Previously, Building and Decor published an article on the 3 trends in retail technology – drones, ecommerce and omnichannel – and how they are changing the retail landscape today. However, an additional factor driving retail business is how customer interactivity is taking advantage of new technology. In this article, we look at the retail industry and compare it to another industry that is also taking advantage of the latest trends.

Mobile-based, in-store experience

According to the IBM Digital Analytics benchmark, about 70% of shoppers used a mobile device while visiting a retail store during last year’s Cyber Monday. With this knowledge in mind, stores have launched mobile versions of their websites so customers can make purchases on the go.

Besides building mobile websites, some retailers are also using interactive user interfaces and in-store systems that inform owners in real time when customers are visiting their stores. This helps owners understand consumer behaviour better and pattern their interests with the ongoing trends.

Outdoor gear retailer Moosejaw has embraced using mobile-based in-store technology by equipping its employees with handheld devices that can be used to receive payments and search for specific products. If an item is currently out of stock, employees can check the company’s inventory, order straight from the warehouse or another branch that has the item, and ship it directly to the customer’s home.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are the sudden notifications that users receive from an app even when they’re not using it. Some retailers are taking advantage of push notifications to interact with their customers whenever possible.

Currently, Wal-Mart’s push notification develops a more personal relationship with their customers based on usage insights, which enhances the customer experience.

This retail giant uses push notifications to send customers new product suggestions that they have shown interest in on an earlier visit. The company also uses push notifications to send relevant pieces of data based on a customer’s current location. For example, if a customer is near a Wal-Mart branch that is having a special sale, Wal-Mart patrons within the area are notified immediately. The company also provides users with instant coupons via push notifications.

Live chat support
Some retailers are capitalising on live chat support as a way to improve interaction with customers. According to a study by eConsultancy, approximately 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use a live chat feature compared to other means of contacting a company.

Nikon uses live chat support to provide a quick response to customer enquires. The most common question asked on live chat is advice on how to fix specific camera problems. Through Toys R Us’ proprietary live chat support “Ask Emma,” people can ask the person behind the live chat anything from item availability to product details.

Virtual Interaction
In the same way that retail companies are using mobile technology to cater to customer needs, and to take advantage of how modern consumer habits are driving digital markets, so too has the gaming industry. Virtual interaction is used by the gaming industry to provide a more realistic experience to its consumers. As players have moved away from attending casinos to playing online, companies have sought to adapt and present an experience as similar as possible. Entertainment platform Slingo, that provides digital versions of popular casino games, use virtual dealers to ensure that the games are close to the real casino experience.

It is clear that across all businesses the shift to providing a digital service that both replicates and streamlines regular services is picking up. Customers are the bloodline of any company, and keeping them happy is the key for firms to stay in business. This is the reason why interactivity is driving not only digital markets but also physical stores.