More High Street stores should adopt digital signage and interactive tablets to better compete with etail, says Box Technologies' head of business solutions Jason Glynne in this opinion piece.
Online retail has grown significantly over the last 10 years. In fact, we’re spending more money online than ever before. According to Euromonitor, online retail was worth £42 billion in 2014, an increase of 17 per cent from the previous year.
While some technology and electronics retailers are bolstering their e-commerce offerings and replicating their brand experience online, the market remains intensely competitive. Even though the emergence of the omnichannel shopping environment has made some retailers more competitive against purely e-commerce traders, there are still challenges and tough trading conditions to overcome.
This is particularly clear in the depth and quality of information that online retailers can gather and use to better understand their customers and their buying behaviour. This information, coupled with the use of web-based tools, provides online retailers with extensive opportunities to create up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, something that bricks and mortar store operators are missing out on.
What traditional retailers do have, however, is the physical, interactive in-store experience that online companies cannot replicate. But many High Street retailers have fallen behind when it comes to the adoption of technology in store and online.
Digital signage is the perfect example of in-store technology. For PC retailers especially, digital signage is cost-effective and dynamic, and can be used to communicate their brand, promotions and product information across the store. It also adds an element of engagement and interaction to the in-store experience.
Digital signage can easily be scaled across a retailer’s store network and real-time content can be scheduled remotely from single or multiple locations, creating a private, own branded channel.
However, one of the most beneficial technologies that can be used in store is the interactive tablet. Sales assistants equipped with handheld devices can walk through the store, answer queries, check stock information and share product data with customers. In some cases they can even complete the sales transaction on the shop floor with payment-enabled tablets, taking the pain out of standing in long queues.
These tablets not only enhance customer engagement, but provide sales assistants with more opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell.
In the ongoing battle between so-called traditional retailers and online stores, delivering the best possible customer experience will be one of the decisive factors helping to build and maintain brand loyalty.
Regardless of whether that is online or in a physical store, technology has a definite role to play, especially in such a fast-paced and dynamic market.
About the author
Jason Glynne is head of business solutions at retail consulting, technical and support services provider Box Technologies.