The Right Tech for Shareable Experiences: This and More From Future Stores Miami
BY: MARY FEILD
FEBRUARY 21, 2019
We love attending WBR’s Future Stores Conferences. After three full days in Miami, this year’s retail innovation trend was clear: Customers are looking for consistent, shareable experiences and retailers are eager to provide them.
Customers simply want their in-store experiences to be enjoyable and authentic. As the VP of eCommerce and Customer Analytics from Kendra Scott put it, customers don’t care about the best, new hip technology—they care about things like good lighting, flattering mirrors, and comfortable fitting rooms with doors that close (we actually found similar findings in our 2018 Customer Experience Research). To put it simply: Customers care about things that work; Technology should enhance their experience, not impede it. In the past, it’s been all about investing in flashy technologies to “improve” experiences—think: magic mirrors. Now, retailers are improving experiences from a different perspective.
During the panel “Retail’s Crystal Ball: Outlining the Retail Store of the Future,” presenters from Samsung, Warby Parker, Burrow, Kohl’s, and Natural Insight suggested when evaluating technologies, retailers should ask themselves one question: What problems does our organization have and how can technology solve them?
What problems does our organization have and how can technology solve them?
Many presenters shared retailers are working to creatively solve fragmentation in omnichannel experiences, and find ways to connect the online experience to brick and mortar stores. Take DSW for example:
Brian Seewald, SVP Customer Experience & Operations at DSW shared how their team is unifying omnichannel in their case study presentation, Transforming the DSW Customer Experience Through Innovation. One of DSW’s goals was to create a seamless experience between digital and physical environments. Using their experimental store, they made moves: To start, the store team connected with the online merchandisers to create cross-channel complementary shoe displays. They utilized actual search terms from DSW.com as signage to describe items in each aisle. Lastly, everything seen in-store was provided online or in their mobile application, so shoppers could be engaged with both channels while in stores.
“Retailers are struggling to provide the experience customers want and the service that’s provided in stores.”
– Regional Senior Vice President of Stores, Saks 5th Avenue
If the two channels are seamlessly integrated, brands can understand their shoppers better, use data from both to build personalized experiences, delight each customer in a unique way, and garner repeat business. It’s a win-win-win-win.
When tackling projects similar to DSW, brands need to ask themselves:
What can be done in stores that can’t be done online?
How can we connect shoppers to the brand in-stores and give them an authentic experience?
What technologies allow us to do this?
The right technology for the right experiences is pivotal, but can mean different things for different brands. However, one thing is for sure: Store teams—the ones who are bring moments to life in stores—can’t keep up with changing shopper expectations with old, antiquated systems. In order to provide easy, comfortable, and fully-integrated experiences, retailers will benefit from clever behind-the-scenes technology. As a Vice President at Foot Locker said, “Technology helps in the back of house. It helps you understand what your customers want and need.”
“Technology that’s not customer-facing is enhancing the customer experience.”
– Vice President of Development, Warby Parker
Great customer experience starts by empowering your field with tools needed to succeed. Retailer challenges lie in uniting your team with proper collaboration, data, information and business objectives. Interested in hearing more about our Future Stores takeaways? Reach out and let’s chat!
Mary loves creating engaging copy that expresses the best story possible. As a member of our marketing and communications team, Mary works hard to communicate the value our products and Square Root’s mission with a positive attitude and a quick wit. Inspired by solutions and products that make people’s lives easier, she is fulfilled by knowing her work makes the world a better place one way or another. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in communication both from the University of Arkansas.