Retail Technology Solutions: Taking a Lead Over Online Shopping

Advancements in technology can be exciting to some and soul-crushing to others. In the face of a juggernaut in the form of online retailers like Amazon, many smaller retailers who can’t afford an online operation may feel like they’re being slowly pushed towards obsolescence. But, should you consider some more innovative retail technology solutions, those passionate business owners couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even in a modern age where websites and online checkout processes load in the click of a mouse and the blink of an eye, physical retailers can still increase foot traffic and business.

All it takes is a change in mentality.

There’s no conceivable way to combat the lightning-quick process of online shopping, so attention needs to be taken away from speed and put towards something only a brick and mortar location can provide: an interactive, immersive experience.

And this is capitalized on by, not speeding up, but slowing down the shopping process! And this is most readily performed with some cleverly employed retail technology solutions.   

Why Slow Down?

shopping mall

At first glance, slowing down can seem rather counterintuitive. After all, wouldn’t streamlining your clients’ experiences lead them to be happier and think more favorably about your store?

Not quite.

If a customer enters your store, makes a b-line for a certain product, pays, and leaves, there isn’t really much opportunity to make an impression. Furthermore, there’s nothing keeping the customer in the store and poking them to purchase more.

Consider a grocery or bookstore that houses a cafe. The goal of that cafe is to keep customers around longer, increasing the likelihood that they’ll purchase more and, most importantly, have them return. IKEA does something very similar with their food court.

Customers browse their aisles, picking out furniture, tire themselves out, and then find respite in the food court where they can rest up before tackling the rest of the warehouse. Customers are happy, they spend more time in the store, and they, more than likely, end up spending more.

For the more number oriented, this slower approach to retail was applied and tested in Origin, a skincare product store, to resounding success. After a simple redesign that prompted customers to linger in store for longer, sales were shown to have increased by 20-40%.

Now that you’re convinced, how do you implement the strategy in your own store?

Utilize “Speed Bump” Displays

digital signage

If your goal is to lead foot traffic from spot to spot, optimizing your store’s layout to help achieve that is a must. The end result of a layout redesign should be two-fold, keeping your customers browsing longer by leading them to multiple sections and enticing them to spend more.

Here is where we see those retail technology solutions we mentioned put into practice. More specifically, we see how a “speed bump” display can perform miracles.

A speed bump display is more or less exactly what it sounds like. It’s a display that’s strategically placed to slow down customers who would otherwise barrel through your aisles in search of their one desired item.

The plan is simple, place a display in one of your more popular sections that advertises an item someone in that section would be likely to also buy. Digital signage is especially effective at functioning like a speed bump display since it can show off moving, changing ads that catch the eye.

Product Highlight: Digital Signage Charging Station

Of course, knowing what kind of ads to feature and where is essential to making the most out of this strategy. Always try to send patrons from one section to the next. If you know the bag section in your store is popular, feature an ad for something that goes with bags. Perhaps jewelry or coats.

Regardless, try and avoid keeping customers in the same place for too long. Don’t use digital signage to advertise a bag in a bag section when you could be directing foot traffic to multiple wings of the store.

So now that we’re embracing the idea of influencing how foot traffic flows, how else can we work towards slowing down the shopping experience?

Make Your In-Store Experience an Immersive One

coffee shop

Retail technology solutions like digital signage are essential in helping keep consumers shopping, but pairing them with a positive in-store experience is a recipe for returning customers. Consider your goal making your location not just a store, but a hangout spot. Capitalize on a social experience that physical stores provide that a website could never replicate.

Not only does this make your store more favorable to online retail, it prompts longer visits which means more purchases.

We mentioned before how IKEA accomplishes this with their food court and cafe. Fortunately there’s a more convenient and cost effective way to achieve this for your own location. Holding events and fun activities are only a few ways to mention a few.

Another solution can be found in a charging station for your customers. Much like IKEA’s food court that gives visitors a chance to catch their breath, a charging station set up in a communal area will keep your customers happy and willingly spending time in your store. Better yet, a charging station that includes customizable digital signage can double as both an accommodation to your guests and a speed bump display!

Innovate With Retail Technology Solutions

Keeping up with online retail is a losing battle. Human error and the process behind purchasing in person is always going to fall short of the optimized one-click-shopping style we see on sites like Amazon. Physical stores need to divert their attention towards delivering the accommodations that only they can provide.

By slowing down the process with retail technology solutions and emphasizing the social aspects of shopping indoors, business owners can enjoy success despite the ever-growing presence of online shopping.