To facilitate an in-depth understanding of customers, digital technology should be employed as such that existing issues are solved, and needs are met. Technology should aim to add value and has long passed the point of being an end in itself. Self-service check-outs plus tracking & tracing online orders are the most frequently used services, demonstrating that the ultimate goal are convenient, fast, and flexible process flows. But even a digital shopping experience is becoming more relevant. In-store digital media are primarily defined by a large measure of interactivity and mobility. Digital signage (digital display systems) is fixed and not interactive while virtual shopping shelves animate buyers to interact, drawing on in-built inspiration. The mobile assistant allows for a personalised, interactive shopping experience. Smartphones in particular open the way to new, mobile services along the customer journey.
About the author:
Mailin Schmelter is the Strategic Insights Team Leader and Assistant Division Managerof Customer Insights at IFH KÖLN and the ECC KÖLN brand based there. In addition to strategic issues, she is primarily involved in individual market research and consulting projects focusing on the customer experience, cross-channel strategies, the customer journey and payment
Digitalisation is the number one topic these days. Never has the subject been this much talked about. It has changed the way we live and how we do things. People are working from home, children are learning with the help of a tablet, and shopping sprees now happen online. It therefore comes as no surprise that the retail trade journeyed into the world of all things digital a long time ago. A growing number of consumers are very well informed by the time they reach the stores – so a shop's interior and the shopping experience must live up to their high expectations. Also, the rivalry with e-commerce is still on the up and technological developments offer new potential. Especially at the point of sale where customers and technology meet, there are a range of possibilities such as cash-free payment transactions, self-service check-outs, electronic shelf labels or Augmented Reality and interactive changing rooms to turn this crucial retail hub into an exciting and efficient experience.
Competition in the digital age has become more intensive, differentiated, and innovative. To allow for a customer-centric buying experience, it is indispensable to cater to the needs of customers, to implement new services, and optimise internal process flows – especially at the point of sale. But expectations as to in-store digital technology are high: After all, well-informed shoppers expect even better-informed sales assistants.
One defined goal should be to place a customer's respective needs at the centre of activity. Using digital technology, customer data can be collected in order to create additional information and wishes, thereby further optimising the service offer. Product management also benefits considerably: The product range can expand virtually, and products can be customised. The offer of such an integrated shopping experience increases customer satisfaction and hence loyalty for a shop while increasing the time spent on location. On the other hand, it creates the possibility for businesses to specifically and flexibly display merchandise, improve processes efficiently and obtain additional information on customers using new technology to lastingly optimise the quality of service. Not least because of a customer-centric business strategy is it also possible to save costs.