Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
WD Partners asked more than 2,300 shoppers nationwide which of 14 trendy technologies they were aware of and found appealing. They made their favorites very clear.
We think this research will help retailers overcome a significant hurdle: how to sort out the possibilities for engaging consumers across in-store, online, and mobile options and get the most bang for their technology buck. Stores can't do it all, so here are three digital priorities that will help get a retailer where their customers want them to be:
Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS): Consumers in our survey gave BOPIS the highest ranking — an astonishing 86 percent said it's appealing. And 52 percent of them have used this option, when available. That made it the second most used technology of the 14 we studied.
Convenience is the key benefit. The Home Depot is one retailer that does it well. It tells shoppers clearly where to pick up items in the store, it puts that location at the front of the store, and it makes that pick-up location distinct from other types of service with its own line, eliminating annoying delays and streamlining delivery of the product to the shopper.
Endless Aisle: Endless aisle gives shoppers access to your entire inventory, wherever it's located. In most retail operations, there is often 10 times more product available online than is available in any one store.
For the retailer, it's about that conversion metric — a way to still capture the sale for a product that may have sold out in your location. It also ranked third most appealing in our survey. For shoppers, it's about having the most complete access to inventory across the entire brand — and buying what they want, when they want it.
Associate Empowerment: Our survey found that 70 percent of customers want staff empowered with electronic devices to assist them with fundamental questions. What's the price? Where can I find X? This product isn't on the shelf, what are my options?
Take the shoe section in a department store. In the past, customers waited and waited as an associate disappeared to some remote room behind a curtain to find (or not find) shoes. Today, in stores like Macy's, associates carrying handheld devices can check for available shoe sizes, plus style and color, right next to the customer in a fraction of past wait times. Staff with powerful technology at their fingertips can engage customers in ways that often translate to sales. It's a powerful shift that speaks to the needs of your customers.
Which of the three digital technologies mentioned in the article do you think will provide the most near-term ROI?