Customers will continue to come to physical stores for the advice, merchant expertise and human interaction, among other things, says Hermien Raedts (researcher retail innovation PXL Expertise Center Innovative Entrepreneurship). So shopping streets will not disappear from our cityscape. Instead, the physical store will move into the future through an omni-channel experience.

By returning the conveniences of online shopping to your physical store, you as a retailer are taking a step in the right direction. And, applying digitization in your store is not only a benefit for the customer, but also for you. I’ll explain why using several examples.

The fitting room of the future

We go back to the example from the introduction; the new pants. In a physical store, you take 2/3 items into the fitting room. And then while trying them on, it turns out that you took the items one size too big after all. You probably don’t feel like getting dressed again and looking for a fitting size. And that’s right: practice shows that once your customer has left the fitting room, they often don’t go back in. In fact, 25% of customers skip the fitting rooms altogether while shopping, according to research by Collectique. This part of the shopping experience needs to be improved. You can do this, for example, by using a smart mirror.

A mirror can be smart in a variety of ways. For example, there are mirrors that offer matching suggestions based on the products that the customer brings into the fitting room. So if you bring a pair of pants to try on, the mirror will suggest a matching jacket. A smart mirror offers opportunities for upselling.

Another additional benefit is that the customer does not have to leave the fitting room. Does he indeed want to try on the suggested jacket? Then he clicks the button and the store assistant brings the jacket over. This button can also be used in case an item does not fit. The store associate then brings by the same pants in the correct size.

A smart mirror also gives the opportunity to display more product information. For example, you can show the different color options of a particular shirt. Even though these variations may not be hanging in the store, the customer can still view them through the mirror.  From the fitting room, you can also view inventory and possibly choose to have a product delivered directly to your home. It may even be possible to pay for a product right in the fitting room.

For you as a retailer, there are other advantages to a smart mirror. For example, this mirror can collect data based on tags in the clothing labels. You will then know exactly how often an item is taken into the dressing room. You can then compare this with how often the item is sold. This allows you to learn more about your products and make an accurate assessment of the customer’s needs.

Digital host

Upon entering the store, you naturally want to amaze your customers with what you have to offer. With a digital kiosk you can deliver this ‘wow moment’ from the very first moment in the store. You can do this for example by putting your brand in the spotlight on the screen through dynamic product ads or in-store advertisements. It is the ideal way to represent your brand at the entrance.

You can also opt for an interactive kiosk. An interactive kiosk can help your customers complete purchases or look up product information. Everyday tasks for your staff can be automated with a digital kiosk, allowing the salesperson to focus on other things. This also allows you to schedule fewer staff per shift.

You can also connect a digital kiosk to your online sales channels. This allows the in-store customer to have the product delivered to their home in advance.

Interactieve kiosk Basic Fit

Know your customers

In today’s society, information is becoming increasingly important. There are different ways to collect data. For example, you can use a sensor. This sensor checks the gender of your customers, and based on that, a certain product can be shown on a display. You can also use sensors to analyze your audience. You now know the average age of your customer, whether there are more men or women in your store and what their mood is. Since this is not traceable to a specific person, it does not fall under the terms of the General Data Protection Act (GDPR). These data averages significantly help you better understand your audience. You can tailor your store and your products to this information.

A digital kiosk or fitting room also tells you a lot about your customers. For example, you now know what the most frequently asked customer question is and can clarify it. Or you know more about which products are often sold together and so you can make sure the stock of these products is sufficient.

You can also collect data about certain products. Like, for example, which products are tried on or lifted. And whether they are subsequently bought. With this kind of data you can optimize your products. Eventually you can better organize your store for your target audience.

The importance of omni-channel

A fitting room of the future, a digital host or using data analytics are all innovations that fit the omni-channel store. In an omni-channel retail environment, you make sure that your customers can find everything on all the different channels, but that everything conveys the same feel and experience. Therefore, all sales channels connect seamlessly. Wherever the customer steps in, the customer journey is the same. Combined sales channels have another advantage. They give you greater reach, higher sales and increased customer satisfaction.

Coming back to data, an omni-channel store can add a lot of value there as well. You can easily track the buying history, frequency and shopping patterns of your customers. This allows you to create individual customer profiles and loyalty programs that help optimize and, not to mention, personalize your customer experience.

Let’s get phygital!

With the help of innovative technologies, you make sure your store becomes a true phygital experience. A personal touch for every customer will ensure that you remain in the memory of your customers.