A couple of weeks into 2018 and the all too familiar mixed bag of result announcements for sales over the festive period has begun.
Will they show a pattern between those who utilise retail technology and those that don’t?
Can better deployment of retail technology stop the decline in high street sales?
Despite the best efforts of retail gurus such as Mary Portas, sales on the high street continue to come under severe pressure. Undoubtedly, there are many factors at play Brexit, the internet and lots more. Note these always tend to be outside factors. Macro-environmental elements which are offered as reasons for the poor performance but could it be something more fundamental. Does the high street offer what the consumer wants?
Ever found yourself looking at a retailer’s website while standing in their shop?
The need to reduce costs becomes a big focus when sales are in decline often leading to a reduction in both, sales personnel and stock. Product variations, as well as units all, get matched to a lower volume level which in turn reduces consumer choice. But as is always the way the one you want is the one they don’t have sending you to the website to see if it’s available online. You did try to find a sales assistant to advise but alas one couldn’t be found.
Many retailers have gone some way to integrate online with bricks and mortar, but perhaps they haven’t gone far enough. What if self-service kiosks were more prominent and plentiful within retail locations? What if rather than searching on the web to find the item (where you could spot an alternative with a competitor) you were offered the opportunity to search the entire stock throughout the retailer’s network in store. Then given the ability to check out there and then, having the item delivered to either your home or the best store for you that day or next day free of charge? Of course, this solution requires investment but the pay off in increased dwell time as well as sales must be highly possible.
Make sure inventory is on the shelves with point-of-sale solutions that connect the showroom to merchandising and inventory management; and communications tools that make it easy for you to locate and engage your staff.
Does high street shopping still offer a thrill?
Shopping centres and high streets have without a doubt changed. They have become leisure destinations where consumers spend time eating, drinking and socialising. But what of retail shops? Has the in-store experience kept pace with the consumers changing habits? Clearly several have, but they tend to be the single brand outlets who see retail as part of the marketing effort and not necessarily a point of distribution such as Apple and Samsung. Both these consumer technology giants see retail as product experience, a place where the customers can touch and feel the product as well as receive expert advice. Sales are a bonus.

If the consumer’s journey involves hunting for the perfect item themselves, judging if the product is right for them on their own and having access to a choice less than that offered online, what added-value is being given compared to that of the web? There’s so many gadgets, widgets and Apps available that could revolutionise every in-store experience. Employment of smart technology could be the answer to making the shopping experience the thrill that it once delivered.

Captivate your audience with powerfully innovative touchscreen products designed to engage.

Are high street brands making the right connection?
Undoubtedly, for most people the mobile phone is an integral part of our daily lives. It has become our single most important device for our communication, entertainment, and shopping. Many retailers are very prominent on the internet, social media and emails. Promoting offers, products, and stories about their business. But how many contacts with you at what must be the most valuable moment, when you are standing in their shop? Receiving information on a discount, offer or new product stocked when you are actually in the location where you can make a purchase must give the best potential of return. And yet how many carry this out?
Guest WiFi is about more than just providing Internet access, it is an opportunity for your visitors to engage with your brand.
The very item that’s fundamental to delivering added-value, enhanced shopping experience, and digital marketing opportunities is the solution lacking within the retail environment, connectivity. None of the smart retail technology can provide the designed benefits without the correct internet connectivity. Like the house that’s built correctly laying the right foundations will ensure a stable environment.
Integrated solution enables enhanced guest experiences while delivering the rich intelligence required to drive business decisions and increase customer loyalty.
Get this right, and you’ve taken the first substantial step to guarantee the survival of your high street brand.
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ISG Technology would be delighted to help.