In the physical world, consumers become engaged with brands through their senses. Online, they become empowered through information and inspiration. How can retailers efficiently blur the worlds of online and offline to bridge these two experiences together?
Connective technology exists to do exactly that. This powerful technology – often seen in the form of a QR code – can be the catalyst brands need to bring a hybrid experience to life. Through connected technology, customers can discover a product's origin and authenticity using QR codes. They can track product availability and inventory with radio frequency tags. Product Cloud platforms can seamlessly bring all of these pieces together. And all the supply chain data becomes owned first-party data and authentic content.
Retailers who aren’t embracing these changes and adjusting their marketing mix will ultimately get left behind — so make sure to join our retail newsletter list to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news!
Here are three ways brands can start incorporating connected technology into their business strategy.
Brands should assess their existing technology and customer data strategies to learn how they could easily incorporate connected retail into their current business. Through this audit of CRM data, brands will uncover inspiring customer insights to prioritize opportunities. Do shoppers value sustainability and ethics when it comes to a purchasing decision? Or do they want digital services when in-store?
From there, a holistic plan can be designed that details business goals, brand congruence, UX guidelines, content creation and technology capabilities — all in alignment to bring connected products to life. It’s vital to take an omni-channel approach as this technology cannot be siloed to one area of the business.
Find top technology and platform partners who can establish a strong foundation to implement a memorable connected retail experience.
Consider what digital experiences meet marketing engagement goals — how do connected products enhance the customer journey? Leverage data in 1:1 marketing strategy and create a strategy based off supply chain and customer behavior data that is already available.
Push the boundaries and expand use cases of connected retail experience into new territory based on business goals, customer expectations and industry trends. This will build a competitive edge and from there, brands can activate a roadmap of opportunities such as deepening and scaling data collection, refining eCommerce use cases, exploring VR/AR and other emerging technologies.
Finally, brands should develop a measurement strategy based upon retail touch points and use these learnings to define new efforts.
MERGE conducted a shopper study to identify a journey map, opportunities and purchasing decisions as a use case for brands. Respondents were between 18 years old and 57 years old and shopping behaviors included both online and offline experiences.
This study revealed areas of opportunity to use connected products and create a better customer experience:
- Create personalized virtual try-ons. The ability to see garments on high-level body measurements (height, waist, hips, bust) gave shoppers a personalized experience and easier decision-making when it comes to purchasing. For brands, this technology captures customer data and ultimately can help plan future products by understanding the fit and look on real customers.
- Provide inventory visibility. Connected products allow the ability to check on products in store while the customer is shopping. This technology gives product recommendations and tailors the experience to the customer. Brands should build an efficient system by tracking live inventory updates while reducing discrepancies in stock. This rewards customer loyalty and responds to the demand for availability.
- Design a fast and easy check out. Garments and other products can be equipped with an RFID tag that translates product information to a smart basket at check-out. Customers just need to place items into the basket, click pay and head out! This process maximizes the chance of a sale while providing a delightful experience.
MERGE’s team of experts are here to help bring connective technology to life for brands because retail therapy is real — don't miss out on building stronger connections with your shoppers throughout their buying journey. Contact us today to get started.