The advantages and disadvantages of online and offline shopping can be discussed long and hard. During the lockdown, people had no alternative but to browse online shops. Now, many consumers are trying to shop primarily in local stores to support them. However, for customers to remain enthusiastic in the long term, stores need to get creative in order to turn brick-and-mortar shopping into an experience.
The emerging connected shopping capabilities are designed to combine the best of online and offline shopping and make brick-and-mortar shopping more enjoyable and exciting.
Connected Shopping: What Is It All About?
Connected shopping uses various digital applications to offer customers practical advantages in brick-and-mortar stores that they could previously only enjoy when shopping online.
One service that some stores, for example the German drugstore chain dm, already offer is checking the availability of products online. This way, customers know in advance whether the product they want is available in their area and can, if necessary, check reviews from other shoppers. This service is remembered positively by potential shoppers, increasing the likelihood that the store will remain their first choice in the future.
Another store upgrade is the use of smart mirrors, which make it possible to try on clothes and makeup virtually without having to queue at the fitting room and change clothes several times. The fashion brand Guess, for example, uses these mirrors to give its customers styling tips or allow them to request a different size directly via the mirror.
Even window shopping is taking on a new meaning as a result of digitisation. Previously, mannequins were used to present new collections, but now there are screens which, in addition to appealing videos on new collections, offer the opportunity to purchase products outside of opening hours via contact details and QR codes.
Connected Shopping Is More Than Just Smart Mirrors
For some stores, it should be clear that introducing such exciting applications would be a bit too hasty. If the concept of a store is not well thought out in general, smart mirrors & Co. will be of little help in the long term.
Digitisation should be conscious and, above all, customer-centric. Even though technical gadgets initially mainly attract young targets groups, they should fit in with the overall image of the store. The feel-good factor of customers must be the number one priority. It starts with an appealing and, above all, interesting presentation of products, well-trained staff or a fast Wi-Fi connection – after all, one in two people no longer go shopping without their smartphone.
Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week
Augmented Reality Shopping and the Future of Retail [Engine Creative]
Augmented Reality in Retail: Can It Revolutionise the Industry? [Daglar Çizmeci]
The Future of the High-Street Shopping Experience [MLP Designs]