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Shopping online or in store? It really needn’t be an either/or question

Posted: Monday 7 June 2021

If 2020 has taught us one thing (and it’s taught us many things), it’s that technology and retail, when done well, is a win-win for businesses and consumers.

It’s something Digital Jersey asked Geek Talent to investigate to truly understand the opportunities available to the retail sector in a changing world.

The greatest trend, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, is the shift to e-commerce. While online shopping is nothing new, and a normal part of life for so many people, the speeding up of that transition for traditionally physically retailers has been jump-started because of the pandemic.

Those who’ve recalibrated their business to bring their products and services to consumers on their terms are among the winners of a difficult and ongoing race.

But it isn’t an either/or story. There’s room for both, and the integration of technology in physical stores is allowing greater customer personalisation which creates brand affinity, brand loyalty, and an increase in both spend and repeat business. The use of beacons to transmit real-time offers to customers in store based on their browsing habits, spending history, and even the current weather conditions, all have the ability to offer micro-targeting to convert that browsing into spending.

The growth, adoption and understanding of both virtual reality and augmented reality is allowing shoppers to visit virtual stores, try on virtual clothing, or even see virtual furniture in situ in their own homes.

While, back in store, a focus on experience, including fashion shows, photo opportunities, and other pop-up events with technology and data at their heart to attract the right people at the right time are, in turn, creating a new tribe of brand and store ambassadors.

We hear a lot about the death of the high street. While it’s true to say a surge in online sales for those businesses isn’t offsetting a reduction in footfall and physical sales, those who are thinking smartest about how data and technology can create the perfect customer experience are showing there really is life in the high street, both physically and digitally.

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