Monday, November 28, 2016

Tech-Fueled Retail: In-Store and Online

Over the past few weeks, the Stylus Life team has been tracking the latest innovations in retail tech – the online tools making shopping seamless, and the in-store tech that will encourage customers to head back to the high street.

Retailers are always seeking new ways to entice customers and encourage loyalty, particularly looking to create convenient purchase journeys that fit around shopping habits. This strategy is seen through Mr Porter’s recent partnership with Apple TV. A first for luxury content-commerce mergers, the collaboration sees the e-tailer monetise its editorial video content, letting shoppers buy directly through their TV.

Similarly, Instagram recently announced it would soon start testing retail tools that enable users to buy items found in their image feed – a move that will help both brands and tastemakers to drive revenue through the platform. The new feature, kicking off in the US with twenty retailers, ties in with recent stats showing that consumers increasingly shop via their mobile devices.

The consumer desire for convenience and curation is also highlighted in recent research that discovered 43% of US consumers are likely to do their holiday shopping via online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon, compared to just 15% purchasing via an individual retailer’s website. This dramatic difference is due to marketplaces’ ability to offer shoppers a simpler experience, with a wider variety of products at the best prices – all in one place.

So if shopping online is easier, what will send customers back to the store? Well, a recent survey has found that 63% of UK shoppers still prefer the high street, but are more likely to be enticed by tech-fuelled retail spaces. The convenience of contactless and mobile payments was described by some as “life-changing”. Meanwhile, shoppers are more likely to visit stores with technology such as virtual reality (57%) or smart fitting rooms (57%), which provide experiences that can’t be replicated at home or online.

Tesco is capitalising on this consumer desire for technology, trialling digital receipts that offer shoppers personalised offers, while also taking another step towards paperless transactions. The trial, running through November, aims to give customers more choice. Beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury has placed digital interaction at the centre of its new store, using virtual mirrors to help shoppers select their perfect look, and in-store screens to showcase social media inspiration.


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