The retail industry is undergoing a transformation with the store digitisation. Over the past several years, the traditional, brick-and-mortar physical stores have been hit by a significant drop in attendance in the face of the “pure” players of the Web. In-store attendance figures have dropped by 30% since 2014[1]. Certainly, e-commerce is there to last, yet, it cannot do away with traditional retailing as witnessed by the local stores launched by Amazon. Such stores are making their offering more digital, resulting in a customer’s journey that is comprehensive… but also phygital, bringing to them the best of both the digital and physical worlds. As a result, attendance in stores had shown signs of recovery in 2017, according to the Observatoire de la Fréquentation des commerces in France. Here are the 5 strategic areas for digitization that will deliver appreciable value at the points of sale.

 

#1 From ordering online to pre-ordering online

In the retail ecosystem, e-commerce has encouraged online ordering, but today, customers are increasingly adopting the “Click and Collect” model that leverages a web-to-store logic: pre-orders are placed online or from a digital media in the shop, while purchases are being collected at the counter.

Undiz, the clothing retailer, has experimented with this model recently. Customers were given the opportunity to test underwear on a digital screen even before receiving them, brought to them through tubes. The “Click and Collect” service, therefore, turns into an omnichannel approach that sets a direct link between the consumer and the product.

#2 Personalized coupons

The traditional printed coupon that often ends up in a trash bin, has its own limitations, while promotional codes for products that consumers are not aware of, or require more information about, certainly fail to deliver on target. Mass marketing is progressively being replaced by a more personalized approach which utterly revamps the foundations of the coupon system.

Made more instant, rebates and discounts are now delivered to the user at the right time, e.g., when he/she passes by product-laden shelves, thanks to a smart technology that promotes specific products according to the user profile. Furthermore, promotional activities are increasingly leveraging gamification, and today, retailers have started using discount codes based on a brainteaser, which needs to be solved before the discount or special offer is actually earned.

 

#3 Make payments faster

 Dealing with cash can be quite tedious and is no longer a preferred option when paying for a purchase at a checkout. As smart devices are getting to be commonplace, payments can be made in a digital way and much quicker.

The example of the Casino Group is an interesting one. The brand has launched its Casino Max application which includes budget management features, digital coupons, a loyalty card, and more… The purpose is to deliver a fast, seamless and optimized purchase experience at the checkout counter.

 In store digitisation

#4 Reducing waiting times in queues:

 In 2018, the share of online purchases has increased, and this change in habits is making consumers run out of patience when having to queue up. Actually, lengthy queues are inhibiting buyers from visiting stores. According to LSA-Conso, 89% of visitors have already left a store because of queues that they consider to be too long. And as a reminder, in France, the average time spent lining up at checkouts remains at about 6 minutes.

To shrink this waiting time, self-service and mobile checkouts have already proved their worth. Another solution is to entertain users during that idle time. Think about an airport or a stadium that would provide waiting users with a chance to win a priority access pass.

 

#5 Wi-Fi to facilitate the buying path

Of course, Wi-Fi coverage is the prerequisite for a powerful customer path that makes the most from the use of a smartphone. This is the starting point, and all sales outlets should provide a Wi-Fi service that is free, efficient, easy to use and secured.

Besides facilitating the purchasing path, Wi-fi makes it possible to collect customer data. This data is required to personalize offerings and marketing campaigns, and bring them in tune with the desires, tastes and expectations of customers.

 

Going digital is really about delivering on these five key targets: broadband Wi-Fi, seamless methods of payment, shorter queues and wait times, personalized offerings, and a buying path that leverages gamification. It is on this basis that retailers will deliver a true proximity experience to a customer and give them a reason to come back.

 

[1] Survey from Procos and Stackr : https://www.lechommerces.fr/frequentation-en-magasin-chute-libre/