Every day, a new new technology seems to be making headlines, promising to change the shopping journey by improving customer experiences. With lightning evolving, how can retailers keep their eye on further critical business priorities with the technology explosion.
1. Understand your customer’s appetite for technology
For example, Millennials and Baby Boomers are looking for different shopping experiences throughout their journey and retailers need to ensure that they are prioritizing their technology investment. Sephora is a great example of a retailer who succeeded by adopting the right technology to meet the expectations of their customers. It has clearly heard and understood the needs of its target segment and understands their challenge to go shopping at a store, for example, the true shade of the foundation. Even after shoppers try it on the store, they often go home and find that the shed or tint is different than the store.
To meet this requirement, Sepora found a solution in a few select stores, which enables their salespersons to scan a person’s face to get the right match for their skin and undertones. Salespeople can use an iPad to pull thousands of foundation products that can be filtered by skin type and other variables. It is helping them to address the real world feedback of their target segment through implementing a new technology.
2. Do not get distracted by bells and whistles
With the continued boom in the retail technology community, it is a common trap for retailers to deviate from emerging technologies. Some technologies are nascent and in the early stages of business adoption. Many of them are new, unproven technologies that may not be worth the risk.
Don’t worry about being the first in line to adopt new technology. Instead, take a step back and ensure that your technology investments are prioritized based on alignment to your organizational development strategies. Retail giant Walmart has a strong track record of aligning technology investment to its organizational development strategies. For example, he recently acquired logistics startup Parcel to help start same-day delivery in NYC. Walmart will use the technology provided by Parcel to deliver same-day delivery offerings to both Jet.com and Walmart.com in the city, so that the customer receives no additional cost.
3. Align investments for measurable business results
After identifying customer pain points, make sure you only consider investing in technologies that will affect key business metrics, such as improving customer satisfaction, improving customer loyalty, increasing conversion rates, and / Or driving customers across channels. These strategic technology investments will result in both top and bottom line growth. To avoid technology investment, make sure shoppers do not add value beyond adding novelty to the experience.
Researching the adoption and success rates within the industry along with the maturity of the technology you consider is a good benchmark. Generation Tux is an example of a retailer that has created a unique customer experience with technology investment that delivers direct business value. Generation Tux is a service developed for the Tuxido industry, which is determined to build customer relationships with co-browsing technology. The service helps the bride and groom review and select clothing options and create a wedding look through a screen sharing a seamless experience.
4. Focus on operational improvement
It is important to understand the operational impact of technology investment. Business outcomes always lead to process reengineering, process enhancement, empowering people and change management. This is particularly important in areas where your retail partners are able to sell products and services to their end customers – whether in store, online or on their devices. The impact of technology-based operational improvements on overall costs and investment should always be considered when creating a business case for a new technology investment.
Retailers are increasingly taking advantage of robotic process automation (RPA) to increase the productivity of retail offices. This, along with cognitive applications, is adding value by increasing the ability of buyers to optimize pricing and increase inventory capacity to suit customer demand.