolving.
I believe the future is in technology which would see our stores full of styling suites instead of bulky racks filled with stock. Order your size from a selection of stock that is represented on the shop floor. Nordstrom, a leading retailer in the US has just opened Nordstrom Local for it’s customers. They are stripping the idea of retail back to a personalised customer experience. Nordstrom Local is much smaller than Nordstrom with only a small number of changes rooms. You can pick up a purchase, visit a styling suite for assistance, and even relax in a bar. All to enhance the customer experience. I would love to see this concept adopted here is Australian by our struggling department stores.
Then taking it one step further is the Virtual Dressing Room app. Don’t even try on the clothes but rather view how you would look in front of a mirror.
But Australia is just not there yet and if retailers don’t get on board now, they will not be able to keep up with the retailers who have embraced technology in all it’s forms, to keep their customer experience first rate. C’mon Australian retailers, make the change now.
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