Retail tech must enhance shopper experience
In response to the article ‘Almost half of grocery shoppers keen to embrace wearable technology’ (18 November 2014), it is great to see the potential appetite for the food and grocery sector to take the lead in implementing wearable and mobile technology.
I am a huge believer and advocate of stores using technology to genuinely improve a customer’s experience and address an actual need rather than to generically “innovate.” As consumers get used to the convenience of shopping online and the accessibility of product information, a common challenge with retailers is keeping foot traffic flowing through the doors of their brick-and-mortar stores. As shoppers become increasingly savvy and time-poor with a wealth of information at their disposal, convenience is key. Wearable technology has the power for retailers to establish a strong connection with shoppers and give them the convenience they demand at all levels of the shopping cycle.
I would urge retailers that any new technology that is introduced in stores must be done so with the intention to enhance the customer’s overall shopping experience in mind. Improving on a customer’s experience must guide the strategy and implementation. Haphazardly introducing new technology simply to “one-up” the competition is catastrophic and can increase the existing stress associated with supermarket shopping. As Christmas approaches, I know I am dreading the crowds, long queues at check-outs and parking headaches in my local store.
Retail brands that forget this run the risk of new technology becoming a forgettable novelty at best or, at worst, intrusive to the customer shopping experience. Technology simply for the sake of innovation isn’t sound business. Retailers must be confident, using data from outlet trials and sound customer research as their guidance, that new technology in-store will provide customers with a richer, seamless and less stressful customer experience.
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