Digital retail trends – the gamification of retail stores?

28th July 2016

As discussed in our previous article earlier this week, the phenomenal success of the new location-based Pokemon Go smart phone game has captured the public’s imagination like no other. It has drawn people out of their homes to play in the streets – as they chase those elusive Pokemon through parks, down the high street and into retail stores.

A Pokemon bird hovers above a street

Bricks and Mortar Still Vital

A recent survey by Verdict and British Land suggests that despite a consumer shift to digital sales, bricks-and-mortar stores play a part in 89% of all retail sales. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all the sales were made in store but that shoppers may have visited the location to browse or look at products before buying online.

According to the research, retailers shouldn’t view digital technology as a threat but rather as a bonus. Retail technology creates opportunities for sales and customer engagement that were simply not possible a few years ago. Purchases that have been made online after browsing or asking for advice in store, or via click-and-collect services boost shop sales by an estimated 5%.

Transforming Roles

As the role of stores transforms, from retail hubs to showrooms or collection points, we must ask questions about how these spaces can be utilised for maximum benefit: are they too big? What is the best way to utilise the space? And how can stores be adapted to cater for constantly evolving retail trends?

Products must be displayed effectively, to entice additional purchases if they are being used as click and collect points – and staff must be trained to provide all of the information that a customer might need, generating brand loyalty by creating a welcoming and friendly experience. How can digital technology be used in-store to enhance the shopping experience?

Pokemon Go – Capturing the Imagination

As we mentioned earlier this week, the new Pokemon Go phenomenon amply illustrates the power of the smartphone – especially when used with augmented reality and location based technology. Retailers should consider partnerships with Pokemon developers, Niantic in order to drive footfall or present rewards. Alternatively they can develop their own location-based smartphone apps which capitalise on shoppers’ obvious interest in this kind of technology – by gamifiying or personalising their customer journeys and shopping experience or offering digitally distributed rewards and information within the store. Additionally they can appeal to non-shoppers within the party. E.g: offering in store augmented reality in-store games for bored children or loyal partners who usually wait patiently outside the changing rooms waiting as their other half tries on ten outfits.

Observing and adopting digital trends

Recent research by the BRC and Springboard reveals that Brexit uncertainty caused some unrest amongst consumers last month, with a rapid decline in footfall. Retailers must start capitalising on digital trends in order to develop some resilience in the marketplace. According to research, shoppers aged between 16 and 34 display the most brand loyalty and are ‘most attached to stores’ so by catering for this group by combining new technology and experiences retailers can help bricks and mortar stores to retain their position at the heart of the retail industry.