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Insights

Fighting fire with fire

06 October, 2014 - Source: Dinosaur

How high street retailers are using tech to fight back against online shops

It’s a challenging time for UK retailers. On one side they’ve got decreased consumer spending. On the other, fierce competition from rival retailers – especially those online.

The fact that these online stores can offer broad product ranges at extremely competitive prices, has given rise to ‘Showrooming’ – the practice of examining items in brick and mortar stores, but then making the purchase online.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. A recent Gallup poll has revealed that groups of shoppers are actually increasing their brick and mortar shopping as a result of mobile technology. Retailers like Tesco, Nike, Burberry, Gucci and cosmetic brand Make Up For Ever are already leveraging new technologies to increase the quality and relevance of the instore experience.

To support the launch of the Nike+ Fuelband, a wristband that tracks your movements throughout the day, Nike erected huge LCD displays in their London store that tracked and mirrored their customer’s movements.

Gucci also recently set up super high resolution displays that enable shoppers to browse various products using hand gestures. And cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever have a number of iPads in their stores, that not only allow shoppers to browse products, but also upload their own photos and try various makeup combinations virtually.

The result? They’re being rewarded with increased footfall, larger purchases and increased customer loyalty.

Apple’s iBeacons are another new innovation that promise great returns for retailers. The technology cleverly enables you to pinpoint shoppers at their exact location within the store and target them with personalised offers and experiences based on this location data and their previous activity in the store. First emerging at the back end of 2013, iBeacons are currently being piloted by a variety of retailers, with some extremely encouraging results already being reported.

The shifting consumer habits that come with technological change will continue unabated. That’s why those retailers who find opportunities to engage customers in new ways will reap the benefits – and those who don’t keep up, could soon find themselves well past their sell by date.

The challenges for business

· Understand your customers’ preferred technologies. Give them the opportunities to interact with you in their preferred ways

· Think beyond the promo. Technology can be used for much more than ecoupons or proximity based price offers. Build experiences that make the shop more inviting, more pleasant, more productive and more fun. This will encourage customers to not only buy more, but to buy more frequently, too.

· Be careful not to jump on the bandwagon with bleeding edge tech. Have an evaluation system in place to determine if specific innovations are right for your brand, your business and your customers.

· Always pilot first. New technologies need to be thoroughly stress tested in real world conditions before deploying widely. This will maximise the likelihood of success, and minimise the opportunity for embarrassing failures.


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