We're bringing retail service back

As retailers have grown bigger over the years, shoppers have been receiving less personal attention from store associates. That’s not a criticism of retailers – it’s just the reality in a competitive industry that needs to maximize the performance of floor space and staff. Many of today’s big retailers operate fairly low touch or even self-service environments, with most staff employed at the checkout or in the stockroom. Fewer sales people on the floor means less opportunity for cross and up-selling, and these missed opportunities can hurt sales. The purely transactional nature of retail relationships today makes it harder for retailers to build customer loyalty, and that’s another reason they are investing in mobile; to help improve customer loyalty at time when many consumers are extremely price driven.

Mobile apps personalize the shopping experience by providing targeted promotions and relevant content

You like shoes? Your favorite store can keep you up to date with the latest shoe promotions. They’ll showcase the new collection from that designer you like, tell you where you can find the latest styles and send you a discount that’ll get you in store (good for them) and saving money (good for you). And there are other developments that are helping retailers bring service back.

The growing trend towards click and collect is fantastic news for retailers

Shoppers coming in to pick up purchases are likely to buy more while in store, so there’s definitely opportunity for up-selling. It also lets retailers provide a level of personalization beyond ‘you might also like x y and z’ by giving associates the opportunity to engage with customers face to face. So it’s the best of both worlds; the ease – and cost saving - of online shopping combined with personal service in store.

Tighter integration of the on and offline shopping experiences opens up further opportunities for personalizing service

If a product is out of stock in store, a retail associate could place an online order on the customer’s behalf, ensuring that the customer walks away happy and the sale isn’t lost to a competitor. Or customers can use mobile devices to interact with products, displays or even shelves in store to access more information and conduct their research on the spot. Virtual shopping carts can be filled in store and saved online for faster, easier, checkout now or later.

And then there’s awesome futuristic tech like Team Lab’s interactive coat hangers and the MemoMi, which in addition to being an actual mirror, detects gestures and returns a 360 view of what you’re wearing, shows it in different colors, gives you completely virtual clothes to try on, lets you share what you see with your friends for some brutally honest feedback, and even check out before you leave the changing room. And you just know someone’s standing by ready to bring you a different size when you need it.

Now that’s service worth going in store for.