TOP RETAILERS STILL MAKE MOST OF THEIR REVENUE OFFLINE, BUT DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS STARTING TO HAVE A BIG IMPACT THERE, TOO.
THE MAIN TECHNOLOGY FOCUS in the past two years for retail marketers has been online, with optimising a website or mobile app for increased sales being the primary goal. But what are marketers doing about digital technology in their stores?
Nineteen of the top 20 retailers in the US still record far more sales in their physical stores than online, Amazon being the exception. In Australia, even the best “bricks and clicks” retailers make 85 per cent of their sales in-store.
One overseas retailer to embrace the future is Japan’s Vanquish Ikebukuro PARCO store. At first glance, the screens above its clothes racks seem fairly standard, with traditional fashion photographs displayed. But when you take an itemoff the rack, a video starts up on one of the screens, in which someone models that exact piece of clothing.
Not only have the marketers gained much more of your attention, but the technology can also highlight accessories for that outfit, creating additional sales opportunities.
Virtual mirrors and fitting rooms were first prototyped about three years ago and are now finding their way into fashion stores overseas. Some scan your body measurementswith the accuracy of a tailor and recommend brands to suit your body shape. Others change the colour of the shirt you have just tried on, without you leaving the fitting room. And some will capture you turning from side to side, and replay the video so you can see the fit fromall angles.
All of this adds value to a customer’s in-store experience. It sounds so simple and logical, but in Australia the major fashion and home-goods retailers have been slow to embrace this technology. It’s been 10 years since Telstra stores replaced their paper-based point-of-sale posters with digital screens capable of changing the message based on the time of day and the target audience in the store at that moment. Since then, however, many other retailers have found it easier to find reasons to not take bold steps and lead customers into the future.
But when the Bank of Melbourne launched two years ago, its branches were set up for the customers of today, not yesteryear. Interactive digital screens enabled customers to collate brochure information specific to their needs and email it to themselves to read when they arrived home. No more walking out of the bankwith six different brochures and never quite knowing where the relevant bits are.
The bank also embraced the iPad, with all relevant sales tools loaded on to it, so bank managers can better service customers anywhere in the branch. Similarly, floor staff
When a customer at Japan’s Vanquish Ikebukuro PARCO store makes a selection from the rack, the screen above will display a video featuring that item.