Technology is everywhere. The retail experience is no exception. In-store technology not only changes how shoppers interact with brands but also influences their buying behaviors and decisions. In this piece, we delve into how in-store technology is molding consumer behavior and the subsequent implications.
The Influence of In-store Technology on Customer Behavior
Retail technology is changing the way consumers behave in stores in several ways including:
- Consumers are becoming more impatient.
Shoppers want the convenience of self-service. They don't want to wait in line, and they don't want to have to deal with complex processes. As a result, they are increasingly using self-checkout kiosks and mobile payments. Shoppers also want access to locked products in-store. They don’t want to wait for a store associate to “grab & go”. Technology like Darko’s ShopperAccess provides consumers with safe, convenient access to valuable products in-store.
- Consumers are becoming more informed.
It seems like everyone uses smartphones to research products before they go shopping. They use social media to share their experiences with other consumers. This means that they are more likely to be well-informed about the products they are buying, and they are less likely to be influenced by in-store sales tactics. There is however a need to also empower shoppers by offering them self-guided experiences to learn more while in-store as a recent study found that 82% of shoppers check phones in store before purchasing.
“Connected retail displays provide brands and retailers with a platform to update and provide information to shoppers at the point-of-sale. Whether via an interactive screen, touch buttons or QR codes, shoppers can be directed to the information that best fulfills their needs during the purchase decision journey. We have collaborated with brands including Roku, Arlo and Thermador to deliver the best-connected experiences for shoppers in-store.” - Dean Rinicella, President Darko
- Consumers are becoming more demanding.
They expect a personalized in-store experience, and they are willing to use technology to get it. A variety of technologies are being used to exchange digital content with shoppers including Near Field Communication (NFC) and beacon technology. Both technologies are employed to engage with nearby smart devices to communicate localized marketing or promotional messages. An example would be a shopper receiving individualized product recommendations based on prior or planned purchases. In turn, these technologies, along with sensor-tech, provide brands and retailers with trackable information about customers' in-store movements and how they can better customize the buying experience.
AR and other mixed reality techs are also trending as a way for shoppers to engage with products. Mobile AR is the most popular where shoppers can superimpose visuals onto themselves or their surroundings simply by using their personal device. For example, shoppers can see how different cosmetics blend with their skin-tone, right at the shelf. Note that augmented reality (AR) is much easier to implement than virtual reality (VR) because AR is available on smartphones, while VR requires specialized hardware.
“AR provides shoppers with a glimpse of what a product might look like on them or in their space. It builds confidence in the at-shelf purchase decision and is one of the most shopper-centric forms of omni-channel marketing.” Lisa Parks, Director of Marketing for Darko.
- Consumers are becoming more engaged.
Retail technology can be used to create more engaging and interactive shopping experiences. For example, mixed reality technologies (AR & VR) enable consumers to see how products look in their homes. Or they can use them to take a virtual tour of a store before they even arrive. This keeps customers engaged and interested in the omni-shopping experience. It blends the digital world of on-line with the physical world of home and in-store.
Overall, retail technology is changing the way consumers behave in stores in several ways. These changes are making the shopping experience more personalized, efficient, and engaging. As a result, consumers are becoming more impatient, informed, demanding, and engaged.
When retail technology enhances the customer experience, the outcome is reflected in the bottom line. For customers there are huge benefits as well.
The Implications of Positive Customer Behaviors
From the perspective of customers, the adoption of in-store technology offers many benefits. Higher satisfaction, personalized interactions, and engaging shopping experiences are a few of the many advantages.
- Customer retention will grow. Consumers are more likely to purchase from stores that offer personalized recommendations, leading to an increase in overall sales.
- Efficient shopping processes improved through technologies like customer data significantly boost customer satisfaction. When customers are satisfied, they tend to become repeat customers, enhancing business revenues in the long run.
- The use of in-store technology, like automated checkouts, saves customers valuable time, reducing the stress often associated with traditional shopping.
- The innovative use of technology also helps build positive brand reputation with customers. Retailers offering cutting-edge, interactive experiences are seen as progressive and customer-centric, enhancing their standing among shoppers and the community.
Retail Case Study
Arlo Convergence Zone at Best Buy Stores: Focusing on Customer Demand, Impatience, Being Informed, and Engaged
Arlo, a leading smart home security brand, is known for its innovative products and customer-centric approach. The company's latest initiative, the Arlo Convergence Zone, is a prime example of this commitment.
The Convergence Zone was designed to meet consumer demand to engage with Arlo products and learn about them in high-traffic Best Buy store locations. The space provides a hands-on way for customers to explore Arlo products and services and assists shoppers as they navigate through their in-store shopping journey.
The Convergence Zone also taps into the growing trend of "phygital" retail. Phygital retail refers to the blending of physical and digital retail experiences. The Convergence Zone is a prime example, as it combines Arlo’s tangible products with digital content to create a more immersive and engaging connection for shoppers.
Darko, a custom retail display company, partnered with Arlo to create The Convergence Zone. Darko's team designed and built a series of interactive fields that use cutting-edge technology to appeal to customers and provide them with a more informative and entertaining shopping experience.
Ultrawide monitors were integrated into the displays to showcase an assortment of Arlo products. They also feature push activation to foster self-guided, multi-sensory engagements. The displays are cloud-connected, which allows for data gathering, display monitoring, content updates and future delivery of marketing promotions.
The Arlo Convergence Zone is a significant investment for the company, but it is one that will pay off. The space is designed to drive sales and increase brand awareness. By focusing on customer demand, convenience, being informed, and engagement, Arlo has created a retail experience that is sure to resonate with today's shoppers.
Here are some specific examples of how the Arlo Convergence Zone focuses on these four factors:
Customer demand: The space provides a hands-on way for customers to learn about Arlo products and services while in-store. Conveniently intersecting their journey where and when they may need more information.
Impatience: The space is highly interactive and engaging and accommodates more than one shopper, not requiring consumers to wait and lowering the risk of purchase abandonment.
Being informed: It offers a variety of interactive zones each linked to live product that illuminates in its “space” in a simulated home environment. The display not only educates but also offers a visual display of where and how the product is best activated.
Engagement: The space features a variety of stimuli activities that allow customers to have fun, informative, multi-sensory engagements with Arlo’s products and services.
The Darko Custom Retail Solution:
The Darko custom retail solution was developed as a cloud-based platform that allows for content updates and tracking of shopper journey/behaviors.
- Dashboard to see health & wellness
- Track button presses allowing for visibility to the shopper journey and provide insight into dwell time & fall off
- Allow for potential to update select stores to use sensor tech to measure impressions to engagements
- Allow for future promotional content
The display program is an asset for the Arlo brand. It allows the company to keep the Convergence Zone experiences displays relative and engaging, and it gathers valuable insights into how customers are interacting with the displays. The program is sure to help Arlo achieve its marketing goals.
In-store technology is revolutionizing the retail landscape from a customer's perspective. It's changing the way they interact with brands, make decisions, and perceive shopping experiences. From increased personalization to improved efficiency and heightened engagement, in-store technology is influencing modern customer behavior in multiple beneficial ways.
Retailers embracing these technological advancements are not only transforming the shopping experience but also fostering stronger relationships with customers. As we move further into this digital era, businesses leveraging in-store technology stand a greater chance of resonating with, and retaining, the contemporary customer.