Over the years, the world has witnessed a seismic shift in retail. Recognized companies all over the world are facing a high level of competition. Did you know? According to Deloitte, the minimum retail revenue required to be among the top 250 retail firms in this world is the US $3.5 billion. In such a cutting-edge competitive world where everything changes by the day, it is very important to be abreast of the newest innovations and technological developments.
Let’s take a look at what some companies are doing in order to shift their business model and achieve greater heights. Topshop, a British multinational fashion retailer of clothing, shoes, make-up and accessories, uses virtual reality (VR) fitting rooms built on the most sophisticated technology, augmented reality and Microsoft Kinect. It allows the customers to select garments off the rack without having to physically try them on. In 2015, the Japanese retailer UNIQLO launched its first-ever neuroscience fashion campaign in Australia. The wearable technology, named UMood, suggested clothes from the retailer’s range to match the consumer’s state of mind. Burberry, the market leader in the luxury sector, launched its flagship Regent Street store, dubbed “Burberry World Live”. It brings in the digital experience in stores that offer customers a much richer interaction with the product than is usually expected from online platforms. Art of the Trench, for instance, lets customers download pictures of themselves in the iconic Burberry trench coat. Their investment in digitization is fostering loyalty amongst current customers as well as aspirational potential customers.
To get noticed in the hectic shopping world, brands need to keep coming up ground-breaking ideas. Kate Spade, in collaboration with eBay, uses interactive windows with a large touchscreen display which the passers-by can use 24/7 to swipe through the collection. The check-out process can be carried out on phones and the purchase is delivered for free, within an hour, anywhere in Manhattan.
With the influx of technology, retail stores are transitioning into an interactive and seamless platform that uses adept technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and chatbots to enhance their offerings to the customers. A customer decision journey starts with word-of-mouth; when you hear about the company and their products through your social circle or on some social media platform (both online and offline avenues). Word-of-mouth can only be advocated if the company makes sure that the customer has a great experience. Experience, the most important stage of the customer decision journey, influences a customer’s choices, decisions, and behavior. Here, the interface used by the company to interact with the customer is of utmost importance. The interface must be easy-to-understand and innovative, only then will the customer develop an interest towards the product or service offering.
Similarly, Sharaf DG, UAE’s number one electronics retailer, is revolutionizing the concept of retail by providing Retail As A Service in its stores. Solution Bar is an initiative taken by Sharaf DG to display innovative products from all around the world in a prime space inside its stores. Customers are attended by trained sales executives who make them experience and live the product through every stage, giving them a chance to evaluate the product on various performance metrics, inevitably, making their decision easier. Solution Bar is the perfect culmination of services that benefit both the customers as well as start-ups that are currently catering to niche markets.
The retail market is a tough market to survive in and the companies that manage to succeed the same are constantly discovering, innovating and sustaining. Well, what is your strategy to ensure that your product is exciting to the customer every time they use it? Let us know in the comment box below!