Brands that are preparing for the future: Let’s get digital.

Prior to the pandemic there was momentum towards less contact shopping in store or what many know to be a digital transformation. More widely accepted in urban centers where innovation is expected, this often was a secondary option, not THE option. Post-pandemic this may all change as the world is now more accustomed to digital experiences. We’ve all made changes and shifts to adapt, for some that could have been as simple as ordering groceries online, but for large corporations and the big brands of the world, it’s so much more. Let’s take a closer look at the grocery store example. 

Most, if not all grocery stores offer self checkout but some have gone a step further. Take Kroger as an example. This popular grocery store chain in the US offers a SCAN-BAG-GO shopping experience for its customers, emphasis here on experience. This service, uniquely available prior to any global health crisis, encourages customers to scan their items using their smartphone, pop their items into their own reusable bags and upon exiting the store, checkout out on their device. Wouldn’t we all love to see the uptake on this service during the pandemic?! Not to mention the amount of customer data they’re able to collect and utilize. This is one of many pivots towards a digital shopping experience, but let’s think of other examples, what about shopping for clothes? Sure you can buy online, but for items that are more personal like shoes, jeans or swimwear, an in-store experience is preferred by most. 

Let’s consider this for a moment. The digital transformation of a clothing store, what does that look like? The need for a size or different colour of a certain item would require a sales associate, no? Not necessarily the way we understand this interaction today. A great example of the digital experience within a clothing store is Nike’s House of Innovation. This flagship location in New York City allows customers to have a fully immersive digital experience that reflects the Nike brand as a mover and shaker. For example, to request sizes and colours of a certain product customers can use their smartphone to input the request on the Nike app where then a sales associate brings the requested items to said customer at a designated location for this exchange to occur. Customers can scan a QR code of an outfit displayed on a manikin to find the styles in store and add to their fitting room, all virtually using their smartphone device. The store has an endless amount of digital integrations and experiences for its customers, but what’s more is that the brand is connecting the digital transformation to the fabric of what Nike represents: innovation, leadership, and creativity. In an interview with High Snobiety, VP & GM of Global Nike Stores and Services Cathy Sparks shared: “The House of Innovation is our latest expression, most immersive, experiential experience of the Nike brand and what the Nike brand values are.” Do you have chills yet?

Ok, so perhaps one of the higher priced items that has for the majority of the time been shopped for in-store is the selection of one’s smartphone and/or tablet. Customers want to interact with the devices, try to use the camera, touch and feel these items before they spend +$1000 in some cases. We are talking about telecommunication companies, you would think these organizations would be the first in line for making the leap to a completely digital experience in store however, this isn’t always the case. There is a solution to this problem.

SmartCircle™ by SensorMedia™ provides wireless retailers with a virtual sales assistant. Their software allows a variety of users (like the trade marketer at a telco) to ensure planogram and price compliance, accurate and targeted promotions and other key messages delivered across multiple devices to multiple stores. When customers walk into a wireless retailer using this technology all the devices are playing the featured promotion simultaneously. As customers interact with the device, it begins to play a secondary message. This intuitive behavior from the devices is all made possible thanks to SmartCircle’s technology and platform. As the customer walks further into the store, social media campaigns from a corporate Instagram account plays on Smart TVs displayed on the wall. Everywhere a customer looks or anything a customer touches, they are being engaged with and educated with promotional information, key messages and/or price tags. 

It can be overwhelming to consider the amount of change that may be required to fully transform your store digitally, but don’t be mistaken that this is the future. 

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