The Heart of the In-Store Shopper Moment
In-store is where retailers have the most control over the retail experience – and the most focused shopper attention. It is the setting for a perfect storm, where desire meets satisfaction, retail dreams come true and exploration leads to shopper delight.
And by the way, beacons do not delight the shopper. She doesn’t connect just because the sign is digital. She is pleased because the suit she admired looks great on her, not because the fitting room has a smart mirror. Technology on its own does not create important shopper experiences. Memorable in-store moments are not innovation-based.
A wonderful shopper experience is inspired by an insight about people. It resonates on a human level, and is fueled by emotion. The gadget doesn’t matter half as much as what it makes the shopper feel. Technology must work in the service of the experience.
Make no mistake. The shopper doesn’t care how the experience happens, just that it does. Innovations are tools for connection, not the reason. Digital advances are merely mechanisms to bring the brand and the shopper together. To view them otherwise is to leave the shopper’s heart out of the equation.
The flowery language about relationships and heart may seem a bit overwrought, but shopping is an emotional activity. The shopper needs to feel something. It’s not about romanticizing a trip to the store; it’s about understanding the passion and potential of the in-store shopper moment. It’s about listening; really hearing what the shopper is asking for. Remember, she’s the one who makes the rules now.
All this is not to say that digital technology doesn’t have a place on the retail sales floor. Of course it does. New technology is enhancing the shopper experience in ways that were once unimaginable. Who knew that a handheld device could one day connect to a piece of hardware in the store and alert the shopper to personalized deals in real time?
But its reason for existence shouldn’t be “all the other guys are using beacons.” The critical question for retail marketers to ask is “how would receiving individualized product offers and suggestions make my shopper feel?” The answer is recognized. Appreciated. Valued. Understood.
Notice that “frustrated by the fluctuations of RSSI readings” is not on that list. Well-applied, shopper-friendly retail technology is a bridge to meaningful in-store experience. Once something seems too hard or confusing or overwhelming to the shopper, that bridge becomes a wall. The shopper gives up. Inactivity replaces interactivity.