Technology and marketing trends that will change your holiday shopping experience
In-store technology trends
Holiday shopping. For many people, who are we kidding, most people, holiday shopping is the bane of their lives. Yes, they love receiving gifts. And they love eating turkey with all the trimmings. But the shopping part of the holidays is often just the worst. That’s simply a fact of consumer behavior. With consumer budgets shrinking around the world, online retailers are increasingly under pressure to sell their goods. Advertising – both online and offline – and constantly changing tactics and new marketing trends are everywhere consumers look.
The pressure of holiday shopping is all-consuming. Luckily, those new digital marketing and emerging ecommerce trends are set to make the lives of these frazzled consumers a little bit easier. Here are some of them.
Technology has advanced in such a way that it’s set to improve customer service and their experience from the moment they click onto a retailer’s website or set foot in a store. One of the most obvious ways is at the very start of the shopping journey. Retailers will be able to recognize shoppers when they first start shopping, using facial recognition software in the physical store and tracking codes online, making buying recommendations based on browsing history and past purchases. This is one of those ecommerce marketing trends that’s not going to just be a fad.
Augmented reality (AR) navigation and mirrors
Research has found that six out of 10 consumers prefer stores that offer an AR experience of some sort. In addition, 40 percent of consumers would be willing to pay more at a store offering this service. Retailers are using this technology in new and interesting ways. Some are using AR to assist consumers in navigating around previously complex stores. Fashion retailers, on the other hand, are using this technology to allow customers the opportunity to “try on” items of clothing in an AR-enabled mirror. Simply by standing in front of a smart mirror and holding up an item of clothing in front of their body, consumers will be able to see what they’d look like in their new outfit.
Skip the queues
The worst part about shopping is, without any doubt, the queues. And, if retailers have their way, that’ll soon be a thing of the past. A number of stores are already rolling out mobile payment checkout technology. This means that customers will be able to checkout with any employee, anywhere in the store using a mobile device and printer. Queues are soon going to be a distant memory. Publicizing this option and making it known within a store’s marketing trends updates to consumers will ensure a steady stream of shoppers who’d prefer this option.
Improved in-store training
Store staff members are increasingly being trained using virtual reality (VR). US-based Walmart, for instance, is making use of VR headsets to allow staffers to immerse themselves in the frenetic atmosphere stores have come to expect on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and in the weeks leading up to the holidays. The headsets allow staff to visualize the crowds, see stampedes break out, watch customers fight over items, and look at messes in the aisles. By seeing the reality of what the store will likely look like, staff members are able to learn the best ways to deal with these situations.
If there’s one thing that shoppers appreciate more than deeply discounted items, it’s speedy shipping. Retailers are seemingly doing everything they can to compete with each other, increasingly offering free shipping within two days. Getting to that point, however, is not easy. Retailers need to up their game at every point during the post-checkout period. Inventories need to be double-checked, additional stock pre-ordered, and rules implemented for minimum stock numbers. Importantly, in-store, online, and third-party marketplace sales need to be synced. There are many different options and systems for retailers here. To ease customers’ holiday shopping woes, it’s important that retailers have one in place that works. When it comes to shipping, not only is it best practice to ensure goods are delivered within two days, retailers should also provide options. Ordering online and then picking up in-store is becoming an increasingly popular option for consumers who’d prefer to control when they receive their items.