From self-order tablet kiosks at Hardee’s to smart changing rooms at Rebecca Minkoff’s new stores, technology is rapidly transforming retail as we know it. Although these innovations have been met with overwhelming praise from retailers and consumers alike, a few industry leaders have expressed concern about maintaining the personalization effect achieved through less tech-driven methods. At the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Big Show conference in New York, experts presented several solutions to this potential conflict.
IBM says mobile is the answer
New research from the tech giant revealed surprising stats:
- 46% of consumers want sales associates to use connected devices to deliver to them a personalized experience.
- 41% of consumers said it was important that retailers offer personalized promotions based on their purchase history or preferences.
- 48% of shoppers value initiating a personalized communication with a retailer when online; 44% expected on-demand.
Lance Tyson, senior retail consultant for IBM Global Business Services, told brandchannel that sales associates must be re-empowered as sellers to gain the full trust of the consumer and reap the potential benefits of implementing connected devices. Tyson further suggested prioritizing the management of cost and allocation, giving the consumer maximum inventory control through more frequent and precise measuring of preferences.
Personalization in action
The NRF expo not only offered advice on improving personalization in retail for the future, but also highlighted a few strategies that have already been proven successful.
- Kohl’s is currently using location-awareness technology to achieve a more personalized shopping experience, particularly attending to the habits and preferences of its most loyal customers.
The upscale retailer Mitchell’s is using technology as the means rather than the ends, introducing an e-commerce engine that allows shoppers to interact with their personal stylists in real time.
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