The Future of Digital Retail

Recently I attended AIMIA’s “The Future of Digital Retail” event. There were a few interesting take aways from it – one of the main ones was how retailers are using digital to enhance their brick and mortar stores.

Retailers understand that brick and mortar stores are not dying, there is always a case for people wanting to touch and feel products before buying. At least for the next period of time. So with digital being such a dominant force still, there is a large case for the digital world to enter the brick and mortar store. There are many reasons for this.

The first and most powerful reason is analytics. Say that you own a brick and mortar store, you have no way to know who’s been in and bought what. This presents a massive hole in the selling process in comparison to online shopping.

When people buy online it’s easy to track interest in products, who bought what and up-sell products to them that are in line with what they already purchased. Putting this into a store environment is very powerful. A good example of this in practice is Coles Flybuys program. When you purchase with products at Coles and scan your Flybuys card they associate that purchase with your Flybuys account. This means that they can notify you each week which items you often purchase are on special. This encourages you to go into Coles and do your grocery shop with them every week.

There are many other creative ways to get this information – from creating an app that interacts with products in store to give extra information through to providing exclusive discounts if you scan an items barcode in store.

The second is creating buzz through social media and other avenues via your retail store. This could come in the form of allowing people to share products from within the store, to displaying what are the most popular items are from social media within the store.

Retailers are falling behind on taking advantage of digital in their stores, there are so many things that can be done and retailers need to start thinking outside the box to bring digital into their stores.

Up next: Lest We Forget – Evolution Is Your Friend

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