We are so familiar with hearing terms like “added value” and “customer experience”, they seem to have become the mantra of all retailers, from the smallest start up with their own their own peculiar quirks, to the big brands and their Flagships in main streets of big cities.
Experience and value has been important for at least 50 years, but it has undergone a redefinition since the rise of e-commerce and year after year small technological revolutions force retailers to adapt their business model, increasingly focused in getting to know the customer better.
To understand the current situation well, we must accept as an undeniable reality that omni-channel is here to stay, and that strategies that combine online and instore spaces are achieving great success, making them the top leaders in the retail business
“Retailers must follow tendencies to survive omni-channel”
Paul Coby, CIO of the British retail company John Lewis closed the year with these words.
A very clear example of the new fusion of physical and digital space is the expansionist strategy of Amazon; the e-commerce giant has 16 pop-up stores, it is expected that this figure will expand to 30 throughout 2017 and could reach 100 by the end of this year.
It isn’t that suddenly Amazon sees business in the physical stores more than in its digital space, but rather that it sees in the tangible space the opportunity to showcase its technology and continue to add to the customer experience.
H & M has opened a Flagship store, merging with the vegetarian restaurant chain Flake and Kale on Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona’s high street.
In addition, the brand seizes the opportunity of See now, buy now, and when it presents the March clothing collection, its customers will be able to buy clothes from that line directly from the online platform as well as in the physical store.
The six-month wait between presenting the collection on the catwalk and the product layout at the point of sale has disappeared, there is no place for waiting in the buying process to satisfy buyers who are now used to having their product immediately.
To the mantra of customer experience and value added we must throw in anticipation.
For experts it is becoming increasingly clear that being the first to offer customers advantages will lead to a noticeable increase in overall figures that year, while the rest of companies will tag along behind.
These are new technology adaptations that are used to send messages to consumers according to their location.
Although these are very new systems and they have still a long way ahead, some brands are already implementing them in their physical places; American Eagle Outfitters has recently introduced geo-fencing and sends messages to its customers through their app from the moment they are close to one of their businesses.
Geo-targeting allows you to send information about products and offers to people who may be your target and are close by, while geo-conquesting plays a more aggressive role and activates notifications when it identifies that the user is entering a competitor’s store.
These are three emerging technologies that we will be hearing about, and are awaiting to see how they will evolve throughout 2017.
The company Aruba Networks publishes some of the keys for geo-localization, the automation of the company processes of purchase through the devices connected to Internet and the estimate of interruptions in the network during the credit card charge collecting.
This means knowing where the customer moves within the stores and how much time he/she spends in each area of the store.
In fact, the figure of the Visual Merchandiser in a store has always sought to influence the direction of the buyer's gaze after he enters the store.
The big difference now is that it is the buyer who generates the information and the brand adapts the arrangement of the elements according to the customer’s behavior and walkabout.
Concrete data is obtained to display the information where it is necessary and promotions evolve more efficiently.
The automation and security of the Internet of Things (Internet of Things yate)
Payment convenience has always been a great source of concern ever since the surge of e-commerce.
The Internet of Things has taken a significant leap forward in payment processes.If we take into account that some supermarkets already introduce the option of buying directly from private home refrigerators with Wi-Fi, there have to be ways to protect these devices and ensure that there are no errors or intrusions in customer data.
Which brings us to the third point, to ensure the best customer experience and have confidence in your buying process.
It will be necessary to predict the behavior of the net and ensure that it works well to avoid problems in the payment process.
With the surge of Mobile Transfer Systems payment, any possible incidents should be foreseen and resolved before they occur.The customer experience and added value add factors reaching to a point of complexity with as many possibilities as creativity and technology are able to provide.