Last updated: Consumers aren’t abandoning stores, they’re just using them differently

Consumers aren’t abandoning stores, they’re just using them differently


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

Shoppers still want to go out and look at things, they still want to touch and inform themselves, but that doesn’t mean they’ll make their purchase in the store.

This development was partially enforced by such brick-and-mortar retailers that are now suffering from innovations they helped to establish. By creating online shops, an absolute necessity to remain competitive, retailers reached the point where their very own web shops, in a way, became their toughest competitors.

Customers have grown accustomed to using technology while shopping. If there is no guidance provided in that respect by the shops, customers will find their own way and this may or may not be beneficial for the retailer.

The retail space gets turned into a mere showroom, leaving it entirely up to the customer to decide where to buy at best, in the stores web shop, and, at worst, from an online marketplace like Amazon.

Are retailers themselves driving the abandonment of their shops by not taking steps to innovate?

The digitization of the physical retail space and consciously designing shops as showrooms, instead of using valuable space just to keep stock, could be a possible answer. By engaging customers through attractions, entertainment, digital information, and the still very relevant human component, they might be persuaded to buy where they feel comfortable.

Although the changing room scenario here looks like a solution especially designed for a fashion store, it is merely a prototype meant to demonstrate the usage of RFID technology. While following a generic approach when exploring various technologies, the labs team will specify a showcase to make an idea more tangible. The main focus lies on illuminating opportunities to innovate anywhere in the world of retail.

Currently, SAP Hybris labs is concentrating on the digitization of the physical retail space. The labs team works to combine the benefits of both the digital and the physical world. The changing-room scenario provides an excellent example, merging personal (conventional) with digital customer service to solve an every-day problem.

The relevance of digitization goes beyond satisfying customers. IoT technology lets retailers gather information on how customers interact with products before the moment of purchase. This kind of real-time data was previously only available online. But by connecting products and inventory (like changing rooms and shelves) to the Internet through RFID, NFC, BLE, or any other sensors it is possible to create what Hybris labs likes to refer to as a “physical web page.”

Individualizing customer engagement through loyalty programs is another area in which digitization offers new opportunities. If a customer chooses to identify himself by actively opting to have his presence and also his product interactions detected, retailers could combine information from online and offline stores to better understand their customers shopping behavior.

An RFID loyalty card, as it is shown in the changing room scenario, could be a subtle tool to accomplish such an idea without intruding into the customers privacy beyond a point that creates discomfort. The control over the initial production of data lies in the hands of the customer and is simple to understand. This does put a little more pressure on retailers to convince their customers of the benefits, but the effort may well be a valuable investment.

Every digital moment matters.
Are you making the most of them?

1,000 business leaders dish on how to stand out from the crowd with a great CX. Get the details HERE. 

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with