Todays in-store technology experiments could be tomorrows big revenue generators
Retailers will have to increasingly shift their in-store focus from being product-centric to offering a much-improved overall experience with new technologies playing an important role in what represents a step change for the industry.By Glynn Davis
This was the view given by Edward Westenberg, director of internet business solutions group at Cisco, at the recent Ecommerce Expo in London when he revealed the findings of a Cisco Shopper Insights survey.
An underlying theme was the welcome that shoppers will give to “self discovery” in-store by using various technologies. Fifty five per cent of people say they would welcome gaining information from the web from shelf-edge screens, which could lead to 8% sales uplift, 54% expressed interest in receiving personalised offers – made up of 73% who are keen on touch screens on the shelves and 60% who are interested in store-entrance kiosks, and 44% of people say they would welcome virtual video advisers.
In the US Cisco has been working with DIY business Home Depot to create a ‘kitchen designer’ that involves a high definition video link-up with a specialist who can collaborate with shoppers on creating their kitchens with the help of a web-based application for designing the kitchen layout.
“It previously took six visits to a store to decide on a new kitchen but now it’s down to one or two and the conversion rate is double-digit. It’s big for them [Home Depot] and they are rolling it out and also looking at applying it to other areas of their business,” says Westenberg.
John Lewis in the UK is also experimenting with technology in-store including a ‘Style Me’ virtual mirror that enables the virtual trying on of goods. He says it especially appeals to the double-digit demographic that won’t use changing rooms while also appealing to the notion of trying on clothing very quickly.
“It’s about learning from it. Of the thousand customers who tried it, 67% like it and the staff love it. It increases basket size and helps up-selling. John Lewis has it in two stores and will be rolling it out,” he reveals.
According to Westenberg both these examples hint at how computer generated assets will be at the heart of omni-channel retailing as they take on an “assisted-selling” role in-store. “Digital and interactive experiences improve consumer relevancy and drive revenues,” he says, adding that the simple experiments being undertaken by many retailers today might become the “kernels of growth and the big ideas” of the future for.
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