The Seamless Experience: Bringing Digital to the Store

Author: vicque fassinger
Category: The Daily Blog

Whether you’re the audio visual guru, the IT pro, or the marketing consultant involved in helping your retail clients or employer create the optimum shopping experience, you know that a key factor in ensuring exceptional customer service is being able to connect the 21st century digital component of consumer shopping seamlessly throughout their online, mobile, and traditional brick-and-mortar in-store shopping experiences.

You don’t know it yet, but you want this!

Data mining on social websites allows retailers to offer products “you didn’t know you wanted,” according to Nicolas Franchet, Facebook’s retail marketing expert. By personalizing a message directly to the customer, retailers are creating a desire where none existed before. Links take the customer directly to the store’s website, where they can either order online or check for local availability. Another key to the use of social media is to retain current customers and enforce the retailer’s position as a favorite shopping experience.

On what aisle, on what shelf can I find it?

The advent of online shopping provides both challenges and opportunities for traditional brick and mortar stores. Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity and Kayak, shared in a recent interview that the shopping experience is just as important as price. “You can have great products, but if the customer can’t find them quickly, you’re dead.” Jones also said that data mining is important to create the perfect customer experience.

Just dropping by for a pick-up!

Bricks and clicks describe shoppers who buy an item online, then pick it up at a store. With almost 7,000 retail stores nationwide and a robust website, GameStop is a perfect example of a retailer that uses modern technology to enhance the physical shopping experience. They know that this type of shopping not only provides the original sale, but draws customers into the retail location where they’re likely to buy an impulse item or two. Gamers can go onto the GameStop website and search for a specific new or used game, check on its availability in local stores, and complete the transaction online before heading to the store to pick the game up. Stores in the Austin, Texas area offer the use of in-store tablets geared to a shopper’s specific desires. It all combines to bring retail shopping into the 21st century.

No checkout lines!

Visit an Apple Store and try to find a checkout line. You won’t, because the company has replaced cash registers with iPods and other portable devices that personnel use to find inventory and complete the sale while standing in front of you. Signs and other dated marketing tools are also replaced with interactive displays on iPads and computers. Apple offers the ultimate hands-on shopping experience for customers, marrying technology with a modern brick-and-mortar store that just dares technophiles not to buy something.

According to an article from eCommerce Insiders, about a third of all brick-and-mortar retailers are resisting the move to integrate a digital experience with their online presence. Wary about the chance that technology will only distract their shoppers from buying, they’re avoiding the conventional wisdom that using “bricks and clicks” creates a seamless shopping experience that increases sales. Although a digital presence is increasingly important to modern shoppers, it doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar stores are going the way of the dinosaurs. Mu Sigma, an analytics firm that helps retailers break down data, points out that the total shopping experience is much more than just finding a particular item at a good price. “Personalized offers delivered in-store and acknowledgment of their status as a highly-valued customer are preferred to website recommendations and personalized emails based on product searches.”

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