Embracing the In-Store Digital Future: Essential Strategies for Modernizing Brick-and-Mortar Retail


Embracing the In-Store Digital Future: Essential Strategies for Modernizing Brick-and-Mortar Retail

The retail industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic did not completely eliminate brick-and-mortar retail, it did highlight the need for businesses to adapt to the evolving preferences of consumers. The shift from physical stores to online shopping had put pressure on traditional retailers even before the pandemic struck. The need to do business during the pandemic further highlighted the significance and need for merging various physical and digital channels of retail operations, leading to the so-called “retail apocalypse”.

Although there is a gradual return to in-store shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers must keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of modern retail. While ecommerce remains a vital channel, it’s worth noting that 44% of shoppers still prefer the in-store experience. Therefore, embracing in-store modernization has become more critical than ever for businesses aiming to establish themselves as leaders in the future of retail.

To thrive in this new era, brick-and-mortar businesses should adopt four essential strategies:

  1. Contactless Payments: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of contactless payments as consumers sought safer and more hygienic options. Data shows that 8 out of 10 consumers are now using contactless methods, driven by safety and cleanliness concerns. Providing fast and high-quality contactless checkout experiences is crucial to meet customer expectations.
  2. Interactive Self-Checkout Kiosks: Self-checkout kiosks have gained popularity, especially during the pandemic, as customers appreciate the convenience and perceived safety they offer. In fact, 87% of respondents express a preference for retail stores equipped with touch less or robust self-checkout options. These kiosks not only facilitate payment but also serve as a platform for brand messaging, customer engagement, and promotion of exclusive offers.
  3. Digital Signage: Traditional paper signage falls short in terms of adaptability and sustainability. Digital signage, on the other hand, provides businesses with the flexibility to quickly adapt and convey relevant information to customers. From static images to interactive menus and real-time maps, digital signs enhance the customer experience and enable effective communication of new products, updates, and sales. Additionally, digital signage contributes to sustainability efforts and eliminates the need for costly and frequent overhauls of outdated paper displays.
  4. Omni-channel Approach: The pandemic revealed the importance of offering alternative purchasing methods beyond traditional in-store service. Brick-and-mortar retailers that failed to adapt to customer preferences and civil mandates faced significant challenges. While online commerce continues to grow, in-store shopping offers unique sensory and interpersonal experiences that cannot be fully replicated online. By implementing an Omni-channel approach, retailers can bridge the gap between the physical and digital realms, providing personalized customer experiences and leveraging business intelligence data to enhance shopper satisfaction.

Embracing these strategies allows brick-and-mortar businesses to modernize their operations and deliver memorable experiences to their customers. Technologies like the ones developed by ETP can assist companies in acquiring, analysing, and leveraging business intelligence data to stay agile and flexible in this ever-changing retail landscape. As retailers strive to adapt and succeed, their tools must keep pace with their evolving needs.

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