Forget top technology – retailers must focus on top strategy

Everyone’s fascinated with how the stores of the future will look and feel. What will catch on? Could virtual reality merchandising displays, facial recognition, personalised discounts and location-specific digital pricing really become the norm?

A recent survey by RichRelevance found that consumers love the idea of scanning products on their mobile devices to access product reviews and recommendations. People also like having personalised deals sent directly to their mobiles upon entering a store.

However, some approaches were given the thumbs down by those who took part in the survey; facial recognition technology triggering age-related product deals, and staff automatically being given your name as you enter the retail space, were considered ‘creepy’ retail developments that people can happily live without.

Choosing tech is not the whole story

One certainty is that shopping will be transformed by technology in the next decade. This means that you’ll have many choices to make – but choosing the right tech is only half the battle. While leading retailers are considering where to put their digital investment, the truth is that software or hardware alone won’t create engaging customer experiences.

To truly drive connected, contextual encounters that convert customers, you need to look at technology as part of an integrated digital transformation strategy.

Will you have the agility to adapt your businesses – from financing, to supply chain, to staff resourcing – in line with new channels and heightened customer expectations? Are you taking into account the possibility that existing channels may disappear? Will your offering remain relevant to the changing market, as demographics shift towards an older customer, and incomes continue to polarise over time?

Increasingly there will be a need to understand who your customers are, what would improve their lives, and whether or not they wish to participate in what you have to offer. Only then can you effectively build long-term loyalty with the customers who matter.

Will technology help you beat the competition?

When it comes to driving future growth in a crowded market, will the technology you opt for really meet your brand promise and take your company on the right kind of journey? Can it grow your profitability, support your employees, and future-proof everything you hold dear?

Choosing in-store devices is just the icing on the cake. With the right strategy in place, you can make informed decisions about which technology to invest in to drive the greatest ROI, based on your own business objectives.

This takes time and expertise, but constructing a long-term strategy well in advance of finessing your in-store experience is undoubtedly the safest way to proceed.  As the great Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Black Pepper Software provides agile software solutions for the retail sector, enabling businesses to meet changing demands without putting their operational processes under undue pressure. Contact us to find out more.

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