Omnichannel technology is advancing at a surprising pace, and many retailers have already started applying solutions that seemed like science fiction only a few years ago. Jaume Portell, Beabloo’s CEO, reviews three rising trends used by major retailers that will undoubtedly shape the way shoppers buy in brick-and-mortar stores in the next few years.
- Personalized ads
“You’re used to seeing ads tailored to your profile when you browse online. Why can’t this happen in the real world too?” asks Portell. Tailoring advertising messages is key to their success and thanks to a combination of digital signage and facial recognition software, retailers like Mango and British supermarket chain Tesco are already starting to display personalized content with the same precision as e-commerce.
“It will be increasingly common to find screens displaying messages tailored to the viewer’s age and gender,” says the CEO of Beabloo, one of the tech pioneers in developing digital signage using facial detection technology.
- Interactive information systems
Consumers are increasingly aware of environmental and social issues and want to find out as much as possible about what they are buying. This is why a variety of technologies allowing them to satisfy their thirst for knowledge and that simultaneously improve their experience have been developed. “You have to remember that it can be difficult to draw a line between advising and overwhelming customers with too much information,” explains Portell. With local businesses, guidance can be provided organically, but for supermarkets, it’s impossible to support customers while they shop without being too intrusive. Or it was.
For Portell, Amazon Go has demonstrated that mobile devices are a fantastic tool for guiding customers.” In Amazon’s physical grocery store, customers use their mobile as a system that provides information and as a payment method. This technology maximizes available space, provides better stock control, and makes it easier to manage checkout lines, as well as many other benefits.
Along these lines, Beabloo has presented an alternative solution that doesn’t require customers to use their own device: integrating a tablet into the shopping cart. As shoppers move through the store, they receive messages about the products around them. “With this technology, retailer stores can suggest products and communicate their news and promotions in a discreet, effective and even entertaining way,” underlines the founder of the Barcelona-based firm.
Interactive readers are another major breakthrough solution. These scanners are installed at several points throughout the store. When shoppers scan an item, a digital screen projects information about the product for them. Zara is just one of the brands already using this tool. Its new flagship store in the heart of Madrid has been installed with a garment management system using RFID technology, allowing customers and employees to discover more about the products. The details available include cross-selling suggestions, the origin of the materials, the stock available in-store, etc.
- Instant feedback
All of the technology mentioned place consumers at the center of the purchasing cycle, but retailers won’t be able to provide a completely satisfactory experience if they don’t give users the opportunity to express themselves. Customers want to know that their opinions matter and have a direct impact on how a business operates.
“Interactive customer surveys are a very effective and increasingly common way of solving this issue,” says Portell. When customers leave the premises, they are presented with a message on a touch screen that encourages them to express their level of satisfaction with the products or service. Ikea is one of the multinationals using these systems and various stores belonging to the Swedish chain have installed tablets on a stand at the exit.
Omnichannel marketing is no longer a forecast, it’s a reality. If a business wants to survive and grow in the digital era, it must use technologies that allow it to create added-value, customer-focused experiences that provide information about consumer preferences and habits.