What are smart stores?
A smart store is a physical store that uses technology to build a digital ecosystem that enhances both in-store customer experience and simplifies the retailer’s operations. You can think of it as a hybrid between an online store and a brick-and-mortar retailer, allowing you to shop from home or on the go. A smart store operates like any other physical retail store, but with internet connectivity, software integration, and other tools that allow customers to interact with brands in new ways.
For example, shoppers might scan products using their smartphones or tablets when they enter the store; these scans are then matched against the inventory system (either by barcode scanning or RFID tags) so all items in stock are displayed on an interactive touch screen display. Essentially, customers walk into the store, pick up their items and leave. No cash registers or checkouts are needed.
“The goal of smart stores is to create a seamless shopping experience for consumers.”
How do smart stores enhance the in-store customer experience?
Think about what a customer wants from a smart store: Would it be more personalized? More efficient? Or both? If so, then think about how you can use technology to empower your customers with an even better experience than they’d get at other stores. And to dominate the market, retailers have to get creative and align their operations to deliver a consistent brand experience.
Smart stores are a great way to connect with your customers and provide them with an even better experience than they’ve ever had before. They can use technology to make shopping easier, create a more personalized experience for them, empower them through self-service tools, and allow you to create new touchpoints for your brand. When it comes to the in-store shopping experience, there are many factors in play that affect the output. Before the digital disruption in the retail industry, retailers didn’t have a scientific approach to getting the in-store shopping experience right. But with retailers embracing the digital revolution, they have a solid approach to understanding their customer behavior as they have access to data they have never had before. Read this article to know how retailers leverage omnichannel experience to craft unparalleled customer experience.
“The first example of a smart store was Amazon Go, which launched in San Francisco in 2018, and London’s HSF Marks & Spencer food stores started accepting customers in 2020”
Amazon Go uses sensors to track what shoppers take from shelves or eat from tables and then charges them for items when they leave the store without paying for them.
In 2017, Amazon announced plans to open up 20 physical bookstores around the world by 2021—one being opened each month until all 50 were open by 2025 (the first location opened on November 1st, 2019).
Automation can be a game-changer in the retail industry
As a retailer, you have the opportunity to use automation to make shopping easier and more personalized. You can use automation to help customers find the products they want easily. This could be through personalized recommendations or by sending out offers based on your customer’s browsing history or previous purchases.
Automation can also help you personalize your marketing and messaging for each customer—for example, if a customer has visited your website before but didn’t purchase anything last time they came in, then you could send them an email with information about what else is available at smart stores so that it’s easy for them to buy something else (or maybe even just browse around).
Planogram automation is identified to be a huge driver for sales and customer experience in retail stores. Highly successful retail chains like Walmart invest a lot in planogram analysis to provide a holistic shopping experience across their branches.
The role of IoT in smart stores
Smart stores are an opportunity for brands to use technology as a way of connecting with their customers in new ways. For example, by using sensors and cameras, smart stores can record information about consumer behavior so that they can better understand what makes them happy (and unhappy).
Sensors can track the location of people and their movements, as well as detect if someone has entered or left a room. This can be useful for security purposes, but it’s also possible for smart stores to use this information for other purposes—like selling products based on what you’ve been buying! smart stores may even be able to tell whether you’re shopping alone or with friends or family.
And IoT plays a critical role in collecting data for retailers. Behavioral data is highly complex, and to collect such data, retailers have to think outside the box. Nevertheless, IoTs help collect various data from consumers in the smart store environment. If paired with a powerful data visualization strategy, they can provide insights that can heavily boost the customer experience of your retail brand.
How does a smart store help retailers elevate their marketing game?
Real-time marketing is the use of data to deliver targeted marketing messages in real-time. It’s a way of using data to deliver personalized marketing messages to consumers in real-time. And technology is changing the retail space at a rapid pace.
Real-time marketing typically involves an exchange between companies and their customers, or between organizations and people who use their services or products. The aim of this exchange is for one party (the marketer) to learn more about its target audience so that it can provide relevant offers at appropriate times, with no delay between purchase decision and delivery of those offers—whether through email campaigns, social media posts on Facebook or Twitter accounts owned by marketers themselves; mobile apps downloaded onto smartphones; websites visited with browsers and whatnot!
Smart stores provide the infrastructure for retailers to observe, identify, and collect crucial consumer behavioral data. This data is a goldmine for marketers to create potential points of interaction around the brand. On top of this, technologies like hyperautomation are helping retailers to interact with their consumers almost instantly. As one of the leading data consulting services providers, we have helped brands leverage consumer insights to cross-sell and upsell their products and services, and we have observed that a data-led marketing campaign is more effective than others.
The future of retail and smart stores
The future of retail is digital. And it’s obvious as to why, as digital enables retailers to identify multiple opportunities and helps them capitalize on those opportunities at scale. Harnessing the power of data allows retail brands to deliver a highly crafted and customized brand experience. Predictive analytics in the retail industry is changing the way retailers view their inventory management. So, the bottom line is, digital transformation is empowering the retail industry to go the extra mile. But the real question is, how can a retailer distinguish itself in this highly digitalized market? How can a retail brand stay ahead of the curve when its competitors are on the same digital bandwagon? Well, being one of the top digital transformation companies in the market, we can say that you can dominate the market by establishing yourself as an early adopter of the smart store wave. This will give you the edge over your competitors and will give a head-start over the market trends.