What does the store of the future offer?

In these digital times, a connected retail strategy (or 360° strategy) for your store is indispensable for enriching the shopping experience of your customers. 

Certainly we don’t need to convince you any longer of the necessity of a connected retail strategy? Such a strategy is indispensable for responding to the lightning-fast developments in consumer behaviour. Here are a few tips for heading in the right direction:

 

Offer a showroom with a relevant added value

Offering a customer an experience with real added value, both online and in the store, isn’t an easy task. Therefore, in its report ”2017 Retail Trends“, PricewaterhouseCoopers pictures the showroom as a supplement to the online shop. In a showroom, you demonstrate the products without selling them. Your customers can look at everything, try them out and ask for advice. If the customer wants to buy, the product is ordered and delivered at home from another location. And that’s precisely what consumers are already doing with “showrooming”: visiting a store to look at and test a product only to buy it elsewhere online. A connected approach with showroom not only enables you to keep hold of the customer, but also simplifies stock management and reduces the number of returns.

 

Make digital competitors your online partners

Amazon, Bol.com, Zalando, etc. You might regard them as competition. In a recent interview with RetailDetail, consultants from Roland Berger emphasised that the digital competition has a major impact on both the physical and the digital strategy of classic retailers. But why not turn this challenge into an opportunity? And why not make competitors into partners? For example, Bol.com is opening up its marketplace for third parties and giving the retailers access to a larger public. Today, for example, over 1000 Belgian shopkeepers are already selling via Bol.com.

 

Offer relevant and personalised content on social media

No one wants to see the usual ads on social media. But that doesn´t mean that there’s no room for retailers there. On the contrary, to keep contact with your customers via social media, you score best with relevant content. Invest in personal relationships with your followers, e.g. with the aid of “influencers”. After all, the two-way street and the short line between consumer and store ensure that the classic marketing strategies don’t work with social media. It does require adaptations in the internal organisation, but retailers who hit upon the right approach and communicative tone via social media can derive many advantages from this and strengthen their brand identity.  

 

Get more out of big data

Retailers possess a lot of data about their customers. For example, loyalty cards provide information in order to measure the results of marketing actions or to better harmonise the product offer with customer wishes. According to the consultants of Roland Berger, many Belgian retailers are still failing to seize opportunities to get to know and serve their customers better via this big data. Amongst other things, consultants propose this potential solution: what if several Belgian retailers were to join forces in order to develop a common platform for big data and thus get to know their market better?     

 

Offer personal attention and assistance

Companies like Apple, Google and Facebook are making enormous investments in chatbots. These intelligent apps are also being used more often on messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, in order to offer a better customer experience. For example, there are already retailers who send out order confirmations and shipping information via social media instead of by e-mail. On their favourite social media customers can also pose questions to a retailer’s bot about its products. In addition, the bots function as personal assistants who help customers make choices.

Read more about smart assistants and chat bots.

 

Want to know more? Would you like to know more about the digital element of a connected retail strategy? Don´t hesitate to contact us.

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