Change is inevitable, but for many retailers the past few years have been uncharted territory. Retailers have had to pivot their businesses to meet shoppers’ needs faster than expected and ensure their customers are able to shop how, where, and when they want. But adapting and moving quickly doesn’t simply mean being reactionary. Every retailer has a purpose for why they do what they do or their customers, so they need to accelerate those new experiences with a strategy that is intentional and meaningful. But as more shopping and checkout technologies become available, it can be difficult to determine which is the right solution for you. So what should you be considering when planning your retail vision?
Put the customer first
|First and foremost, technology in your store should be designed not only to improve your operations and associate interactions but also with your customers’ interests in mind. Maybe your customers want more self-service options, or perhaps they are discount-driven and look for a great customer loyalty and promotions program. Now is the time to get insights into your customers and determine what experiences they want with the rapid changes that have occurred in the last two years. New data provides insights into what customers are looking for in order to earn their loyalty. The retailers that are first to get a deeper understanding of the new shopper expectations and deliver those experiences will be rewarded with customers that keep coming back.
When choosing your retail journey, retailers can’t be afraid to experiment with new technologies that can deliver experiences that have never been possible before. Now is the time for retailers to take advantage of new innovations and try out different options to improve the efficiency of their operations or visibility into their customer insights to deliver more meaningful, personalized shopping experiences. New technologies are incorporating artificial intelligence, camera vision, edge computing, mesh networks, data analytics, and IoT devices into unified commerce platforms that are infinitely adaptable in accelerating new experiences for shoppers, including digital capabilities that weren’t previously available and will prepare you for the future.
Become future proof
||Digital experiences, whether in-store or not, are a significant part of the future of retail. Retailers learned that being ready for whatever comes their way is essential to keep their business up and running, and many retailers found that they weren’t prepared to adapt quickly or accelerate implementing experiences that they thought were five to ten years away. But what retailers found was that not only did they need to update their technology and experiences quickly, but they needed it to be simple too. Any new technology deployed in your stores must be easy to implement, upgrade and scale with your business as you grow. Digital technologies can help reduce pre-existing rip and replace strategies that are retroactive, time-consuming, and limit innovative thinking. They can also lead to messier rollouts and rely on being reactionary with the wrong solutions that might work today but aren’t designed to adapt or scale for the future. Thinking for today rather than the future is one of the common mistakes some retailers make, and you can no longer afford to think only about what solves today’s problem.
Finally, as we look to the future, one thing we do know is that in a digital age, things are constantly changing and new technology is always emerging. There will always be new opportunities to seize and new ways to delight your customers so never stop innovating. In order to ensure you are taking the right path, you must determine what your purpose is, select the journey this is right for you, and have a partner that can help you navigate potential obstacles and new opportunities so you can start accelerating towards making your retail vision a reality.