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Stopping power: Three retail technologies to connect with the post-COVID consumer

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Oct 29 2020

In the post-COVID era, retail brands are having to reassess how they connect with shoppers at the shelf. Brands are now having to contend with varying social distancing measures, changing regulations around retail store capacity and increased consumer concerns around hygiene, while also facing a rapid shift towards digital and ecommerce.

To thrive in this evolving retail landscape, businesses are increasingly turning to digital platforms to bridge the gap between their brand and their customers. To keep up with a world that is quickly becoming dominated by ecommerce, physical retail brands are having to pivot to provide a seamless omnichannel experience to meet changing consumer expectations.

Rather than racing to innovate in a time when many brands are faced with reduced budgets and increased uncertainty, existing technologies can be implemented in new ways to connect with the in-store customer.

Dynamic digital creative

Dynamic creative can be deployed to in-store digital signage, enabling brands to easily, quickly and cost-effectively ensure the right content reaches the right people at the right time. Providing messaging based on real-time personal or environmental factors is a powerful tool to provide relevancy and context that helps shift consumers from a ‘browsing’ to a ‘buying’ mindset.

Weather is a simple yet effective example of a trigger that can affect purchasing behavior. Weather-based messaging can provide an immense increase in product relevancy – for example, an F&B brand selling ice-cream may choose to promote their products in-store only when the local weather conditions exceed a certain temperature. Dynamically serving creative messages to customers based on real-time triggers not only drastically increases relevance and consideration at the shelf but also reduces wasted advertising spend.

Dynamic digital signage can also be used to convey social distancing and safety messaging, with consumers now placing greater importance on shopping with brands with rigorous hygiene measures in place. Through technology such as facial recognition or temperature scanners, shoppers can be notified whether it’s safe to enter the store, whether those around them are healthy and whether social distancing guidelines are being adhered to.

QR codes

Already well-established throughout Asia and gaining popularity in western countries, QR codes are a simple yet effective solution to connect the physical and digital retail experience. While QR technology is relatively easy to create and implement, brands can build creative and sophisticated solutions off the back of their QR technology that facilitate exceptional omnichannel customer experiences.

One straightforward yet powerful application of QR codes is providing consumers greater access to product information. In a time where shoppers may be reluctant to pick up or interact with multiple products for fear of cross-contamination with other shoppers, QR codes can connect shoppers directly to product pages to gather the information they need to make a purchase decision. QR codes can also effectively connect the bricks-and-mortar retail experience with ecommerce stores, allowing brands to provide a solution to out-of-stock items, missing sizes etc.

QR technologies can also be used to facilitate services such as contactless digital payment, addressing the accelerated post-COVID desire for contactless shopping and low-touch retail experiences. As fully staff-less stores such as Amazon Go would suggest that contactless retail is the way of the future, digital payments act as an effective bridging technology between the old and new retail environment, while improving in-store efficiency.

Virtual try-on technologies

With the in-store retail environment still posing a perceived risk in the minds of shoppers, home try-on technologies are on the rise. Consumers are spending less time in-store and interacting less with products on the shelf. While virtual fitting technologies have been around for some time, COVID-19 has proved to be a catalyst for their rapidly growing importance in the retail environment.

Virtual fitting technologies can have important applications for both the in-store and at-home shopper. When installed in-store, they can act as a replacement for the traditional fitting room, enabling consumers to make informed decisions at the shelf. Likewise, at home, virtual try-on can give shoppers peace of mind in their online purchases. In both cases, consumers may be prompted to spend more while also reducing their return rate and lowering operational costs for brands.

Virtual try-on isn’t just limited to clothing brands. Throughout 2020 we have seen increased instances of cosmetic retailers using technology that enables consumers to virtually try-on cosmetics at counters where testers are no longer able to be used. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, either – varying types of technologies can be implemented depending on a brand’s digital sophistication, with some brands implementing advanced AR solutions while others make personalized sizing recommendations based on consumers’ past purchases and size-based returns.

At Tag, we create retail marketing campaigns that stand out. With our global team of retail experts and POSM specialists, with a unique skillset combination of technical capability, shopper understanding, and in-store activation experience we create solutions that drive top-line growth.

Schedule a call today to discuss how we can help with your retail marketing needs.

Related reads:

Recommerce: A retail opportunity or a threat to brands?

eCommerce in APAC: 2020 regional report

Livestream shopping, group buying and social discovery: The boom of social commerce

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