The bricks and mortar retail world has been up against ecommerce for a couple of decades now, somehow never quite moving into the future the way it needs to, in order to bridge the gap. So why doesn’t everyone just shop online? The real benefit of in-store retail for consumers is the ability to experience the products. To use senses beyond sight: the touch and feel of an item, the interaction with staff and real people. We all enjoy this experience, which is why online shopping hasn’t made retail spaces obsolete – for the new generation their is a resurgence. There are some drawbacks, however: wait times, long queues, unpleasant experiences, differing prices or out of stock items can be a source of frustration that can lead consumers back online.

Thus, today’s smart stores and spaces are a really important step forward for consumers in terms of service levels and satisfaction and for the retailer’s, customer loyalty. When you go online, your likes, dislikes and a plethora of other information about you is used to determine what you see and what experience you have. To learn more about our thoughts on Smart Spaces and IoT you can visit an earlier blog of ours. 

Using similar data to understand consumers and make their interactions and experiences more convenient and meaningful is surely a very positive thing indeed. Not just in retail of course, but all physical spaces. Restaurants, museums, services within each city; in today’s world of IoT (read our IoT article here) cities all over the world are becoming smarter, more intuitive and more forward thinking. This not only helps with their bottom line and business management, but it provides consumers, visitors – us, the people! – with efficient, enjoyable experiences.

The bricks and mortar retail industry can’t afford to remain passive; ignoring the needs of its cross-channel shoppers – there are too many alternatives for shoppers to turn to. Consumer expectations have been set and the technologies are readily available, today. Smart spaces are a natural progression in bridging the gap between the online and offline world and taking retail into the future.

This is why with the IO platform (IO Connect, IO Insight and IO Engage) retailers and venues can take a proactive step forward in understanding their consumers. The creation of these connected spaces enable an in-depth understanding of those who occupy them, and how to deliver better products and services as result. Boosting loyalty, conversion and more importantly creating a shopping experience personalised to them, an unaddressed and defining need for the next generation of shoppers.