Retailers worldwide are hyper focused on new formats and strategies to serve and engage consumers.
Technology is playing a key role in this ongoing process as retailers look to create a consistent, user friendly experience online and at bricks-and-mortar locations. They must do this while adapting to changing consumer trends and remaining true to their brands.
According to Robyn Itule, host of Insight's Technomics podcast, "brand experiences [can] live through technology on a lot of different platforms, noting that if I go to a website or any kind of application, I would really like it to be all the same, and I am pretty sure I am not alone in that. But it's not as easy to create that same experience everywhere. There is a lot of thought and strategy going into it."
The stakes are high, coming at a challenging time for retailers, particularly traditional, bricks-and-mortar businesses that are seeing consumers flock increasingly to e-commerce sites. These retailers -- and newer companies -- are having to develop more innovative technologies to keep pace with trends. One new approach is Unified Branch Infrastructure, which improves store technology infrastructure and leads to a better customer experience.
It is a sort of bricks-and-mortar retail version of the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ oven made popular through infomercials and other marketing. Ronco advertised the oven as a "set it and forget it" appliance. The oven's different settings and configurations enabled users to create a range of savory dishes without owning many, different cooking devices.
Retailers are aiming for a Ronco effect -- ease of use for companies and a uniformly high consumer experience across different devices and at store locations. It is part of retailers' effort to reimagine the shopping experience. Target and Apple are among the largest brands having the most success, or perhaps it is more apt to say that their success has stemmed in no small part from their ability to create an engaging, user friendly experience.
- Target offers an application with a lot of per-store information. For example, the company can tell you inventory levels and pinpoint the part of an aisle where a product lives.
- Apple, gives customers one account that can accommodate consumers' needs everywhere whether remotely or in a store.