Today’s shopping climate is all about instant gratification for the consumer. Shoppers want to have the product they’re interested in purchasing into their hands as soon as possible. Brands must work more efficiently than ever to stay afloat in the fast-paced retail environment. Fortunately, new technology allows consumers to get the products they love easily without any hassle. Whether it’s reduced shipping times and fees or offering in-store, same day pick-up from a local fulfillment partner; these new technologies are empowering brands to make the shopping experience more convenient for the shopper.
Companies not only need to be creative, but strategic in how they create positive shopping engagements with the consumer.
“52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize the consumer shopping experience.” - 2017 Salesforce Consumer Report.
Consumers must walk away from their encounter with a brand, whether online or offline, feeling satisfied, or they won’t return.
In the United States alone, eCommerce sales are now reaching approximately $400 billion and are growing by 15-16% a year. Meaning that eCommerce is growing at a faster rate than non-eCommerce retail.
Brands now are converging to create a unique and unified shopping experience for the consumer. By seamlessly bringing together various forms of technology, both retailers and consumers benefit: this is digital convergence.
Here are a few highlighted digital convergence scenarios applied to today’s retail environment:
Augmented Reality, Nike:
Footwear empire Nike, has taken an outdated method of consumer product engagement to connect with Millenials and Gen Z. Augmented reality generates a digital overlay on top of a real-life scenario.
Nike allows consumers to take a physical catalog, scan specific pages with a phone or tablet camera and bring up a 3D model of the shoe they’re viewing.
Consumers can adjust the model to their desired size or color, taking something simple and creating an experience unique to that consumer.
Mobile Order App, Starbucks:
Starbucks has now made it easier than ever to get your cup of joe on the go.
The app allows consumers to order their food and coffee ahead of time.
This way it’ll be ready and wait by the time consumers enter the Starbucks storefront. Connecting the online space to in-store interactions.
EasyPass, Value City Furniture:
A furniture store based out of Ohio, Value City Furniture noticed a disconnect between consumers researching products online and coming to interact with the items in-store. EasyPass has two aspects:
The first aspect allows consumers to build a shopping list through the companies website, go in-store and have an employee bring up their previously selected items and see exactly the products they’re interested in.
The second aspect enables consumers to scan items in-store, and then later pull-up product information as well as customer reviews, and purchase items at home. Tying the online experience to in-store seamlessly and vice versa.
Reserve & Try In-Store, Nordstrom:
Department store chain Nordstrom, is tackling the amount of time it takes for consumers to try on clothing items and then make a purchasing decision.
The Nordstrom website gives consumers the ability, to select items online and the store location where they’d like to try them on.
As the consumer walks up to that store, they’ll get notified where the dressing-room is located that has the items they’ve selected. The consumer can quickly make a purchasing decision and move on with their day.
Digital information is now blended with in-store experiences and has reshaped the way brands communicate and interact with shoppers online. It is now more important than ever, for brands to create outstanding digital experiences to engage consumers online-to-offline.
By bringing together multiple technology platforms, retailers and consumers benefit enormously from the ideals of enabling digital convergence.
Below is a timeline that captures the evolution of retailer technology and how the focus of these capabilities has changed the way consumers shop: