Connected Stores: Who, What, and Why?

Connected Stores: Who, What, and Why?

Recently, much of the focus in fashion tech has been the implementation of new technologies in brick and mortar stores. Smart retailers have been moving in a digital direction in an attempt to better serve their customers–and drive more sales. Our newest contributor, Murielle Henriquez, explores the new digital stores in this six-part series. 

The goal of every retailer should be to provide customers with a unique and enjoyable shopping experience. While the maintenance, aesthetics and potentially helpful employees can help achieve such an experience, there should be a “wow” factor that keeps customers coming back for more.

Technology is that “wow” factor.

While online shopping is relatively hassle free, there are some things about shopping in stores that still drives tremendous sales. No matter how therapeutic it is to shop from the comfort of one’s home, people come to enjoy the experiences–and to have the ability to browse around and try on anything that catches their eye. Bringing the best of online shopping to the sales floor through technology can greatly impact brick and mortar stores.

Not only are nuances in technology novel and exciting for the retailer, but the best ones are also exciting for customers.  Shoppers want to learn about and test out new technologies.

Who should be involved?

Retailers, employees and consumers are all apart of the conversation. It will take a village to make new technology work in brick and mortar stores. Retailers should create a sound plan before getting too “technology happy.” (Editor’s note: if your brand doesn’t have the expertise in-house, consider hiring an expert consulting company like Third Wave Fashion to help build that plan.)  The truth is, it’s not just about placing a cool LED screen into stores or equipping store associates with tablets. If companies are spending a tremendous amount of money on technology, they had better make sure that they function well for their brand. They should also invest in training those who will have to use these gadgets. Each store is unique for various reasons and the technologies that are implemented should reflect the individual needs of retailers.

What should be done?

There are a million directions to take, but overall: go digital, go big and get social. Something as simple as digital price tags that can be updated with a touch of a button can make a vast difference. Using analytics to monitor how and when customers are shopping and what they’re shopping for will help retailers capitalize on everyone who walks into their stores.

Getting social is one of the easiest ways to hear from customers. They want to keep up with their favorite brands and what better way can they do that than through social media? Retailers can stay connected with customers through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in many different ways. Whether it’s through tweeting about a flash sale or Instagramming a new product, getting social makes all the difference! The best new technologies are the ones that are combining all of these elements together.

Why do this at all?

Depending on who you ask, up to 90% or purchases are still made in stores–but at least 60% of these purchases are influenced by the web. If executed correctly and dynamically, on- and offline technology can tremendously impact brick and mortar retail. Although some retailers earn a great deal of money through online sales, combining the ease of online shopping with the personalized experience of physical stores, will help retailers stay ahead of the curve and maximize sales.

In the next installments, we’ll examine specific ways technology can impact brick and mortar retail–and also take a look at some of the stores that successfully stay connected to their consumers.

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Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave.  Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.

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