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It’s A Digital World… Except In Brick-and-Mortar

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Mar 14 2016, Posted by Gary Lee

Today 83% of shoppers use a computer, smartphone, tablet or other digital device for preliminary research before going to a brick-and-mortar store (The 2016 Reality of Retail Report).

But, what happens once they are inside the store?

Findings from the same study suggest that digital in-store is falling short of shopper expectations, and it’s doing little to move shoppers along the buy cycle.

The same shoppers who are using digital heavily before they enter a store find their experience with in-store digital—i.e. digital signage, interactive displays, kiosks, etc.—to be “blah”. 18% of shoppers rated their experience as very bad/fair, 42% rated their experience as average, 34% rated their experience as good and only 6% rated their experience as fantastic.

What’s more, 20% of shoppers said in-store digital had little to no effect on their overall shopping experience, while 43% said it was “moderate”. Again. Blah.

Research from Grandview Research shows the digital signage market was over $14B in 2015, with retail making up a huge swath of this expenditure. Considering the capital spent thus far on in-store digital, if the experience is only average then what is the real value in what we’ve done?

Perhaps shoppers are reacting so poorly because the vast majority of in-store digital is just a really expensive replacement for what retail has done forever—print signage or “digital post-boards” that do little to attract, engage or convert shoppers.

Here’s the thing, shoppers are not afraid of digital in-store—they crave it. But, they’ve become accustomed to self-driven, interactive, contextual and highly personalized experiences online, and they’re looking for the same kind of value with in-store digital.

In fact, our research shows that 69% of shoppers would be more likely to buy in-store if given self-help technologies like digital kiosks or interactive displays. And, what specifically are they looking for?

  • 78% want help finding products
  • 75% want product and price comparisons
  • 69% want product inventory and ordering of out-of-stock goods
  • 67% want access to customer ratings and reviews on products
  • 64% want digital media to learn more about products and how to use them

The good news is that prices and complexities for deploying digital in-store are dropping rapidly thanks to advances in technology. It is now possible to do all these things and create experiences in-store that respond to shoppers and deliver targeted content in real-time based on things such as age/gender.

Today retailers and the brands selling within these stores are missing the mark. It’s time to take a fresh look at the shopper’s path to purchase, and how and where digital could be beneficial to help attract, engage and convert shoppers both in- and out-of-store. Otherwise, brick-and-mortar retail sales will continue to remain flat, just like they were last year.

For more insights on shopping behavior and digital in-store, also check out:
The 2016 Reality of Retail Report »

Image Copyright: Kampee Patisena / 123RF Stock Photo

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