Retailers envision a hybrid in-store and online shopping experience
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, shoppers might be happy to stick with online retail. But retailers have other ideas. They plan to entice them back in store by creating a more omnichannel experience, reigniting in-store demand by investing in more digital integration.
The GET SET. GROW: How UK retailers are preparing for the return of demand report by Klarna and Visualsoft, cited by Internet Retailing, reveals that more than two-thirds of retailers plan to invest in digital over the coming year.
Almost nine in ten (88%) retailers are getting the wheels in motion to ensure a smoother, more seamless omnichannel experience for their customers, allowing them to start their buying journey on one channel and complete it on another. Meanwhile, 28% of retailers intend to make customer profiles available across all channels.
Across the industry, there is belief that the demand for in-store shopping will remain high. Over half (54%) of retailers questioned said their bricks-and-mortar stores would always be the main focus for their brand and that physical stores would coexist with online channels for some time to come.
With the in-store experience remaining strong, 56% of brands think that technology will help to replicate in-store customer experiences online.
In-store technology ranges from VR to data analytics, but all tech initiatives provide retailers with the opportunity to innovate and re-invent the in-store experience.
Technology retailers will be investing in over the coming year includes:
– Building more responsive websites (27%)
– Increasing in-store signage to promote online-only items (24%)
– Ensuring in-store staff are equipped with mobile point of sale systems (23%)
– Using QR codes to bridge the online/offline gap
As David Duke, digital director at Visualsoft explained, over the last year it has “felt like a sudden shift of power in retail.”
He continued: “But the reality is huge changes have been building for some time. As our reasons for shopping have changed, online and offline retailers must also adapt.”
Speaking about the report’s findings, Klarna’s head of UK Alex Marsh added that “retailers should be looking to include in-store in their digital strategy.”
He continued: “Consumers are seeing a completely different high street to the one they knew before the pandemic. […] Having a truly connected vision will be crucial as consumer spend becomes more evenly split across channels.
“Finding new ways to bring the virtual and physical worlds together will be the key to making that happen.”
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