In an age where virtually anything a consumer wants can be purchased online in the comfort of their own home, malls seem to be taking the hardest hit. While retail stores used to be the only way to satisfy the instant gratification that shoppers desire, most online entities are now offering shipping methods that get the product to their door in as little as 1-2 days, including weekends. Luckily, to combat the convenience of online shopping, malls and retail stores are turning to in-store technologies that could reinvent how consumers shop, all the while saving them from going out of business.
According to recent studies, shoppers are more likely to continue to shop in stores that utilize augmented reality (AR) and create an experience in-store that they cannot receive online. This involves using technology to digitally enhance the physical presence and appeal of the store, turning customers into multi-channel shoppers who utilize both online and in-store shopping. Many stores are turning to applications that allow consumers to test or try a product in a real life setting, like taking a photo of themselves to see how an article of clothing would look on them, for example. While this technology is usually done on a smartphone and can be done anywhere, including at home, it encourages consumers to visit the store from the experience and can help to build brand loyalty.
While in stores, retailers should be focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and consistent technological updates that enhance the customer experience and also make it easier and faster for them to find what they are looking for. Utilizing virtual assistance programs can make it easier for consumers to find what they are looking for, even if they do not know what that is. The technology can even offer them a short assessment where the answers to the questions will provide them a list of related products that should fit their wants and needs. Some stores have even experimented with unmanned check outs. Here, consumers can add items in store to a virtual shopping cart that sensors their moves. Once they leave the store, their saved card is charged and the items are transferred to the stores mobile app for shipping.
One of the most appealing aspects of online shopping is the provided ease of price matching and real-time pricing. Consumers can have multiple stores offering the same item pulled up on their phone or computer to actively compare prices and reviews. Adding this technology in-store can ensure consumers are seeing the lowest and most accurate pricing of an item compared to other retail stores that offer similar items without having to travel from one brick-and-mortar store to the next.
As technology advances and the online digital appeal continues to grow, it is now in the hands of retailers to upkeep with these changing trends. Not only will it enhance customer experiences and make their operations more efficient, it may just save the business.