Technology is changing how consumers shop
Swift advances in technology combined with the pandemic have permanently changed how consumers shop. During the pandemic, the instances of customers using amenities like buy online, pick-up in store (BIPOS) and curbside pickup boomed and in-store features like smart displays became more prevalent.
“Although the in-store retail industry started coming back to normal in 2021, technology plus the pandemic have changed the brick-and-mortar retail experience forever,” says Bob Gatta, CEO of Data Display Systems, which engineers, tests and supplies cutting-edge lighting, sound, sensor, touch and touchless systems for leading retail display houses, brands and retailers. “During the pandemic, online retailers made significant gains against brick-and-mortar retailers. By embracing retail display technology, brick-and-mortar will be able to quickly level the playing field in order to compete more effectively.”
As soon as they were able to after the lockdowns, consumers darkened the doors of retailers and continue to shop in-person. But retailers will have to get creative to keep customers coming through the doors. For ideas of where retailers can start, Gatta shares nine smart display trends for 2022 that will influence the evolving in-store retail experience.
- Smart Retail Displays: Shoppers come into the store looking to see and touch products, but also have expectations of being entertained. As brick-and-mortar retailers continue to make a comeback in 2022, the smart retail display will be an affordable, yet integral part of the retail experience of the future.
- Cutting-Edge Technology: Expect state-of-the-art technologies in retail displays, including touchless, contactless, voice activated, AI and augmented reality (AR).
- Increased Smartphone Usage: Retail displays that allow the customer to interact using their smartphone will provide an additional touchpoint and way to engage with consumers. They also provide an opportunity for customers to ask questions and save information for later.
- Online Features In-Store: Smart retail displays provide a hybrid experience for consumers, allowing them to shop in-store and online at the same time, increasing the chances of them making a purchase.
- Content Management Systems (CMS): Using a CMS to control smart displays gives the retailer the ability to deliver display graphics remotely, geotarget ads and music and gather more sophisticated customer and preference data.
- AR (augmented reality) Dressing Rooms: AR technologies, where customers can see how they look in an outfit, may spell the end for traditional dressing rooms.
- Display Collaborations: With smart displays, retailers can create collaborations between brands, saving money and space on the salesfloor.
- Knowledgeable Sales Associates: Retail employees can also use smart displays to increase their own product knowledge to better serve customers.
- Post-Purchase Opportunities: Smart displays’ advanced data collection features will enable brick-and-mortar retailers to collect more in-depth customer data, as online retailers already do, so retailers will be able to enhance their post-purchase marketing.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published by Hardware Retailing magazine in December 2021. It has been edited for style and fit and is reprinted with permission.
Lindsey Thompson joined the North American Hardware and Paint Association staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University.