3 Ways Tech Could Help Brick-and-Mortar Brands Escape the Retail Apocalypse
While e-commerce has been the fall guy for struggling brick-and-mortar retailers, a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers commissioned by Bouncepad shows how technology could drive foot traffic — and purchase power — back in-store. An overwhelming majority of consumers (three out of four) want more tech in-store to improve their experience, but feel like brick-and-mortar retailers are coming up short. But how can retail stores best leverage technology to win back consumers wooed away by online shopping? Here’s what we found:
Take a Page From Wal-Mart: Invest in Tech
While not generally considered the market leader in cutting-edge technology, Wal-Mart tops the list of retailers that make the best use of technology in-store, according to one out of three consumers. After pledging to “compete with technology” through investments, including in-store touchscreens to browse inventory beyond what’s in stock as well as automated grocery pickup stations, consumers must like what they see — and can touch. After drawing more shoppers to its stores in the last fiscal quarter, posting sales gains for the 11th straight quarter, and reporting increased customer traffic for the 10th quarter in a row this past fiscal year, Wal-Mart seems to be seeing the return on investment. It makes sense considering that our survey results also showed that a whopping 77 percent of consumers are more likely to shop at brick-and-mortar stores that offer self-serve or assisted tablets.
When it Comes to Tech, Give Consumers Options
A majority of consumers (61 percent) prefer self-serve technology to waiting in line or tracking down a sales associate. However, it’s important to note that only 30 percent have ever seen a sales-assisted tablet, which points to an awareness gap. And while many consumers want self-serve technology to help them skip checkout lines, they also want tech to help them price check (49 percent), find items (46 percent), and redeem discounts and promotions (43 percent).
Give Them a Hand
A majority of consumers (71 percent) who haven't used a tablet in a store would, but only if a sales person would show them where they are and how to use them. Frustrated businesses often come to us ready to pull the plug on their in-store tablets because of low consumer engagement. Like Wal-Mart, they’ve made the investment in technology, but they haven’t strategically positioned these engagement tools in-store or taken the time to show consumers how to operate them. Strategic placement and tutorials are a must in order for in-store tech to thrive.
At the end of the day, consumers are hungry for more tech in-store, and they’re willing to open their wallets for brick-and-mortar retailers that deliver. If you build it, they will come. The key is to keep it simple, giving consumers choices and some initial support. It may just save your store.
Tobi Schneidler is the founder and CEO of Bouncepad, a commercial tablet engagement expert and inventor of the commercial iPad stand.