Retail’s Digital Transformation: Merging the Online and In-Store Experience
Conventional wisdom might tell us that online sales are eroding in-store revenues. No doubt, many U.S. consumers are heading online to make their purchases. Individuals spent an average of $1,542 per year in the virtual retail space back in 2015 and this e-commerce spending is expected to increase to $2,109 by 2021. It comes as no surprise that the uptick of online sales is impacting the traditional retail establishments. In 2016 alone, more than 6,000 stores were forced to close their doors for good.
However, despite these numbers, brick and mortar stores still hold an important place in the hearts and minds of consumers. In fact, surveys show that 85 percent of retail buyers prefer to shop at physical stores. Retailers just need to give them a reason to do so.
So how do retailers reconcile the love of shopping in person with the allure of online purchasing? The answer: Cater to tech-savvy consumer expectations and deliver a retail experience that is revolutionized by technology.
Sophisticated retailers are giving customers what they want by making their digital transformation a priority and it all starts with the enabling technologies that make exciting applications possible. Here’s how a retail transformation starts:
- Wireless and wired infrastructure is integrated to support mobile and fixed connectivity to the Internet (as well as to a corporate network).
- Cloud and on-premises solutions are installed to assure consistent and constant support and maintenance.
- Security configuration and infrastructure are set up to achieve PCI compliance for cloud-based or on-premise equipment along with the ability to support guest and enterprise BYOD.
- Carrier Services are chosen that secure Internet and WAN services for guest and enterprise use.
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon hardware is configured for wayfinding in the facility.
To create this new environment, Black Box collaborates with retailers to implement a dynamic digital plan that produces an Intelligent Retail Space, which is a new, noticeable and consistent shopping experience.
The upside to making this transformation is abundant and immediately clear. It allows for:
- In-store navigation is at users’ fingertips. Using apps similar to Google Maps, customers can leverage their devices to enjoy straightforward access through a store and find products in a snap.
- Shopper personalization becomes simple. One-on-one and real-time understanding of each buyer’s shopping habits can create a wealth of opportunity. This helps make sure that customers get the products they desire and, in turn, builds long-term loyalty.
- More efficient point of sale (POS) transactions. Mobile checkout not only simplifies the process for consumers, but also frees up employees to assist other customers rather than being anchored to a cash register.
Brick-and-mortar stores can compete with online competitors – and it’s easier than you might be led to believe. It just requires the right guidance from the right people with access to the right technology.
Thanks to our friends at Black Box for the post !