A woman in a purple top seated at a café table, using a smartphone to browse online sites to find people with whom she’s lost touch, with a laptop open in front of her, in a

Technology has transformed the way we shop. With access to countless goods at the click of a button, consumers now have much more power than their counterparts of yesteryear. They can enjoy the convenience of making purchases online and they can compare and contrast deals within an instant. This might be great news for shoppers, but it’s made things much more difficult for brick and mortar retailers, who now face stiff competition not only from rivals on the high street but also from firms operating online. This has encouraged stores to up their game and provide their customers with more creative and convenient in-store experiences. In other words, it has led to the rise of experiential retail.

Digital domination

To persuade people to part with their cash in their stores, an increasing number of retailers are turning to interactive, high-tech solutions, and digital signage can be the cornerstone of this strategy. Point of sale installation and maintenance specialists CJ Retail Solutions note that these systems now come in forms as diverse as interactive flat-panel displays and huge signs that are the size of buildings. Digital signs enable companies to communicate with their customers in real time, providing them with details of the latest products and deals. They also look sleek and modern.
Other savvy retail solutions include everything from augmented reality features to guided selling applications, touch-screen information kiosks and self-service checkouts. In addition, retailers can now use applications like iBeacon to engage with consumers via the web as soon as they enter their stores.

With the help of innovative retail features like these, brick and mortar outlets stand a much better chance of securing their long-term success.

The importance of innovation

It’s not hard to see why shops are so determined to enhance the customer experience. Online shopping is expanding at a phenomenal rate, and high street retailers risk getting left behind if they fail to ride the digital wave. Highlighting this fact, a study funded by RetailMeNot has suggested that ecommerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe. The research also revealed that online sales in the UK reached £44.97 billion last year and it predicted this figure will climb to £52.25 in 2015.

In the face of this onslaught by web-based vendors, traditional retailers simply can’t afford to sit back and see what happens. If they want to secure their long-term success, they have to pull out all the stops and offer their customers an engaging, fun and convenient in-store experience that keeps them coming back for more.

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Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

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