Offering in-store technology that allows consumers to interact with products and brands is a vital part of the multichannel retail experience, a tech expert argued this week.
Touch screens which enable access to product and store information can help provide a “seamless customer experience” that boosts shopper loyalty and subsequently increases sales, according to Director of Client Solutions at HP Personal Systems Group Kobi Elbaz.
Encouragingly, his comments come at a time when retailers appear to be following this route, with the recent opening of the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London defined by new store design concepts and interactive tech systems.
While department store group John Lewis’s store at the site allows consumers to test electricals products for the first time in any of its shops, others have gone a step further with the launch of innovative technology to aid the customer experience.
Fashion retailer Republic, for example, has unveiled the MiMirror, which allows shoppers to capture images of different products and see what they look like in certain outfits without even trying the clothing on.
Facilities provided by the Toshiba Tec system then allow consumers to share these images with friends and family via social media or email, enhancing the social shopping experience.
Meanwhile home & DIY specialist Homebase has reported positive findings from its trial of digital screens in one of its Kent stores. The portals allow customers to upload photographs of their homes, and visualise how they would look when decorated with the retailer’s products.
HP argues that European retailers must continue to innovate with the in-store retail experience if they are to grow their businesses in such a tough economic environment; but to be a real success they must link all channels, be it in-store, mobile or online.
“It’s clear that the experience in the physical store is critical to a shoppers’ final purchasing decision and retailers must combine the best of in-store, online and mobile services and offerings to provide seamless cross-channel experiences in-store,” explained Elbaz.
“Many retailers are realising that the integration of all these elements will create unique shopping experiences that will encourage customers to browse, learn more about products, and encourage them to return and buy.”