An already struggling retail sector that was hit hard by the covid pandemic and now facing the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis combined with economic uncertainty, is having to fight hard to survive. With pressures on high street businesses, is now the time for businesses to be investing in technology?
Why Invest In Technology?
It’s vital for retail businesses with a physical shop presence to entice customers into their stores, as well as to provide a strong online shopping experience. People shop on the high street to see and feel the products first-hand but if the experience is not enjoyable, they will simply stick to shopping on the internet – after all, online shopping is more convenient.
With an investment in technology, businesses can benefit from a boost in brand loyalty, improved marketing strategies and the ability to streamline the business to make it more agile and cost-effective.
The customer experience (CX) is important when it comes to brand loyalty. If businesses can achieve brand interaction and connection with customers, these customers are far more likely to shop in their stores because of this gained affection.
By using tech to make the CX fun, businesses create something the customers want to repeat and give them a reason to return to the stores. For example, technology used to make interactive games in-store leaves customers with a feeling of satisfaction when they leave and a sense of loyalty to the company – it becomes a place they want to shop in. Similarly, loyalty cards are good for encouraging repeat trips to the physical business premises by offering incentives like discount codes that work in-store only. Companies can also make use of an app to tailor offers for each shopper, based on their previous purchases, and send these directly to them through the app when they are shopping in the store – a time limit can be placed on the offers, to further encourage take-up.
Greater Customer Understanding
Technology enables businesses to get to know their customers and how they shop – this is not only useful for tailoring discounts and offers for every shopper but for streamlining the business and making it more efficient.
Using heat tracking cameras shows businesses which parts of the stores are busiest, for aiding product placement. Equally, these cameras will highlight the quietest areas and enable companies to work out what’s wrong so they can remedy and find ways to encourage customers into these parts of the store too.
The data the technology gathers is helpful for marketing strategies also. Businesses can make their digital displays relevant for the customers in-store at any moment – by displaying the right products at the right time, sales are likely to increase. For example, if the weather is bad on a given day, then the displays could promote umbrellas and rain macs, or if there is a big game on during the World Cup then the displays could promote snacks and drinks ideal for having when watching the match.
By making an investment in technology, businesses become trimmer, more efficient, and able to build a better relationship with customers – improving the CX encourages customers to shop more, which is good for the business bottom line too.
Technology like self-serve checkouts give customers greater freedom in how they shop and appeals to those in a hurry who don’t want to join a big queue. For customers who are waiting to pay, investing in point of sale (POS) technology maximises this captured audience time as brands can be marketed effectively to them while they wait.
The use of digital displays in-store is cost-effective – turning displays off during certain times can help significantly with brands trying to cut costs in the current climate. And with programmable digital displays, businesses can ensure that signage is only being used when it is most beneficial, helping with energy reduction through off-peak idle modes and adapting the screen display during quiet periods. They can also change quickly and easily with no printing costs or set-up times.
Investing in technology is definitely a worthwhile investment, especially at the moment as the technology will help businesses to operate leanly and efficiently while enhancing brand loyalty – all vital for survival in the current challenging retail environment.
Josh Bunce is CEO and Founder of the iuf Group trusted by iconic global brands to capture and retain audience attention with creative AV solutions. A serial entrepreneur and investor, Josh is on a mission to create a new retail world using innovative, practical and sustainable technology.
About iuf group
The iuf group is a London-based group, made up of several tech focused brands that are dedicated to providing industry leading AV technology on a global scale. The brands in the group offer a mix of innovative tech including AV and interactive solutions, IoT solutions and LED and LCD displays. The iuf group invests equity in forward-thinking brands, with a particular focus on high-growth and scalable startups across a mix of sectors.