What does the future hold for retail outlets? According to specialists, they will live on if they integrate digital technologies.

The connected store to enhance the customer experience

Among all the possible ways of adapting cross-channel techniques to retailing, the connected store is a favorite solution advocated by marketing and retailing specialists. They say that giving in-store consumers access to a connection, preferably WiFi, is the basic requirement. Before setting up highly sophisticated digital marketing operations and creating a specific mobile application for the store or the brand, retail outlets must start by taking account of the major trends in the use of mobile devices and buying intentions.

Walking up and down aisles, touching products and looking them up on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to obtain additional information, opinions and compare prices have become the habits of the new breed of consumers and the criteria to induce the act of buying. The geolocation of the customer's mobile device, sending instant deals, exclusive product offers in the store only are all techniques that combine both traditional and digital channels.

Providing consumers with mobile devices and interactive kiosks is another stage in the evolution of retail outlets. The two approaches allow the creation of a more exciting customer experience and relationship, while providing at the same time precious data on the consumer's itinerary in order to improve it.

The connected store to encourage online sales

Product showrooms and online sale platforms are no doubt the future that should be embraced by retail outlets. Controlling the store's supply chain and stock, providing the sales staff with mobile devices to guide customers, create loyalty, encourage them to buy in the store or arrange for home delivery or get them to buy online via a dedicated e-commerce site are all essential strategies for catching the new versatile customer. According to the ComScore website, in 2012, 40% of American consumers discovered products in the store before buying them on line and web retailers reported a 28% increase in their sales last year.

Therefore, it is at this juncture where bricks meet clicks that marketing specialists are encouraging the creation of a new customer experience, focused on their buying context and which offers a seamless blend between brick and mortar stores and digital applications.

Articles to read: Retailers Retool for Cross-Channel Shoppers; Retailers in the Age of Mobile Shopping: What are the Trends?; 3 Retail Trends You Have to Know in 2013

Retail trends with e-media