Brick-and-mortar stores look to bridge the gap between online, mobile and in-store experiences
Today’s brick-and-mortar retailers are faced with a number of challenges when it comes to acquiring and retaining shoppers. Some are making in-store technological changes in hopes of improving the customer experience and keeping up with the stiff online competition. In the May report, “What's Driving Tomorrow’s Retail Experience?” published by Motorola Solutions, US retailers expressed their primary reasons for investing in technology in physical stores.
According to the Motorola Solutions data, 51% of retailers were investing in technology to improve customer service in stores. Moreover, 22% were doing so to keep up with the competition, and 18% aimed to increase inventory choices.
Out of all the technology investments, in-store Wi-Fi bubbled up as a clear imperative for many retailers. The Motorola Solutions survey suggested that while just over one-third of retailers were providing guests with Wi-Fi already, more than half of them planned to offer it by 2017.
Providing more flexible purchase and fulfillment options also topped the list of to-dos for retailers. And within this category, mobile is an important piece. Motorola Solutions found that although only 39% of retailers enabled shoppers to buy on mobile, then ship to home, 59% planned to do so by 2017. Currently 29% of surveyed retailers said they enabled consumers to buy on mobile and pick up in-store. However, 58% said they will offer that option by 2017.
A consumer-based survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) echoes the demand for more flexible purchase and fulfillment capabilities involving mobile devices. According to the IAB study conducted by On Device Research, 30% of mcommerce users in the US would like retailers to enable them to pay for something by phone and then pick it up in-store. Moreover, nearly one-third of mcommerce users said they would like retailers to offer proactive alerts to let them know when products they want or need hit store shelves.
As ecommerce superpowers continue to weigh heavily upon brick-and-mortar stores’ bottom line, retailers will likely become more creative in offering consumers more options to boost the in-store experience. From Wi-Fi to innovative pickup and delivery options, retailers are recognizing they must change their ways in order to meet the expectations of ecommerce-savvy consumers.