Online sales have skyrocketed in recent years. Just last year 60 per cent of Canadians conducted both their product research and product purchases online (AskingCanadians 2012). Online shopping is simple and convenient. If executed properly, online brands can provide customers with personalized offers and product recommendations, customized deals and give customers a shopping experience that’s tailored to their needs and wants.
With the popularity of online shopping on the rise, traditional brick and mortar stores need to find ways to keep customers coming to their stores or risk closing them down completely. To do this, retailers need to create a different shopping experience in the store that buyers can’t receive online.
So what are retailers doing to provide unique in-store experiences?
- Virtual showrooms and 3D walls for building your own customized car – Car brands such as Audi and Mercedes have begun using virtual showrooms that allow customers to build and customize their own car on 3D walls using gestures and human interaction. Customers can literally build their dream cars.
- 3D scanners to help customers find the perfect jeans – Buying jeans is difficult for everyone, choosing the right size, colour or style often ends in frustration. With the help of 3D scanners utilized by stores such as Bloomingdale’s, customers simply stand in the machine that scans and measures their body to determine what jeans are best suited for their body type.
- Mobile devices are becoming part of the in-store shopping experience – technologies such as NFC or iBeacons are being developed so that when a customer enters a store they are sent customized offers and deals, and personalized messages. Timely deals sent to customers ensure that retailers are grabbing the attention of passersby and enticing them to come into the store.
- Virtual stores where you can do your grocery shopping on your commute home – Any commuter knows that they spend most of the commute waiting and looking for something to do. Virtual grocery stores are designed to catch commuters’ attention by allowing them to window shop virtual goods while they are waiting. US online grocery store Peapod has created virtual convenience stores that allow commuters to scan products they want to buy and have them delivered to their homes.
- Interactive window displays that make the customer part of the experience – Brands like Nike are using interactive window displays to grab the attention of passersby to interact with the products on display.
Through the help of technology, retailers have started to reinvent the shopping experience. 3D scanners and walls, gesture interaction, augmented reality and mobile devices are making the shopping experience more engaging and interactive for the customer—putting the customer in control of the shopping experience.