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ANALYSIS Four tech trends that retailers need to adopt to win customer loyalty

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Retailers that integrate technology within a traditional retail space hold the keys to consumer loyalty, according to three separate studies out this week. So just what are they telling retail?

Our team of experts has poured over the many pages of each report and distilled it down for you. Here are four critical trends that retailers need to stay au fait with to keep up with the ever-changing customer behaviour.

The rise of a digital in-store shopper

The recent bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us once again puts a focus on the pressure physical stores experience in the face of digitalisation. In fact, a recent study by Statista suggests that ecommerce sales will grow by 72% in the next three years.

Despite the rise of online shopping, physical stores are still wanted by shoppers. A new report by Mood Media notes that 78% of surveyed shoppers prefer traditional stores because of the ability to see and touch a product in situ. In addition, 67% want items immediately, without having to wait for delivery time.

Although customers still prefer the traditional way of shopping, brick-and-mortar stores will soon cease to be a location for shopping. In five years, a new customer profile will increase its presence by 75%, suggest a recent study by Ipsos. The report says that shoppers will seek simplicity in purchasing journey via new technologies. Ipsos points out that clientele will want to shop in physical stores with new technological advancements serving as an instrument to facilitate their shopping journey.

Augmented reality

With an expansion of AR, shoppers can know if a particular piece of clothing will suit them or how a furniture item would look in their interior space, without them having to visit a physical store. Argos is one of the retailers that bets on this innovation. A few weeks ago, the Top500 Elite retailer introduced a new AR experience on its IOS app, enabling customers to view a variety of TV models in situ via their iPhone and iPad before they buy.

Smart purchase

A new study by Mood Media says that 55% of consumers use a smartphone during their in-store shopping, especially to compare prices and search for offers. Retails must embrace this opportunity by converging online and physical world. This is the case of Hointer, a company that brings the smart showroom to retail.

Hointer proposes stores where only a single sample of each garment of stock is put on display. Customers are able to scan QR codes that appear on the clothing labels with their mobile devices and select the size they want to try. The garments are then sent directly to the dressing room, where a consumer is presented with two channels. One, through which the requested clothing enters and the second through which the clothes they do not want are sent back. Customers are able to pay seamlessly via their smartphone.

The store as a testing domain

The first step to customer loyalty is ensuring that they’re satisfied with a product and it meets their needs. One example of this is Leroy Merlin, which has introduced various DIY workshops in their European stores. Customers are able to learn techniques for repairs and basic installation in their homes with the products that the brand offers in their establishment.

Our view: Retailers must treat technological innovations as a new part of physical store shopping. 

Consumers are choosing retailers that able to turn shopping into an interactive activity that delivers a frictionless experience, which will allow retailers to connect with these clients, gaining their loyalty and increasing the rates of conversion.

Image credit: Fotolia

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