Can Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Still Reach Connected Customers?

Karen St. George, VP Marketing
07/19/2018

Smartphones have become an invaluable shopping asset for consumers. However, real-time access to competitive products, pricing, and special offers has sometimes thwarted sales for brick-and-mortar retailers. In some cases, in-store shoppers abandon their physical shopping cart when they find a better offer online. Analysts estimate that approximately 70 percent of consumers turn to the Internet to locate the best price. Hence, price-shopping connected customers are often perceived to lead the downfall of traditional storefronts.

In some cases, connected customers never intend to purchase the product in-person. With the popular trend of “showrooming,” customers visit local stores to touch and feel products, although they have already decided to buy online from a lower-priced retailer. This trend is particularly common with products that are widely available from multiple retailers – such as large-screen TVs – but include an element that consumers want to personally inspect, such as the sharpness of the TV’s picture. Similarly to price-shopping, showrooming is also a contributing factor to the downfall of in-store purchases.

As the battle between online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar resellers wages on, IoT presents perhaps the single-most significant factor to help physical storefronts earn more sales with connected customers. Many real-life use cases are related to delivering an enhanced in-store experience that appeals to the connected customer. For example, using location-based services and two-way digital signage technology, retailers are now able to know when a loyal customer is in their store and even which aisle the customer is visiting. This enables the store to deliver a brand-controlled experience and a customized, real time best-price offer.

In addition, IoT-enabled retailers can target these high-value connected customers with personalized concierge services. Through integration with the store’s CRM application, the retailer is armed with deep insights into buying trends and which products are of most interest to each particular customer. This enables highly trained sales associates to proactively address customer needs while the customer is in the store, deliver personalized help, and offer a timely, competitive incentive to purchase.

In using IoT to enhance the in-store experience, customers then get the traditional benefits of trouble shooting challenges with store staff. In some cases, when a specialty product is not in stock, salespeople can offer free ship-to-store options that provide the customer with the right item at the right price, but with a consultative value-add that the customer would not have received when shopping online. In addition, the in-person experience provides an opportunity for salespeople to recommend appropriate accessories and extended warranty plans that increase the sale size.

An IoT-enabled store eliminates key customer pain points, such as purchase friction, while delivering the best price and increasing satisfaction; a win-win scenario for both the connected customer and the retailer. Connected customers are not the end of in-store sales. In fact, they represent the next great opportunity for retailers to earn loyalty through unique personalized experiences and un-advertised special offers.

Interested in learning how to increase sales and increase customer satisfaction with IoT? We are here to help! Reach out to KORE today to learn more

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