3 Ways We’re Thankful for How Digital Has Changed Retail – And How You Can Adapt, Too

Let’s face it: the shopping experience has changed dramatically in recent years. As we head into Black Friday and the busiest shopping season of the year, we wanted to look at how digital has dramatically changed the shopping experience in recent years. More importantly – we take a closer look at how retailers can capitalize on these changes and turn the digital shopping revolution to their advantage.

Gone are the days when shoppers would get up from the Thanksgiving dinner table and head straight to the mall for their shopping needs. With almost 80% of shoppers browsing online, decisions have likely been formed before buyers even step foot in a brick and mortar store. Which means: retailers need to be ready to give shoppers the experience they’re looking for when they choose to roll out the credit card.

Digital technology has opened up exciting new changes for forward-thinking businesses. Smart retailers are embracing this new reality and expanding the digital shopping experience to their storefronts to do what matters most: giving their customers what they need. Here are 3 ways digital has changed the shopping experience in recent years and how retailers can capitalize on the new retailing reality:

1. Buyers know what they want
Back in the day: Shoppers used to head to the mall to see what was new and exciting, and would rely on sales staff to advise them on the latest and greatest products and trends.

Today: Today’s savvy shoppers have already done their research online. They’re looking for the best value they can find, and know which retailers offer the most competitive pricing. Proactive retailers need to be on hand to help ascertain the opinions buyers have already made through their research; having a salesperson confirm their insights and point them in the right direction at the moment they’re ready to buy is a powerful sales tool.

2. Analytics can tell you everything
Back in the day: Retailers would welcome shoppers into their stores and start asking questions to get to know them, their shopping habits, and what needs they could help fill.

Today: Smart marketers know that the shopping experience starts well before a buyer even sets foot in their store. Retailers can capitalize on this trend by tracking their web and marketing analytics to know what shoppers seek – and what they’re not interested in. Web and marketing analytics can do a lot of this legwork for you showing you the exact demographics and buying categories your customers fall into. This incredibly powerful data can help retailers deliver relevant suggestions to meet exactly what a buyer seeks. Delivering the right product at the right moment – when a buyer is ready to buy – can turn potential interest into a solid sale.

3. Nothing beats the shopping experience
Back in the day: The internet was fine for research, but there was no replacement for the physical interaction that came only with the shopping experience.

Today: Interactive video, 360 views, and gesture controls are just a few of the options that help make products come alive to potential buyers. Innovative retailers such as Warby Parker invite customers to try new frame colors and styles on their own headshots to help visualize the product better.

However, as good as digital interactivity can get, there is simply no replacement for the emotional attachment a buyer can get in a retail store. The physical sensations of sight, sound, smell, touch, and even taste cannot be replicated online. Insightful retailers understand that once a shopper sets foot in their store, buyers are looking for a shopping experience that cannot be replicated online. This means that every detail – from lighting, music, and product placement to product samples, credit card kiosks, and packaging – must appeal to the buyer’s senses.

As digital evolves and gets better at replicating the buying experience, smart retailers understand that making the most of new opportunities is about looking at the data that’s available to them through their marketing analytics – and then overlaying that data with human nature. The way customers interact with brands through their online shopping says a lot about their buying habits. And when they’re ready to step into your store, make sure you surpass their expectations through a stellar shopping experience.

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