Physical stores go digital to unite retail experiences, IDC and Adobe study reveals

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Half (50%) of UK retailers are investing in in-store location-based technologies – such as iBeacons – as consumers expect a continuation of the personalised digital experiences found online. New IDC insight, sponsored by Adobe, also reveals that 30% of retailers are specifically intending to use the Internet of Things (IoT) for location-based consumer engagement.

By delivering contextually relevant information to a consumer’s mobile device a retailer can minimise the risk of customers looking elsewhere. The study shows that, when in-store, two thirds (67%) of UK consumers already use their mobile device to look for additional product information. Of those consumers, 75% use a retailer’s website and 47% use a retailer’s mobile app, suggesting their individual needs are not being met on the High Street

“Mobile phones are now a huge part of our shopping experience whether at home, in-store or elsewhere,” said Spencer Izard, head of European retail insights, IDC. “The worst thing that could happen would be to lose a customer to a competitor when you’ve already got them in the building. But this is a realistic prospect unless you can make sure they are getting an engaging experience, and accessing all the right information on their mobile device to help them make a purchasing decision.”

When digitally driven experiences are available in-store, consumers are embracing them. More than a third (34%) of consumers utilise digital signage and shelf-labels, and nearly one in five (17%) use interactive display technology, such as in-store windows and changing rooms. Sales assistants are still an important part of the personalised shopping experience with more than half of consumers (56%) engaging with them. When sales assistants are digitally enabled – such as with the use of iPads in the Apple store – a third (34%) of consumers want more information and demonstrations.

“To remain competitive, retailers must be able to deliver engaging content and rich digital experiences,” said Iona Walters, senior solutions consultant at Adobe. “Utilising digital technologies in-store to enhance customer experience is a big opportunity for retailers to stand out from the crowd. To ensure it is a success, retailers need to have a flexible creative platform at their core.”