The globalization and the success of the ecommerce such as Amazon and Aliexpress, have generated economic losses on retailers, especially for physical stores. Is this the beginning of the end? Nothing could be further from the truth. But what can stores do to reinvent themselves? Introduce technology, personalize the shopping experience and incorporate digital techniques that will take physical retail to the next step: exclusivity.
From Atrivity we know it's complicated to find good tips that help to compete with the strength imposed by online, but we have tried to collect 6 pieces of advices that can be useful in future retail strategies.
#1 Create a fan community!
Physical stores of the next few years should present a design focused on experience and not on sale. Creativity, technology and the use of space will be conceived to create a unique and positive experience at the point of sale. The ultimate goal is to transform the physical store into a space oriented to loyalty and find affinity with customers, creating a community of fans of the brand.
The store should be a space for meeting and carrying out activities related to the lifestyle of the brand. By creating community, the physical store will be positioned as the space where customers can find, enjoy, comment and interact with the products.
#2 Train your salespeople to tell stories
Retail experts such as Doug Stephens says 75% of customers prefer human interaction, especially in the final stages of the purchasing process. Having well-trained salespeople in your store will make the difference between a bad, normal or fantastic experience. According to Stephens, "The future role of salespeople in physical stores will no longer be to sell but to tell stories about the brand or product that enthuse the customer".
In order to properly train employees, companies must have simple technologies that are both used and liked. We must not forget that the seller's job is to sell, but to do so competitively in the future, salespeople must provide value to the client. This value must be offered by the company.
Applications like Atrivity help companies train employees with information about your product features and tell them stories they can quickly assimilate thanks to game dynamics. These are the tools that meet the objectives: to enhance any training and / or communication action and motivate employees in store to become experts.
#3 Offer visibility of Social Networks in your store
Nowadays, it is very common to go into an online store and find in the Home people publishing things about the brand. This relational factor between sales and social networks present in the online environment is transferred to the physical establishments. Omnicanality is a reality, but introducing screens in stores and linking them to social networks in real time offers a true customer experience and brings the brand closer to its audience.
There are also ways to connect your customer, store and social networks to a sale. For example, Forever21 offers a 21% discount to all customers who post a photo with clothes from the store on their social networks and present it at the pay-desk in the store. Smart, isn't it? The key is to take advantage of the recurrent use of society networks and offer an advantageous relationship that links customers - stores - social network.
#4 Innovates in the payment system and connects with the current customer
The shop of the future will be a dynamic space in which new payment systems will be applied and in which things will be closer and integrated with the environment. The form of payment will be an extra point in the new shopping experience. To offer alternatives according to the technology of the moment will be mandatory if the store wants to subsist in a demanding ecosystem and in constant change. From payment by mobile phone, express financing without paperwork thanks to blockchain, or even eye payments will be the most common methods to proceed with payments for purchases.
#5 Trust in Digital Signage and dynamize your store
Technology is reconfiguring the experience of people at the physical point of sale. Several studies state that 95% of users know what can interact with the screens inside the stores and 74% do it or have done it. In the creation of experiences, interaction is an important factor; the key is to favour a multi-screen environment, where mobile technologies are combined to launch actions that encourage the consumer to participate naturally with the screens and thus generate the desired engagement. This is known as Digital Signage.
#6 Customize the purchase with Surge Pricing and take the leap into the future
To attract customers, physical stores use innovative techniques that offer a more personalized shopping experience. A resource that will have great relevance in the coming years will be the dynamic pricing. But what is it? It is about not having a rigid price policy but one that varies in real time, considering external and personal factors. For example, is today's climate rainy? Well, it gives an offer in your products for the rain... You detect that it is a client's birthday? Offer them a special price.
The future of Surge Pricing will be completely redefined thanks to the consolidation of Artificial Intelligence and the use of BigData in retail. The correct use of the data will help to establish a fully customized pricing policy to the environment in which the product is found. Prices will be established according to customers and their consumer behaviour to offer the most appropriate price at the right time.
Conclusions on 6 Pieces of Advice for Retail Success.
The Retail sector is at a point where an action is needed to cope with the changing and technological environment. The stores of the future are going to become a portal between the physical and the digital world, in addition being more malleable and more sociable. Stores are going to focus in general in positive experiences, in taking advantage of data generated from virtual assistants and Artificial Intelligence, in automating processes with robots, in the creation of brand and involving employees in all of this.
You can apply all the advices correctly but they will only be successful if you add them with the necessary training to the sales team. Let's not forget that the future of physical retail despite the thousand of innovations that arise and the multitude of tools that enhance it, will continue to be a personal point of contact between a representative of the brand and a potential customer. The success of this contact will always be conditioned by the intervention of the seller and his way of selling the brand and its values. Therefore, if we bet on the future, we bet on the training, motivation and empowerment of the shop assistant.