Elo outlines trends in digital experiences within the retail space, with a list of best practices, such as consumer flexibility and engagement.
Today’s consumers are always on the go, and they expect their retail experiences to be accommodating of this dynamic. It’s a lifestyle of convenience, expedited service and curated offerings where shoppers increasingly prefer self-service. In fact, consumer respondents to a 2019 study overwhelmingly favoured self-service technologies to improve their physical retail experience, with 73 percent of shoppers favouring this shopping method – an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year.
Of course, it doesn’t take a research report to know industry competitors are rising to the occasion. We see headlines announcing Amazon Go stores bringing ‘grab and go’ convenience to the next level and others lauding Taco Bell’s award-winning self-service kiosks. Innovations like Briggo’s ‘connected coffee’ robots are available in airports and on corporate campuses. Never have consumers enjoyed more conveniences through self-service, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Brainstorm in-store possibilities and begin with a crawl
Self-service technology can be beneficial for a variety of retail verticals, and the value proposition depends on the products or services offered, as well as the specific store format. For a big-box retailer with sales associates spread over a large area, it might be in the form of a price checker, returns kiosk, availability lookup tool, BOPIS pickup or product locator. For smaller boutique or tech-centric retailers, self-service technology could be a product ‘look-book’ or loyalty solution to review the customer’s full history and recent purchases.
If thinking through in-store possibilities has you itching to put something in motion, take a moment to start slowly and embrace a ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach. As you begin to pilot test solutions in a subset of stores (crawl) and roll out to other locations after proof-of-concept success (walk), you’ll have the IT endurance and experience to continue delivering (run) the interactive convenience your shoppers crave across all locations. With the right technology in place, users will quickly scale new self-service activations chain-wide.
When enhancing the shopping journey through interactive experiences, be sure hardware and software are both flexible enough to evolve with changing needs. It’s important to consider how a digital screen can support the various use cases you have in mind, now and in the future. Like smartphones with multiple apps, interactive self-service implementations can be a portal into a retailer’s full capabilities. Furthermore, when your devices leverage mobile architecture, you can keep pace using the same consumer applications and content adapted for in-store to meet customers’ expectations.
In-store interactive digital experiences engage customers in ways they want to connect. Interactive self-service continues to roll out to restaurant chains worldwide as customer preferences demand to evolve with the digital age. Those looking to join the race must do so with a clear vision as well as the right deployment approach (‘crawl, walk, run’) for the journey ahead.