Shopping has evolved into a completely new experience for consumers. Their online experience has a huge impact on how they shop in store, and which shops they choose to go to. Retailers need to be up to date with the latest online shopping trends and learn how to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. According to a study by DigitasLBi, ‘88% of consumers around the world Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO).’ By 2016, Forrester believes ‘connected retail will influence 44% of retail sales.’
Shoppers are bombarded with even more sales messages through shopping apps, websites and offline advertising. Therefore now more than ever it’s crucial that brands get their attention in all the right places. The future of the high street is in connected retail. Here are some tips to help retail stores stay connected with customers online as well as offline.
Create a shopping app
Shopping apps are a great way of attracting and retaining customers. They encourage shoppers to come back to your store to get the latest deals. They can also help them to find a local store easily. Put exclusive deals on your app and include all the latest news about your product ranges.
Interactive digital signs
Another way to keep connected with customers online is by having interactive digital signs in store. These signs can showcase your best products, provide useful advice and promote your social media channels to customers. They are simply digital signs that can display adverts and the latest deals in your shop. Brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry have interactive window displays and digital signs in their stores.
Teaming up with online influencers
There are lots of celebrities, bloggers and industry experts online that have a huge influence over what people buy in store. It’s worth finding some relevant online influencers with a large social following to promote your brand and products online. Fashion bloggers for example have a huge impact on the latest trends and they have the power to influence the products people buy. You could take this one step further and arrange for them to make an appearance in store.
Harnessing social media
Keep your social media fans up to date with the latest in store deals. According to Simon from EPOS Cash Register distributor Tills4Change “Showcases your products on sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. Some people also like to share news of items them have bought via social media, so make sure your website enables them to do this.” Obtaining a community of loyal fans on social media will be an important way of achieving in store success in a digital age.
Some stores are now utilizing Ipads to enhance the in store shopping experience. They are used in changing rooms to look up alternative products and to help sales assistants look for products that are out of stock in store but can be ordered online. Other stores are using them to allow customers to complete a sale. Brands such as Bloomingdale’s and Soletrader are already using Ipads in their stores.
Understanding how customers interact online and offline
Before investing in new technology and online campaigns to create a connected retail experience it’s crucial to research what your customers are doing. Analyse and track their spending habits and online behaviour so that you have a clearer picture of their journey to making a purchase. One of the most important things for retailers who want to compete online and offline will be data analysis.