Connecting with Customers: 6 Innovations in Technology that have Changed Retail
As the demands of customers change, retail businesses must step up to the plate to incorporate the best technology and services. Below are six technological innovations that have improved the ease of shopping for customers, while benefiting businesses by building loyalty and increasing sales.
- Smartphones. According to an infographic by ClickFox, approximately 75% of customers have used a mobile app to make a purchase or help in their buying decision. This statistic is not surprising since many apps now allow customers to find businesses according to location or goods sold, compare prices, receive deals and coupons, participate in contests in real-time, and purchase desired products all through the use of one’s smartphone.
- Price Comparing Apps. During the current economic climate, customers want to be savvy, and therefore conduct thorough research before making a final buying decision. New apps allow customers to compare prices across several distributors; find coupons, whether through manufacturer discounts or other mediums such as Foursquare; and share what they’re browsing with friends.
- Product Recommendations. Businesses are implementing product recommendation software on their sites to help cater to their customers’ shopping experiences. As products and services are chosen, the software generates content and product recommendations other users deemed helpful. Not only can a business generate more sales by providing like-products, they can also enhance the user-experience by supplying as much relevant information as possible.
- Social Media Platforms. According to a recent infographic posted by Search Engine Journal, people spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook alone. In an effort to reach out to their customers, businesses are engaging on various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. This helps them monitor where their customers are coming from, how they shop, what they are buying and when they make purchases. In turn, customers are given incentives to interact such as businesses offer coupons, free giveaways for contest winners and immediate customer service assistance.
- Barcode and QR Code Scanners. Businesses are utilizing barcodes and QR codes to supply information regarding coupons, daily deals and company material in a small, yet quickly obtainable view. Upon scanning the image, the customer will be promptly diverted to cost-saving opportunities or the company’s website. Customers and businesses are finding this useful, since customers can quickly access important information with a swift scan of their phone.
- GPS. Though GPS has been around for some time, the software continues to advance in the way it helps businesses and customers connect with each other. GPS devices, both stand-alone and on a smartphone, now suggest local businesses around the area in which a person is traveling. Additionally, businesses are asking permission to use the global positioning system in their customers’ phones, so when someone is near their establishment, they can offer coupons and discounts, hoping that the close proximity and the reinforced offers will persuade customers to pay them a visit.
SOUND OFF: What are some technological innovations you believe have helped customers and businesses connect?