Heading towards Store Digitization
Jennifer was browsing dresses on the responsive website for her sister's wedding. Like a typical user, she was moving from one option to another, totally oblivious to the changes taking place in the entire value chain that brings her the content which she so greedily consumes every day.
By the time she was done, she had pinned a dozen or more dresses and then hopped onto the nearest mall with her friends to enjoy the evening. Once there, her phone buzzed with an update that one of the dresses she had pinned was available at a store in that mall. In fact, that dress was on the store display since it gained maximum number of pins. Jennifer could not help herself and cantered over to the store immediately. As she entered the store, an interactive robot welcomed her by name. While she was still soaking in the ambience, the robot scanned her face and retrieved her entire purchase history. It then guided her to the relevant section of the store.
As Jennifer removed selected dress from hanger, a digital wall displayed the same dress adorning a model at the fashion show held last month. She was also able to view information on digital wall about its fabric, designer and other interesting facts. Totally immersed in shopping experience, she carried on and tried the dress. However, the color did not appeal to her taste too much. Nothing to worry though. A tablet fitted in smart fitting room automatically scanned the dress with RFID reader and helped her find a different color. She selected the option and alerted the store representative about her new color choice. In a jiffy, an attendant had her preferred color dress available right outside her fitting room. She tried it and felt like a princess!
While in store, Bluetooth enabled store beacons sent personalized recommendations to Jennifer based on her purchase history and account information. As she browsed the recommendations, a pearl bracelet caught the corner of her eye. It was just too perfect to ignore and matched perfectly with the dress she had just tried. She wanted to check that out too.
A store representative fetched the bracelet from second floor and handed it over to her. It turned out to be exactly what she hoped for but not of exact size. The store representative again sprang into action, this time on his iPad Store app and searched nearby stores where the bracelet might be available. By the time representative was done, he found a Collect+ store option en route Jennifer's home. She happily accepted the workaround.
Then she proceeded to the self-checkout counter and scanned the dress on her way out. She didn't even have to look for a credit card because she had Apple pay on her smartphone. And as she was joining her friends again after the purchase, 10% additional discount coupon for her next purchase had already been credited as a personalized loyalty reward, her purchase history had been updated and the store had logged an inventory change. All within microseconds!
While this might seem like a Sci-Fi story, it has actually become a reality in today's retail world. Even though one store might not have all the features, innovations mentioned above are happening at breakneck speed. Example: House of Fraser announcement of Beacon equipped mannequins, Nordstrom labeling top pinned items, Lowe's trials with OSHbot to mention a few. Such integrated digital solutions have empowered retailers to connect with potential customers' like never before.
But why is there an urgency to embrace digitization in store?
Technological disruptions are reshaping retail industry, sales through digital channels are up and customers are becoming far more informed and demanding. This is impelling retailers to collaborate show-rooming and web- rooming experience and innovate on ways to leverage their brick and mortar floor space in order provide an immersive experience to their customers.
So, how far have you reached in the journey of digitizing your store?