Research Hub > Retail Technology: How to Improve Your In-Store Shopping Experience

November 28, 2022

Article
5 min

Retail Technology: How to Improve Your In-Store Shopping Experience

It is no surprise that shoppers want to see more in-store tech. However, many retailers are coming up short in keeping up with shoppers’ tech demands. Embracing technology in your store today will allow you to operate successfully for years to come.

Whether you are a grocery store, a department store chain, or a locally owned downtown shop, it is no surprise that shoppers want to see more in-store tech. However, many retailers are coming up short in keeping up with shoppers’ tech demands. It's critical to have the right technologies in place to save your shoppers time, and that they are easy to use and provide enough value for customers to stay loyal to your brand. What you don’t want to happen is customers leaving your store feeling irritated, empty-handed, and shopping elsewhere because of a subpar experience. It can be challenging to strike the right balance between embracing technology in your store and improving the customer's shopping experience, but it is worth the effort and necessary to keep your store running successfully for many years to come.

Why Retail Technology is Important

In today’s tech-driven world, retail technology has become more critically important than ever before. Retail technology has completely revolutionized the industry over the years using computers, mobile devices, and other forms of digital technology to make in-store shopping more enjoyable and valuable. And as a retailer, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and have the latest technology on-hand to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace that will not only benefit your business, but will give your customers the convenient, seamless shopping experience that they are looking for.

What Technology is Being Used in Retail Stores?

Technology in stores is quickly changing the way retailers do business. It wasn’t too long ago when we were writing checks and using manual credit card machines. Now, it’s self-checkouts and mobile app payments. With smartphone technology and virtual reality on the rise, there are many opportunities that you can welcome innovative technology in your store and there’s no better time to do it than now. Here are a few of the top retail technologies that stores are currently using:

  • Quick Response (QR) Codes: QR codes are a barcode-like combination of small black squares that shoppers can scan with their phone camera. QR codes can be placed anywhere throughout the store – at the storefront where shoppers can directly signup for coupons at the entrance, next to product shelving at the beginning of the aisles to see the price of all the products in that aisle or be printed on paper receipts at checkout to direct shoppers to leave a review or complete a survey. QR codes are a simple, straightforward way for retailers to collect shopper information.
  • Smart Checkout: Shoppers are at a point where they want to shop at their own pace and be left unattended. The traditional checkout experience is quickly becoming obsolete because who wants to stand in a long checkout line while shopping? Automation has significantly eased that pain point over the years. Smart checkout features include digital receipts, self-checkout, and contactless payment.
  • Interactive Kiosks: Interactive kiosks help bridge the gap between an online presence and a brick-and-mortar store. They allow customers to be able to control their own shopping narrative and modernize their overall experience, from placing an order to wayfinding. The biggest benefits from interactive kiosks are that they reduce staffing costs and are a gold mine of gathering customer information, such as tracking buying patterns.

How to Implement Retail Technology in Your Store

It’s important to continuously experiment with recent technologies in your store, but how do you go about doing it in a way where you invest in the right things while minimizing the risks as much as possible? Below are several steps you can take to decide the right technologies to implement:

  1. Do Your Research First
    Don’t just jump on the tech bandwagon and assume that the gadgets and solutions you are rolling out are what your customers need. Do your research ahead of time and figure out what technologies your customers are using in your industry and how they are using them to determine the best ones to implement. You can find this out in several different ways - through direct interactions with shoppers, looking at industry surveys, and from watching what other merchants in your industry are doing. 

  2. Provide Staff Training
    Once you’ve narrowed down which technologies to adopt in your store, be sure to train your staff prior to implementation. Have a conversation with your tech solutions provider and see if they offer any training or resources that you can have access to. If you fail to equip your staff with knowledge of how the technologies work and how to use them, it can lead to confusion and poor shopping experiences. Don’t make this avoidable mistake – train all managers and associates beforehand.

  3. Test It Out
    Before you roll out new technologies across your entire retail operation, do your due diligence and thoroughly test them out first. Doing this will give you the chance to address any shortcomings or glitches you might come across, as well as apply the feedback you get from early users. There are many ways to run tests, such as taking advantage of free trials from the provider or inviting your top customers to try out new technologies so that they can evaluate them and give you feedback.

  4. Implement the Technology
    Once your testing ends up being successful, you’re ready for implementation. By this stage, you’ve mitigated all the glitches and bugs caught during testing and acted on the feedback. Depending on the technology you’re looking to adopt and the size of your business, there aren’t really any hard or fast rules to follow. If your research was done, staff were trained, and the testing was a success, the implementation process should go smoothly.

  5. Measure the Results
    What are the key measures of success for you? Is it store productivity? Revenue? Customer satisfaction? Whatever the case may be, make sure to closely monitor and document those results so that you can figure out the best courses of action to take moving forward.

The Future of Retail Technology

Technology needs in the retail sector have changed. Customers want a seamless shopping journey, and retailers need to be proactively optimizing those experiences for them. There are several technological advancements to look forward to in the future of the retail space, including more automated and self-checkout processes for customers, wearables for employees to connect with store data and AI-driven technologies to deter store crime and proactively disrupt nuisance activity in real time, providing your customers with a safe and comfortable shopping experience.  

Summary

Customers expect the same optimized experience in-store they get online. With shoppers demanding automation and convenience, embracing new retail technologies keeps you competitive. Lean on the Retail Solutions experts at CDW to help you implement the right retail technologies in your stores and create new digital-driven experiences for in-store shoppers.