There’s a number of other ways to implement the use of technology to keep business booming.Technology has long been decried as the death of the retail industry as we know it. The internet has forever-altered the shopping habits and buying patterns of consumers, but that doesn’t mean there’s not enough room for brick-and-mortar retailers to continue thriving. In fact, some of the more successful ones are merging the two worlds together, and they’ve created an incredible synergy between their online and offline presence. As TechCrunch explains, there’s a number of other ways for legacy retailers and brands to implement the use of technology as a means to help keep business booming.
One way that tech is being used successfully is via the creation of shopbots and virtual concierge services. More personalized shopping experiences are helping to retain first-time shoppers, and there are a number of examples for struggling brands to follow. For example, Macy’s has teamed up with IBM for a pilot program that makes use of the tech giant’s artificial intelligence software known as Watson, which we’ve all become familiar with through some catchy commercials that have made the rounds.
The pair has developed what is known as “Macy’s On Call,” and it takes the virtual concierge concept to a whole new level. The system can assist with store navigation, questions on store locations, general frequently asked questions, and even questions about what’s in stock. As with most AI programs, it even gets smarter with the more information it learns about the store’s customers.
Another area that has proved fruitful for retailers is social media. By embracing the newer methods of communications, retailers are actually finding that they can engage consumers on a deeper level, and even appear to be ‘hip,’ Michael Kors has implemented a successful campaign through its use of Instagram, and they have an interactive feature in which users can shop directly for specialty products right on the app itself. Lancome and Target have been employing similar methods via the Snapchat platform, and consumers are taken by the ease of accessing the retailer’s mobile sites directly from the platform.
Disruptive changes can be scary for any industry, and that’s certainly been the case for the growth of technology when it comes to retail. Retail brands and companies, bellwether stores, mall owners and managers all have a very simple choice in front of them: embrace its use and find the strategies that work for them, or face the risk of being bypassed in our ever-changing world.
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22 SEPTEMBER 2016, USA