Figures from Black Friday 2017 show that, despite economic uncertainty, sales rose compared to 2016 – for example, Barclaycard announced an 8% increase. Yet the increase was in online sales, which rose by 6%. High street shopping decreased by over 3%.
The Chancellor’s spring statement continued to paint a bleak picture, with consumer spending hit by inflation, which is currently still higher than wage growth. The British Retail Consortium comments here: https://brc.org.uk/news/2018/chancellors-statement-paints-a-mixed-picture-for-retail.
Most customers now use online browsing as well as travelling to shop in-store. Recognising this, smart retailers are combining their online and High Street offerings and using technology to make them complementary.
Both forms of shopping must provide a pleasurable and stress-free experience. For those shoppers who see the High Street as a form of therapy from the daily humdrum, it’s clearly important that the experience is hassle-free. Similarly, online shopping needs to be seamless, making it easy to search for, reserve and purchase items.
Technology plays a huge part in keeping the best in-store retailers successful. They use sight, sound and scent to attract and retain customers, coupled with interactive technology.
Sight and Sound
Digital signage at the point of purchase can encourage shoppers towards add-ons and impulse buys – for more information, see https://moodmedia.co.uk/digital-signage-solutions/. Digital menu boards and animation can present the brand or message and complement the retailer’s online presence.
Sound, similarly, is an important part of the in-store experience. Using music in the foreground or background will enhance the customer’s enjoyment, and audio messaging can help to reinforce the brand.
By triggering memories, the use of scent can evoke a strong emotional response. Stores can infuse different departments with specific scents to appeal to particular customers. Scent marketing technology, and its associated delivery, is a key differentiator, enabling retailers to make shopping a more sensory experience.
An important aspect of combining both online and in-store marketing is gathering data about customers. Collecting and analysing data allows smart retailers to understand and offer their customers the most appropriate options. Interactive technology can facilitate this understanding. Smart mirrors allow customers to try different combinations in the fitting room. In homeware, furnishings and decorations can be viewed together.
In today’s highly competitive market, smart retailers are agile. They embrace in-store technology to gain an edge over the competition.