By Raj Parmar, Marketing Director at Box Technologies.
When it comes to choice in retail sometimes less is more. The online retailers that kicked-started the trend for curated shopping back in 2012 understood this, and they continue to reap the benefits today.
Through necessity, the store is becoming so much more than a place of transaction. Shoppers now look to high-street stores to inspire and advise them. But the frustration of being overwhelmed by choice is a very real phenomenon, and more often than not customers simply don't have the time or attention span to browse through many potential products on display.
As a result, smarter online retailers are now delivering experiences designed specifically to appeal to time-poor customers, who they have identified would benefit from intelligently targeted offers based on their current and past shopping behaviours.
Segmentation and personalisation techniques now allow retailers the chance for bespoke interaction, for example, the offer of an exclusive collection tailored to just one customer has the potential to not only inspire further sales, but to strengthen customer loyalty. For the shopper, it's convenient, fast and personal, removing the speculative element from customer interactions to make each one relevant and engaging.
In-store: the natural home of curated commerce
Customers want to take advice from store experts, such as well-informed sales consultants, touch products and physically assess them before buying them. Yet often they are enticed by the sheer speed and convenience of online shopping. Busy consumers have become used to the efficiency of an online shopping experience which is streamlined around their preferences and choices – but by using technology to deliver curated commerce in-store, retailers are gaining the opportunity to offer the best of both worlds.
The fast-paced nature of retail means we'll never go back to the 1950s when shop assistants knew their customers by name, recommended products for them based on an in-depth knowledge of their habits, tastes and remembered children's birthdays. But with connected technology like mobile POS, store staff are still able to provide highly-personalised services through access to customer shopping data.
With this information at their fingertips, store staff can rise above being just cashiers to become trusted advisors and curators. Knowledge of customer purchasing history allows them to make recommendations based on customers' likes and dislikes, and retailers can now even use appropriate imagery and video content to breathe life into sales encounters.
However, curated commerce is not just the domain of the store associate. Self-service shopping has been embraced by customers in supermarkets for some time. And now the entire retail industry has an opportunity to make the most of this technology by helping shoppers to customise their own in-store experiences. A growing number of people appreciate the control that comes with tailoring their journey, and there's a bonus: with a self-service configuration, nobody queues.
The best of both worlds
Ultimately, all omni-channel retailers are looking to take the best of technology and blend it with human service to enhance the bricks-and-mortar experience, using digital connectivity to bring personalised, curated encounters into the store. This adds real value for the customer, while increasing their spend and strengthening loyalty.
Bringing curated commerce into shops, with the aid of technology, eases stress and analysis paralysis. By blending the digital and physical worlds together, retailers can become the stewards of their customers' journeys, inspiring loyalty and fostering life-long connections.