In an era where e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart have redefined consumer expectations and the meaning of convenience, is it possible to increase in-store footfalls?

 
The pressure to quickly adapt to various technology trends is ever-increasing in the retail industry. Better discounts, numerous options to choose from and savings in the humungous amount of time and energy – these are just a few obvious reasons driving the customer adoption of online/digital shopping. To compete with such value, the brick and mortar stores of these days need a new avatar to ensure they stay relevant to the changing consumer tastes and behaviors. Organizations are realizing the importance of converging Physical and Digital capabilities to ensure better personalized and more agile services to their customers. Let’s take a look at some of the initiatives retail industry can take to ensure they keep up with the quickly changing consumer habits of the future generation.
 
 
Demystifying Dark Data for Hyper-personalization
 
According to the Pew Research Center Report, even today, more than seven-in-ten purchase decisions (first-time purchase) are made after trying the product in-person. This means, visibility into user behavior by demystifying data can help in better customer experiences and high conversions in retail outlets. For example, offering style-based shopping through curated visual search for both in-store and online channels ensures better customer engagement and reduced shopping fatigue in-turn enhancing the user experience. This also points to the fact that often times, the customer buyer journey for in-store retail shoppers starts digitally. For example, style based visual searches customized with the help of appropriate digital filters – Collaborative, content-based, hybrid, clustering, categorization – where retailers combine the mix of buyer segmentation and individual personalization resulting in more engaging and fulfilling experiences for the customers.
 
Therefore, the future of the retail industry will be defined by its capacity to enhance business by digging deep into data and personalizing experiences based on the insights for every individual.
 
Unmatched Customer Service
 
There’s no better way to connect on a personal level than in the store. The personal touch and customer representative’s deep expertise in products and services on offer could be a huge differentiating factor in customizing user experiences that also factors in real-time feedback.
This calls for the retail stores of the future to experiment and reinvent themselves while ensuring they focus more on experiential offerings that are seamless across multiple customer touchpoints. For example, adding technology like AR and VR to enable customers to choose from a range of products that mirrors the store-front aisles, try them on through virtual stores and shop at ease whether online or from in-store.
 
Technology like AI, deep-learning, robust sensors and computer vision that are powering the new-age digital assistants, smart carts and no-checkout stores promises immense possibility in ensuring enhanced customer experiences in the retail industry. For example, the heat map of footfalls in a retail store that offers insights into data like location, people count, dwell-time and more could ensure better in-store optimization, better point of sales and therefore better revenue through in-store sales. The same technology also ensures leaner supply-chain, better security in-store and more that further enhances the experience of a customer leading to better brand loyalty.
 
Omnichannel Customer Experience and Continued Focus on Digital Transformation
 
The way a brand interacts with its customers is one of the primary factors influencing any customer’s buying decision. As most consumers check out both online and offline offerings for a brand when buying a product, offering them means and ways to engage seamlessly at their will and with any platform of their choice goes a long way in enhancing their overall experience. For example, technology like digital aisles and digital screens in the stores can positively affect the buyer intent and drive better traffic to the store. Similarly, the ability to pay digitally and through newer ways that allow for a faster and more convenient in-store check-out would go a long way in increasing repeat customers.
 
HARMAN is committed to transforming people’s everyday experiences by leveraging its technology across industries. With HARMAN’s Smart Retail Solution, retailers can constantly offer differentiated experiences to their customers by leveraging in-depth insights into user engagement. The analytics on shopper behaviour and real-time alerts for floor management services that enable optimization of inventory and enhance the efficacy of displays for better personalized offers. For more information about HARMAN Retail Solution offerings, click here.
 
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