The incredible rise of Ecommerce led many to believe the time of the high street was over. But despite a period of considerable strife which saw the demise of a number of giants including Virgin Records, Electronics Boutique and Woolworths, the high Street refused to fall, indeed, the very experience of shopping ensured its survival, with boutique and designer stores even thriving.
Now, we are on the cusp of a renaissance of the high street, as retailers begin to unify their in-store and Ecommerce strategies into a single Omnichannel marketing and user experience strategy.
The integration of mobile technology into the high street or in-store environment is going to be a massive disruption to the conventional retail model over the coming years.
Redbox pioneers new technologies within retail environments, from the creation of in store kiosks within changing rooms to innovation with iBeacon hardware.
iBeacons are GPS enabled bluetooth devices that range in size from as small as a coin, they are low powered, have minimal operational costs and, most importantly, can interact with any smartphones within a selected range. The marketing potential for such devices is enormous, as once within the range of a store’s iBeacon, a customer’s phone will be notified with anything from special offers to welcome messages or new stock notices, capitalising on passing trade. The range of these beacons is impressive and fully customisable, a beacon could interface with a device within a few centimetres meters, or up to 70 meters away, depending on the marketer’s need.
Within a store, beacons within the shorter ranges can be placed near certain items, and can update viewer’s phones with detailed information about the product as well as suggested complimentary products or even review pages from 3rd party sites. Beacons are even being used to initiate immediate payment over PayPal and Mastercard’s ‘QKR’ system on some higher security devices in US stores. The technology is very exciting, and allows for both greater interaction with a customer and greater customer control over their purchasing decisions, resulting overall in an enhanced customer experience.
Other advances in the technological rebirth of the high street include more versatile payment options over apps or third party software, or click and collection services such as those used to great effect in UK John Lewis stores over Christmas 2014. The department store was surprised when 56% of the company’s online sales were click and collect outstripping the home delivery service. A high percentage of those sales led to further in-store purchases when collections were made. It proves how greater power to the customer, granted by exploitation of technology, can result in a greater user experience throughout the retail journey.