The pandemic has drastically increased the interest in online sales, which has led to a major boost in ecommerce across the world. However, as lockdown and quarantine rules are slowly removed, with fewer restrictions to deal with, some regions are slowly reopening their retail stores, shopping malls, and individual, small-scale shops. With that in mind, brands need to look for ways to attract customers away from their comfy chairs and convenient online stores in order to get them to visit their brick-and-mortar business.
One major way to achieve better customer engagement in-store and to attract more buyers to your shop is to use technology. Just like in the online realm, your offline customer experience should be infused with innovative, interactive tech solutions that help maintain the same level of cutting-edge, branded experience as you offer online. To help you revamp brick-and-mortar business with tech, here are a few suggestions you can use when you’re ready to reopen.
Introducing virtual, interactive mirrors
If you’re ambitious and ready to take your store to the cutting edge of tech, you should consider introducing mirrors that help customers make smarter decisions, especially when they’re eager to try different outfits without wasting your staff’s time. Smart mirrors in any retail store can be interactive enough to give customers a glance at their options. Maybe they want to try one dress in different colors or combine various outfits – the mirror can do all the changing for them.
Using a mirror saves them a few trips back and forth, not to mention waiting in line for a free cabin. A mirror also gives them all the privacy in the world, so that they can take their time when making a decision, instead of feeling rushed when your store clerk is bombarded by questions from five other people.
Designing your own brand app
Personalization can go a long way in customer engagement, but when they enter a store, they will likely feel like just another random individual. A dedicated app, on the other hand, can make them feel like a valued, recognized customer with specific tastes and preferences. An app can send them alerts when there’s a sale on an item they might enjoy, especially when they are close to a physical store where this discount applies.
The app can also alert the clerks in that store on your arrival, so that you can have your item ready and packed to go. Alternatively, they can use your previous purchase information to suggest things you’d find useful or to your taste. An app will save all your transactions and help you build the relationship moving forward.
Digital in-store displays
In addition to mirrors, your retail store is likely brimming with colors and all kinds of stimuli – few of which might be completely brand-specific, which is why so many apparel stores look so much alike. To help create a more cohesive, branded experience, you can use displays with digital signage software that you can customize by showcasing different branded videos, CTAs to inspire purchases, and the like.
You can schedule specific playlists for your branded messaging to coincide with the season, time of day, specific collections you’ve just released, or to share customer-generated content with hashtags and your products. By portraying your brand interacting with customers, more new people will be eager to consider buying from you.
Free Wi-Fi for your customers
Such a simple step, and yet so many retailers forget to include this in their in-store experience. The reluctance is understandable, seeing as how most shops want to avoid sending people to the website immediately upon entering the establishment, and they want to inspire people to engage with the product and the brand right then and there.
However, to use your digital tools, starting with your app as well as the QR codes (which we’ll cover soon), you need to entice them with free Wi-Fi. It’s cost-effective, and it’s already a necessity in every store so that your clerks can communicate with the warehouse and check the inventory online.
QR codes for in-store engagement
For the most part, people have used your physical store to look at your offers, get a better feel of your brand and products, only to go back home and go online for the actual purchase. More often than not, brands inspire this behavior unwittingly, by getting customers excited for the online shopping experience and giving them great deals online, but dropping the ball when you get them to your store. To help turn this around, retailers are now strategically using QR codes in-store to get more people to buy.
To avoid “showrooming” as the term goes, retailers are granting people access to specific information via these in-store codes and giving them discounts when making in-store purchases. Maybe the person is interested in the model of jeans you’re offering – but in an alternative color. The code can give them all the information about the available jean cuts, sizes, and colors, both in that store and other local stores to send them to the right address.
Although digital outlets will certainly help any retail business stay relevant, adding a layer of useful and engaging tech to your stores will definitely help you seal the deal and keep customers loyal. It’s all about the experience – if you give them personalized, customizable offers, gadgets they can safely use to peruse, and advanced apps for easier interaction, they’ll be much more likely to stay true to your business. Use technology not just in the online realm, but also to create a stronger bond with your target audience in your stores.