The Role of a Digital Shopping Assistant in Physical Stores

The Role of a Digital Shopping Assistant in Physical Stores

Frank Krug

July 2, 2020

Online shoppers have come to expect that during their shopping experience, retailers are leveraging specific insights, past purchase behaviors, product reviews and loyalty program data, resulting in curated product recommendations that are relevant to their needs, wants and taste.

Specifically, the role of AI provides a level of personalization to the shopper that hopefully builds a positive and long-lasting brand connection, resulting in loyalty to the retailer and ongoing ‘add to cart’ purchases

During this time, we know that shoppers are spending more times on their phone; data shares this is happening in the evening as the ‘commute’ time may be shorter for some. As shoppers peruse the many apps on their phone, and screen time increases, retailers are provided with an opportunity for further connection with their shopper. For retailers, the challenge remains: With so much info and content, how do we get shoppers to spend time on this app and not once or twice, but consistently

In this pandemic, the role of technology in one’s life continues to evolve, and for many has shifted from a convenience, to a lifeline. While Gen Z grew up with technology in their cribs, Baby Boomers have been slower to adopt to technology, specifically apps. Social distancing has made it more enticing to Boomers to adopt technologies that allow them to accomplish their mission without leaving their homes. For example, why go to a bank to deposit a check when you can deposit it instantly from your phone? Or, why visit a grocery store when your food can be delivered to your door?

As some of the country re-opens, Brick and Mortar retailers are looking to bring in sales and can look to the solutions that online retailers have had with app technology to provide personalization and basket building. A few of these opportunities are noted below.

In-store app usage can:

  • Increase revenues from cross-selling and up-selling
  • Help customers navigate your physical store
  • Create a unified commerce shopping experience in store
  • Provide enriched customer service

Nike and Sam’s Club are two marquee brands that have led the way on the in-store app approach. At the Nike’s flagship in NYC, one is prompted to download the Nike app using a QR Code. As the customer makes their way through the store, traditional signage is featured to highlight app features and benefits, building connection with the shopper through every step.

Their “Shop the look” allows shoppers to scan a QR code on a mannequin that will provide information on each piece of clothing and provide additional style paring options. This technology allows customers to check inventory availability and to have the items sent to a fitting room or place them directly into their digital cart for pickup as they leave the store.

Shoppers can also make an appointment at the popular Sneaker Bar where they can create a one of a kind pair of sneakers. The Sneaker Bar has dip-dyeing, footwear printing, embroidery, footwear patches, lasering as well as a full footwear accessory bar of laces, zippers and tongue tags.

Nike also uses their app for BOPIS. When the shopper enters the 24-hour access locker area, they identify the locker with their name and scan the QR code from their app to retrieve their items. In the future the lockers could be an opportunity to cross sell. Complimentary items could be placed in the locker, if they resonate with the shopper all they need to do is use the app to add it to their order. The app allows shoppers to never have to see an associate if they don’t want to and allows for associates to focus on more important customer service issues.

Sam’s Club has taken this a step further; the store has no cashiers and is completely app driven. Shoppers scan each item as it is placed their cart. The app can also provide additional product information or additional product recommendations based on past purchase behavior.

Additionally, the Sam’s Club app can provide Google style navigation to plot a course through the store based on a shopping list. Mapping the shopping journey provides the ability to deliver push notifications as the shopper passes additional items the shopper may want.

With major retailers investing in digital shopping assistants, the technology adoption rate dramatically increasing and the desire for social distancing, we are set to see shoppers expect in-store technology as much as they expect it online.

With the constant evolution of technology and how we as consumers, brands and retailers use it, those that will win will leverage the latest technology to connect with shoppers at every point on the purchase journey.

To learn more about Velocity Commerce Group and how we can help you win the grocery ecommerce wars, please reach out to us on LinkedIn, at our website. Let’s Talk!

Contact Us

Let’s Talk

Find out how we can create value for your business and solve your commerce challenges.