The retail world is changing every day. The rise of customer facing technology and digital developments in-store has transformed the aisles and checkouts of our favourite stores whilst the ‘browse and buy’ culture of the internet continues to disrupt purchase patterns. The retail environment is in a state of constant flux and it doesn’t seem set to stop any time soon. Let’s take a look at how a trip to the shops in the future might look.
On the way to store…
According to Outdoor Media Centre, digital-out-of-home (DOOH) has grown by 312% since 2008. That’s serious growth and it’s showing no signs of stopping as we look forward to the future of the high street. Walk through any city centre today and you’re surrounded by DOOH possibilities. Many of today’s billboards, bus stops and print media is being replaced by digital alternatives, and digitalisation of the city centres means ample opportunities for retailers. Greater digitisation equals greater opportunity for connected devices and personalisation. This personalisation could see the creation of specific ads or copy relating to location, date, time of day, weather or even breaking news appearing.
Greater connectivity also means search, mobile, social and commerce functionality could all become the norm from a pavement near you. This signals DOOH inspired by the individual shopper. Shoppable screens, facial recognition and personalised content all make the idea of shopping from a bus stop or train station platform a real possibility.
Outside the store…
There are a handful of department stores that position the shop window as a real retail playground but what if the shop front became a much more important part of the store of the future? What if we brought digital into the window display? With the use of beacons or near field communications, digital innovations in window displays are starting to emerge. Just look at the Adidas NEO campaign, where digital mannequins could be controlled via smartphone, giving users the ability to browse, play and checkout from outside the store. This innovative digital development outside of store in turn drove footfall in-store and, for those not looking to browse the aisles, it was an opportunity to explore a range or just simply connect with the brand.
Every store has a window or shop front to use. The question is how will retailers use their own window to drive interest, footfall and maybe even direct sales.
Inside the store…
With 60% of buying decisions still made at point of sale, according to Advisium, the in-store experience will continue to be important and that is where some of the biggest digital developments are currently occurring.
Greater connectivity has been both a boon and a pain for today’s retailers as the digital experience has crept from online to in-store. Access to channels, connections and competitors has put the power firmly in the palm of the consumer and it’s testing retailers on a daily basis as showrooming and price comparison become commonplace. However, digital disruption always plays into the hands of the sellers as tailored messaging, personalised content and extra mile service can equally be commonplace.
In-store, we’re already working with leading brands and sales team to push digital innovation. Our platform is helping advisors tailor the buying experience to each individual customer and empowering brands to optimise the entire sales experience with intelligent personal insight – increasing the likelihood of a purchase decision.
It’s clear the high street or store of the future is going to be very different to today. However, the developments we’ve made since the advent of mobile devices and social media shouldn’t be ignored. Real digital development in retail is not a thing of the future; it’s a real and present solution to driving customer loyalty and sales. Let’s embrace and drive it together.