Shopping was once very simple; customer visits a store, customer chooses a product and finally, customer buys the product and leaves the store – pretty straight forward right?
But now, it may be less simple: customer browses products online, customer is recommended a product, customer visits the store, customer searches product information, customer interacts with the product, customer buys the product, customer shares the product on social media and customer orders matching shoes from the website – that was just a short version though!
The bottom line is customers want to interact through multiple channels, and still be recognized – even in your offline channels. Yes, they are just as important to your customers as your online channels. Please do not get fooled by the rumours you hear about millennials. They do actually enjoy visiting brick-and-mortar stores to experience products and hang out with their friends, because after all shopping is a social activity for them.
But... Your store must be connected to meet their needs. Why? Because they have a huge 'thing' for technology.
The evolving and massive usage of technology is dramatically changing the retail landscape. These connected customers will only do business with you if you serve them quickly, consistently and seamlessly across all channels.
In my presentation, I pointed out that the big wave of technology is influencing retailers of all sizes, giving them two options: either to adapt or die. So the choice is obvious, if you want to continue competing in the market, you must adapt. You must accept the fact that what used to work once, may probably not work in the future. You and all the other big retailers out there must be open to change and dare to innovate in order to follow up with technology and stay alive.
Everyone in the room knew this meant stepping out of their comfort zone and challenging their status quo, or more precisely: say goodbye to status quo!
Customers are no longer buying products alone. They are buying experiences and the only way retailers can remain ahead in competition is by pushing the boundaries and blurring the line between offline and online.
We inspired our retailers to how they could bring the store back to life and create a connected experience, with the help of a few practical demos of virtual reality and other in-store devices.
After I presented all the devices and how they could take the in-store experience to the next level, it was time for the retailers to try out themselves. I bet they were all waiting for this.
The Connected Shoe
This POS info spot concept consist of an interactive screen that shows a physical product (in this case a shoe) in 3-D. The screen makes it possible for customers to zoom and check out the product from different angles.
You can besides playing with the shoe (as I am doing in the picture) also check out product information. I think we all know how annoying it is to wait for the sales staff, or how frustrating it is when they lack specialist expertise. Well no more. Just hold the shoe in front of the screen to display product information and learn how it can maximize your performance. Would you like to see the shoe in blue? Just shake it and it changes color!
Introducing the Valtech POS Infospot
This is a unique way to create a memorable experience in the minds of your customers, were they are able to actively interact with the product and experience, what it means to be a part of your brand. And, we are not just talking shoes – it could basically be every type of product within the store.
Perhaps one of the most popular experiences that stole the floor on this morning.
These cool glasses allow your customers to enjoy movies, music, scenery, games etc. in a unique and fun way – just ask some of our guests who were exploring Venice spinning around in her chair and their brand new kitchen through an app we already developed for a client!
We believe that many retailers will include VR glasses in the nearest future, to take the in-store experience to the next level, giving customers a digital experience in 3D spaces.
Want more in-depth info on VR? Check out this blog we recently posted:
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Retail VR
What to conclude?
Dear retailers, we are in the middle of a digital revolution, facing an uncertain future. Being successful is no longer about economies of scale and globalization; it is about how strategy evolves and adapts to users. It is about economies of experience.
You are running a real risk if you are widening the gap between your customers’ in-store and online shopping experience. Did you know that 86% of your customers are willing to pay 25% more for an improved in-store experience?
This cannot be stated enough: Your products can no longer stand ‘dead’ in your stores! Experience is becoming the product. Remember your connected customers? I can assure you they do not want to visit a museum. They want to interact with your products and get an experience out of it. Now you need to push the boundaries and fill out the gap between the online and offline experience.
We had a wonderful day at the event full of great insights, inspiration and delicious lunch, while business cards were exchanged between our guests – and we love that!
Are you interested in what else we are doing around retail? Then check out: retailingfuture.com
We are hosting and sponsoring various events. Both offline and online. Locally and globally. So make sure you keep an eye on our event section. We hope to see you.