Various Ways Retail Responds To Technological Progress

Have you noticed how digitalized some of today’s retail stores have become lately? Walking into one, you may have a feeling as if, rather than being presented with various lines of products, you were actually interacting with a brand. This is no coincidence. Retail stores are currently on a mission to lose their old-fashioned “shop-like” identity. Instead, they want to become modern, highly interactive brand spaces, ones where customers can fully experience the products - without feeling the pressure to buy any on the spot.

Traditional stores are becoming places of inspiration

Why’s that? Forbes reveals that due to the global success of e-commerce companies, traditional stores are now dealing with a major traffic decline, especially in the US. The remaining visitors have begun to think of them as sources of inspiration, places where people go just to be presented with a variety of options. Yet, in the end, those passers-by (most probably) also prefer making their purchase online and having the goods delivered back to their homes. Aware of this fact, retailers realized that by creating immersive environments designed first and foremost to attract customers’ attention, not only can they breathe new life into their brick-and-mortar stores, but they can also create innovative and exciting marketing opportunities for introducing their latest products, as well as driving customer loyalty. But that’s not all.

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How AI and Machine Learning can boost customer loyalty

With the introduction of in-store data analytics and various offer personalization techniques based on AI and Machine Learning algorithms, retailers are given a chance to better respond to their customers’ needs. How so? Every business transaction is an entry in one’s database. Having enough of them stored, you can start using systems such as AI-driven loyalty management platforms to analyze them, find patterns in customers’ shopping behavior to be more precise. Your findings will reveal where, when, and how customers bought your products – as well as help you identify what drove them to purchase. Combined with the data collected from loyalty apps and e-commerce websites, this knowledge should allow you to predict which offers will be most likely to hit the spot, as well as prepare your store shelves accordingly.

What is the future of retail?

The more we learn about how people hate being shown irrelevant content, the more it becomes clear why retailers made a move in this direction - and why their stores are slowly becoming technology-driven modern art galleries that reflect people’s hopes and dreams. Having said that, we need to bear in mind that this is but the beginning of their high-tech endeavors. Tracking in-store engagement will, most probably, become a crucial part of everyone’s marketing strategy. Not to mention that with digital signage now becoming the norm, the new extended reality (AR, VR, and MR) will also help transform the shopping experience, replacing the existing pain points with captivating, interactive experiences that both inform and entertain.

Retail stores of the future will, most certainly, carry that “theme-park vibe” that makes the blood flow faster in our veins. To become really successful, however, they must feel like they are part of one, extensive brand experience, meaning that retailers need to embrace the omnichannel approach – where every single marketing activity contributes to the creation of more effective customer journeys.

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