21

When it comes to technology, if you build it they will come! Whoever your target audience is, it’s 99.9% guaranteed that they have at least some experience with different technologies. So why should they leave that experience at the door when they walk into your store? Technology has taken over every other facet of our lives, shopping should be no different. With the kind of budgets big retail brands have, is it any wonder they’re leading the way in this in-store technology drive. But what can you and your business glean from what the big boys are doing? Here are a couple of simple (and less simple) ideas to get your going… so you don’t get left behind.

1. Feed them free WiFi
If you don’t have free WiFi in your store you should. Ok, so not having it is not going to stop them going online in your store anyway. However, like bread on a restaurant table, it’s a nice little extra for your customers that although will be taken for granted when it’s provided, will be complained about when it’s not. Free (and secure!) WiFi can actually boost loyalty amongst your customers and can also be used to gather topline details about your shoppers (with their permission of course) helping you build a loyalty base with them.

2. Digital Signage
There’s no bigger fan of Digital Signage than GuihenJones and for good reason. Digital Signage engages your consumers in ways print can’t, as it allows you to display offers, promote products, showcase your portfolio, inform visitors and entertain customers through TV-like screens. As well as being hugely effective at quickly influencing customers’ purchasing decisions, Digital Signage is giving ambitious brands, and the retail advertising agencies that serve them, a real edge at the shelf edge.

3. Digital Kiosks
Digital Kiosks are ideal for displaying engaging, interactive and interesting information. These stand-alone, touchscreen pods keep today’s technology-savvy ‘show-roomers’ off their phones and engaged with your brand for as long as possible. But they can also be used as a great self-ordering tool like McDonald’s have just proved.

4. Bluetooth Technology
Bluetooth technology like Apple’s low-powered wireless indoor positioning technology iBeacon enables small wireless location-aware sensor beacons to pinpoint where customers are in a store. Retailers can then send notifications of nearby products, offers and information available in store, straight to mobile phones or display them on the digital signage you’ll be investing in after reading point 2 above.

5. Snapchat
8,796 photos are shared every SECOND on Snapchat, which now boasts 100 million active users each day, worldwide. Snapchat is quickly emerging as the hottest social network in brand marketing and wise brand professionals are being advised to get on board or get left behind! From exploding coupons and exclusive news, to Snapchat stories and unprecedented attention from your next generation of followers, Snapchat is the technology that is attracting shoppers to the savvy brands that utilise it.

6. Social Media discounts
Got followers on social media? Why not reward them with unique discounts if they make it from your virtual prescence to your bricks and mortar store? As well as rewarding loyalty, like ‘Cheap-Ass Tuesdays’, this can be a great way to get people in store on otherwise quiet days.

7. Mobile Payments
You’ve probably heard a lot about this recently. While it’s hasn’t taken over the world yet I guarantee your grandchildren will one day laugh that we used to use paper money! So you should probably start looking at accepting mobile payments sooner rather than later. Already, over 220,000 retailers in the United States have opted into Apple Pay and with big boys like McDonald’s on board, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was only a matter of time before smaller retailers followed suit. PayPal certainly think so, estimating that mobile spending will rise 42% globally this year alone.

8. Virtual storerooms
Virtual storerooms allow you to increase your offering without having to increase your floor space. Rather than have to turn a customer away in store because you don’t have their size on the shelves or in stock, you should be able to turn to your virtual catalogue and either have it sent straight to their home or give them the chance to come back tomorrow to buy what they originally came in for.

9. Virtual Reality Shopping
While it might not be a realistic reality for most people reading this YET, virtual reality is no fad. Money is being invested, innovation is being championed, things are being tried and creating unique and better ways for people to shop is top of a lot of the big brands’ agenda! People like Mark Zuckerberg don’t piss away that kind of money on a whim, so you might want to put some money aside so that you can one day welcome people into your store when they haven’t even left their bedroom.