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The time is now for in-store retailers to get digital

  • Posted on April 26, 2016

Retailers

Online retailers have developed a huge advantage over the traditional brick and mortars. Thanks to giants such as Amazon, online sellers can deliver a speedy, easy and convenient experience, tailored specifically to customers, and optimized at every step thanks to the data and analytics. This all adds up to a powerful incentive to take wallets online – one that shoppers have come to demand.

But don’t lose all hope. In-store retailers have something the online giants can’t offer: an engaging, in-person experience.

Despite that unique trait, in-store retailers need to start acting more like a digital business, and combine the best of both worlds, if they want to survive. They need to employ the best practices available to online sellers, alongside a memorable real life experience.

The time perhaps couldn’t be any better for retailers to make this leap and create the modern, connected retail experience.

For one, the technologies needed to make this happen are now accessible to merchants of all sizes. Innovations with The Internet of Things technologies, such as webcams, RFID sensors, and so on, have hit rock bottom prices. On top of this, consumer technologies are proving incredibly effective, with things such as Microsoft’s Kinect camera and software doing wonders for spatial recognition, engagement and analytics. We’ve also all grown our aptitudes with online analytics, and developed strong solutions that can be ported over to the in-store world.

Today is also the most mobile and connected consumers have ever been. Gartner says that by 2018 consumers will own up to 3 mobile devices, each. Meanwhile, 52% of all online sales are now driven entirely on a hand-held device.

This month, Avanade showed just how powerful this digital-connect retail experience can be at Microsoft’s Envision event. There, we showcased our Supermarket of the Future concept, developed alongside Accenture and Coop Italia. Using Kinect cameras, digital screens and analytics, not only are we giving shoppers a unique experience. But we’re empowering the supermarket to act like an online retailer – optimizing store layout based on foot-traffic, and understanding consumer demand and demographics on a granular level.

We’re also working on some other exciting projects with retailers in other industries. For example, we’re helping cosmetic brands let shoppers “try on” endless combinations of make-up, using augmented reality. And we are bringing faster service and customization to time intensive shopping processes like fitting for eye-glasses, or even medical devices.

The time is now for all retailers to start thinking digital. Online sellers have proven how powerful a personalized journey can be. In store sellers can now do the same thing – but add a unique, human touch while they are at it.

Amy

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May 19, 2016

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