Here on the Barber blog you know we love to talk about digital retail and how new technology and smartphones are being used to constantly improve customer experience in London – so last week we were very interested to see the results of a survey by Eccomplished on the Econsultancy website which takes a look at just that – exploring how retailers in London are designing digital experiences to engage with customers in-store…
A team of researchers studied 40 of the leading stores on Oxford and Regent Street, right in the shopping heart of the capital. They noted use of items including store signage, interactive media, WiFi, levels of available mobile or smartphone interaction and how the stores were laid out to include digital interactivity as part of the customer journey.
They also interviewed shoppers in and around the stores, to find out whether those stores which do offer digital retail features were gaining an advantage over their rivals who were slower on the uptake.
The survey found that although some shops had the technology they weren’t utilising it as effectively as they could – for example only 26% of the stores surveyed has digital signage. but they used it primarily to promote their brand, rather than advertising products or offers in-store or to interact with potential shoppers and entice them through the doors.
In-store digital media
Most of the retailers used some form of digital in-store media, but again they were mainly being used in static displays rather than to promote particular products and offered little or no interaction with customers. Only 25% of stores used interactive devices to communicate with their customers.
In-store Wi-Fi availability
Almost a quarter of the retailers offered a free Wi-Fi service to shoppers, of which, only 2 (out of 9) displayed clear signage in store about the service and how to connect to it. Often, the service did not work properly with some 10% of customers reporting that they could not connect to it and in some cases – such as at the Reiss store – they had to sign up for emails from the store first, in order to be able to access the Wi-Fi.
Smartphone engagement and interaction
None of the retailers offering Wi-Fi used a personal message and opportunities for them to connect with users or promote other digital services such as in-store apps or social media engagement, were repeatedly missed.
With 54% of shoppers surveyed stating that they thought the digital services offered were either poor (32%) or below average (22%), it seems that stores need to do more to utilise their digital proposition more effectively – when implemented as part of a well-designed customer experience and marketing plan, digital media and interaction can greatly enhance a store’s retail experience as a destination for fun as well as shopping so it appears there is more work to be done before stores can really reap the benefits of their tech investments.