Early on a few merchants saw the challenge of the e-commerce platform.
Shoppers began appreciating the experience of on-online shopping as it offered convenience and simplicity. Furthermore, as in Amazon, they offered a platform with curated product content, reviews and ratings for an experience to further guide self-directed shoppers.
As more shoppers found the on-line experience met their needs more conveniently and increased their expectations, less shoppers went to brick & mortar stores and many have closed. As a result, some merchants played catch-up with shoppers to meet the on-line experience by offering their own e-commerce platform in lieu of improving the in-store shopper experience
Some merchants failed as they lacked vision and the skill-set to avail themselves of reliable technology with protocols to compete in-store with an on-line store for a comparable customer experience. It later became obvious the customer experience had to improve and was Key to ameliorate the disruptive change brought on by e-commerce.
As a result, merchant leadership’s response to this disruptive change began to include the vision and skill set of in-house technology experts. Engineers had as much or more influence over sales departments and how they could use technology in-aisle to improve the customer experience. Creative sales management teams were limited to the IT department’s priorities and schedules to drive ideas meant to provide a promising sales forecast. Consequently, shopper centric technologies to improve the customer experience in-store were sidelined as merchants invested in e-commerce. There wasn’t a grand attempt to “move the needle for a better Shopper Experience to compete with an e-commerce platform offering simplicity and convenience”. It makes one ask, “How important is the Customer to your business.”
Touchrate in 2009 was the first starter using touchscreens for self-service to redefine the shopper’s experience with a digital path to purchase and was supported by a major merchant and its brands. The touchscreen experience offered a digital path to purchase providing a logical approach for shoppers by filtering the clutter of SKUs shoppers confront in making a decision in the aisle.
Various on-line platforms allow shoppers to be self-directed with a simple, fast and convenient way to touch and intuitively select to learn from curated product content and guidance for conversion.
Merchants need to innovate within the context of the in-store customer experience. Most leaders believed that smartphones would displace the touchscreen as a platform in store to buy their products.
Touchscreen engagement is high. Our recent A/B testing between touchscreen shopper engagement with our path to purchase is getting substantially more engagement in-aisle then our QR code platform with the same path to purchase accessed via smartphones. The test included thousands of stores with a QR code to be accessed by smartphone with the same digital path to purchase as is offered on touchscreens in just 4% of total stores and they received 60% higher engagement than ALL the stores.
The status quo is no longer an option. Brands and merchants are sharing in-store touchscreen technology for a self-directed experience to increase sales, capture data, balance inventories, develop products, and reduce returned merchandise as shoppers are better able to decide on the correct product choice. This Shopper Self-Service in-aisle Experience is an answer to meeting the expectations of the consumer in a DIY culture and is analogous to self-check out.
The experience begins with a touch.