The New Age of Pocket Personal ShoppersShelby Ladenheim |
The other day I was looking for a pair of shoes at one of my favorite upscale department stores, but unfortunately they didn’t have the color I wanted. Instead of seeking out an employee, I scanned the barcode with my Nordstrom app and it told me that the latter store carried the same pair in the right color in my size. Naturally I left the store, walked across the mall, and Nordstrom got my business.
More and more frequently retailers are turning to different forms of in-store technology to differentiate their shopping experience. I came across an article that mentioned Nordstrom is talking about installing iPads in their dressing rooms, equipped with an app that acts as a personal shopper. This way customers get the attention they need, without having to feel pressured by a salesperson. The dressing room isn’t the only area where stores are experimenting with technology. Macy’s did a pilot test with Apple’s iBeacon to enable customers who walked into their New York City store to receive deals, discounts, and recommendations on their smart phones—depending on where they were in the store.
A study done by RSR shows that when it comes to shopping, consumers don’t see channels; retailers either address consumers’ lifestyle needs or they don’t. It’s not about creating a flashy application or a complex website; it’s about making the customer’s life easier. Stores that integrate digital and mobile experiences into their brick-and-mortar stores seem to be the ones ahead of the curve. Especially with smartphones, customers are able to bring the personalized experience of an online site into the store. The retailers who create solutions that require minimal effort from the customer will be the most successful.
These technologies are still rather new and it will be interesting to see which ones resonate most with customers and set the bar for all other retailers.