As physical and digital shopping continue to converge, mastering the in-store experience has become increasingly important for brands and retailers. Physical stores must battle the convenience that online shopping offers while also delighting customers with the best possible shopping, buying, and transaction experiences.
Retailers can achieve this with connected stores that leverage IoT technology, RFID tracking, and analytics to capture valuable shopper data like how many people visit a store, what gender they are, how old they are, and what items they pick up or try on. With that level of insight, here are four ways that connected stores provide a better in-store experience:
Store inventory fluctuates every day, and managing it requires time and resources. Breakdowns in communication can cause serious issues, like overstocked products or losing out on potential item sales.
With RFID-tagged SKUs, connected stores allow retailers to implement real-time inventory visibility to provide store managers with forecasts and alerts on product availability and accessibility in-store. This ensures shoppers are getting the right products at the right time while automating a job that can be susceptible to human error. On top of that, retailers can feed the data back to an integrated PLM system for true end-to-end capabilities.
Once a store has the right balance of inventory, the focus shifts to optimizing product assortment and store layout to maximize customer flow. Using video recording, analytics, and RFID tracking, retailers can capture and visualize data around shopper demographics, movement throughout the store, interaction with products, and dwell time.
This gives retailers a real-time view into who their customers are, what products they like, and which items are failing to generate interest. Insight like this is extremely valuable for assortment and promotion planning, and can also provide a deeper understanding of dressing room rejection.
Insights from connected store technologies also give managers a better idea as to how they can best utilize staff. By monitoring what is going on in-store, retailers can make on-the-fly adjustments for inventory and assortment issues, and better address pain points like long wait times at checkout or items being left in the dressing room. This improves the in-store experience for customers, as well as enhances communication between the individual store and its corporate headquarters.
AR technology is making its way into stores and consumers are taking notice. A majority of shoppers prefer stores with AR experiences, and many retailers are already finding ways to enhance the in-store experience with different AR applications like smart mirrors and fitting rooms.
Using AR technology in a connected store gives shoppers the ability to point their smartphone at a garment and not only virtually try it on and see what it would look like as part of their outfit, but also understand where and how that particular item was made. This kind of PLM data provides shoppers with transparency into things like sustainability, material sourcing, and quality, while also building brand awareness.
Connected stores enable retailers to provide customers with a superior in-store experience by improving inventory levels, optimizing product assortment and store layout, maximizing staff efficiency, and utilizing AR experiences. The connected store concept is relatively new, but it is making the goal of optimizing business operations and delighting customers more attainable than ever before. For physical stores to prosper in the future of retail, they must be connected.
Discover how retailers can reach today's consumers and optimize the in-store experience through connected PLM and the Internet of Things.