When online shopping became something that people were used to, many experts and business analysts saw the end of the retail industry. Since then, many retailers have closed down their shops and admitted defeat to the online revolution. Others are catering to online customers more in order to keep going.
Look closer, however, and you will notice how the best, most agile retailers on the market are showing strong quarterly performance. The answer behind this stunning performance boost is technology. Retailers are finding new ways to leverage technology to survive.
Delivering Good Customer Experience
There are reasons why people go to Starbucks for coffee, and one of those reasons is the fact that Starbucks employees are trained to make customers feel special. This is a part of the customer experience offered by Starbucks as a company.
Other retailers are paying close attention to their user experience too. Thanks to retail technology, retailers can alter the customer experience they deliver altogether. Using an app-based barcode scanner, for instance, retailers can allow their customers to shop independently.
In fact, retailers are borrowing a lot from how ecommerce stores make active steps towards improving their user experience. The checkout process is shorter than it was a couple of years ago. Even the ambiance of retail stores is now different.
Another way technology is helping retailers survive lies in data processing and analytics. Brick-and-mortar stores may not have the capabilities that ecommerce stores have when it comes to tracking their customers, but that doesn’t mean offline stores can’t get valuable insights either.
In fact, stores are getting very good at understanding their customers. You see supermarkets playing into the tendencies of their customers and placing items accordingly. Coffee shops and smaller convenient stores are using tools like surveys and even social media interactions to get to know their customers better.
With the help of better data processing tools, these insights can be collected and processed into meaningful resources that retailers can benefit from. Changes happening across the retail industry are data-driven and are mostly designed to better cater to specific market segments.
Specific Target Customers
Speaking of catering to specific market segments, personalization is another trick up the retail industry’s sleeve. While it may be impossible to deliver a highly personalized experience to individual customers, there are ways to tailor that same customer experience to market segments. You’ll be surprised by how the small things offered throughout the retail landscape – like Starbucks Puppocino for dogs – are actually based on personalizing the customer experience.
You see this with loyalty programs and promotional offers. It is now easier to see when retailers are targeting a specific market segment from the way they communicate with the target audience. Promotional offers are now data-driven, and they can be very effective in generating leads over a short period of time.
There is also the tangible side of the retail market. Despite the rapid growth of our ecommerce business, nothing beats actually going into a store and trying things before you buy them. That experience is irreplaceable – for the time being – and will continue to be the retail industry’s strongest weapon against the ecommerce revolution.