Digital technology has integrated seamlessly into our lives, and for the most part makes significant improvements.
Most consumers would agree that online shopping is a major convenience. Likewise, the ability to research genuine customer reviews and get the low-down on products before they purchase.
But digital marketing is beginning to move in-store and the shopping experience of the future will look a lot different. Just as we find with online shopping and marketing, this has pros and cons for consumers and retailers.
So what do customers find acceptable and where might retailers push the tech to far..?
In-store tech consumers like to see
NFC (near-field communication) on mobile phones has made payments much easier. Retailers can get through queues quicker and consumers do not have to worry about credit cards and money.
The best thing about NFC is the technology will improve. Even at its infant stage consumers are satisfied with the shopping experience mobile payments offer.
Another benefit NFC can provide is allowing consumers to scan a product in-store whereby they can bring up user reviews and recommendations. Discount coupons sent to mobile phones will also be a welcome alert and could help retailers increase sales.
Marketing technology consumers are creeped-out about is anything that invades their privacy. Geo-targeting mobile handsets is a little unsettling despite the huge benefits for retailers.
A big no-no is facial recognition technology targeting ads for individual customers on digital screens. Appearing on the big screen in a sports stadium is one thing, but in a department store is a completely different ball game.
Even honouring customers as a high-value shopper every time they visit is not getting the nod from consumers. Technology that invades privacy and causes embarrassment is one to avoid.
It is acknowledged that consumers are happy to receive real-time promotions on their mobile handsets, but do not want to be broadcast to other shoppers. Anything interruptive or irritating is not going to be a hit.
What in-store tech offers value?
Customers want an enjoyable shopping experience, convenience and be made to feel like a valuable customer. NFC technology certainly ticks the right boxes for easy payments and product reviews.
When it comes to customer services, retailers have to be more savvy and understanding about how they choose to interact with their customers. It all boils down to timing and authorisation.
For example, a recent digital consumer survey by Accenture revealed being greeted by name by shop assistants when they walk into a store is creepy, whereas being thanked by name by the cashier shows good customer service.
It is also good customer service to get authorisation from your customers to track their location before sending offers if they happen to be passing near to your store.
If you are going to introduce in-store tech, it has to offer value to customers without being intrusive. Therefore think like a consumer and not like a marketer.