Self-service endpoints are not data islands awaiting buyer discovery. Instead, they are part of an omnichannel data stream that integrates mobile, online, and other POS contact points. This is just one of many ways to learn about how interactive retail technology not only empowers consumers with their shopping experience, but also gives them a more personal connection to products.
Empowering the consumer
Empowering the consumer is now part of every brand manager's textbook. However, you can see that the journey to this shopping utopia is just beginning. The learning process requires a new level of information sharing among all stakeholders in the retail shopping experience.
Self-service terminals, an expanding contact point in the retail landscape, cannot be deployed in a vacuum. They are part of the omnichannel architecture of a retail organization. They should serve the consumer in ways that support the reseller's goals.
Anna Duffy, marketing strategist and brand culture ambassador for a major American restaurant chain, Taziki's Mediterranean Café, said it was important not to have a "smeared" approach to different sales channels, in this case, in-store, line and mobile. Digitizing retail information is breaking down departmental barriers, but it is also giving relevance to physical stores at a time when they are generally declining.
Capital One, for example, America's eighth largest commercial bank, has opened cafes where consumers can not only get financial information, they can enjoy refreshments, recharge their phones and use Wi-Fi for free. Andrew Winninger, the company's business development manager, said the bank evaluates how many consumers buy coffee compared to how many accounts they open. He said removing posters from the walls, typical of banks, was the most successful thing for consumers to want to visit coffee shops.
While it is too early to call Capital One's cafes a success, changes that require collective effort between the company's departments are needed to engage today's "connected" consumer.
Let's get physical
The importance of physical stores is always cited by marketers and professionals who study consumer behavior. They mention that many tech-savvy people still like to shop in physical stores.
In fact, this perception was even more evident when a major trade show in Nebraska, USA in early 2017 brought together influential attendees, businesses and consumers to discuss how technology is impacting what were once distinct aspects of the retail buying paradigm. . 82% of millennials (Generation Y) said it was important to have physical stores, compared with 69% of Generation X representatives and 65% of baby boomers.
Millennials do their research online, but for higher value items they want to touch the merchandise before buying. Once they're in the store, they don't want to open their browsers on their smartphones or download apps because they don't want their actions to be tracked. The physical store paradoxically gives them privacy.
Retail strategists have come a long way in trying to understand how to integrate physical stores with digital touch points. The younger generation - the generation of the future - wants good value for their money, easy payment methods, personal privacy and some social participation.
A high order for retail stakeholders, no doubt, as the journey has just begun.
Source: Elliot Maras Editor of KioskMarketplace.com