During the holiday shopping season, retailers rolled out new shopping methods—and some of them are here for the long term.
- E-commerce has been the norm, if not the preferred method of shopping since the pandemic, but some shoppers are still looking to get out of the house and shop.
- Similar to the rise of hybrid work experiences, shoppers are looking for hybrid shopping options that allow them the convenience of online with the experience of shopping in-store.
- More stores offer an option that allows shoppers to make a purchase online and pick up the item in the store.
- Technology also allows stores to offer more personalized coupon deals, and tools like artificial intelligence (AI) offer shoppers customizations while improving store traffic flow.
Why it’s important
Understanding preferences and trends is key for retailers to stay relevant with shoppers. The pandemic brought about more online shopping opportunities, and like with many pandemic changes, these ones could stick around for a while, says Infillion Media president Christa Carone.
Buying an item online and picking it up in the store rose to popularity during the pandemic when fewer customers wanted to venture into stores. Now, it’s a convenient way for shoppers to select an item and skip the shipping time.
Shoppers can avoid the lengthy time spent wandering the aisles at a store and skip the wait time that usually comes with shipping. This shopping experience offers convenience for families with young children who need to pick up items but don’t want to drag toddlers around a store.
In addition to online shopping providing convenience for customers, retailers can also use tech to improve the traditional in-store shopping experience. By using location data, retailers can offer customized discounts and coupons for shoppers, explains Carone. Of course, consumers must give permission for the retailer to access data, but shoppers looking for a customized approach to shopping can take advantage of this feature.
Though a relatively new technology, AI is beginning to play a role in retail shopping. Using AI tech, retailers can see how long customers stay in a store and where they spend the most time. This data can help retailers make decisions when it comes to the organization and layout of the store. Like the location tracking information, this AI tech can also customize ads for the shopper.
A few retailers have experimented with stores that don’t even have a checkout system. Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology allows a shopper to pay for his items by simply walking out the door.
As the technology becomes available, shoppers will lean more into the hybrid shopping experience that allows them to experience both the comfort of online shopping and in-store convenience.