Amazon recently expanded the trial of its Amazon Key feature, which enables delivery drivers to enter a customer’s home to deliver goods inside through keyless entry. The company also introduced a feature that lets consumers view motion video clips of the delivery driver entering and/or leaving when the door is locked or unlocked.

“Customers have told us that they love how easy it is to use Amazon Key for keyless entry and door monitoring from anywhere with the Amazon Key App,” says Amazon’s general manager of the new in-home delivery service.

Looks like the e-commerce giant has hit on an important concept, as stated here by Market Watch:

'In the battle for retail market share, convenience wins.' Click To Tweet

What Retailers Are Doing to Keep Up With Amazon

“Amazon has been the biggest disrupter to the retail landscape since Walmart,” says Brian Yarbrough, an analyst at Edward Jones. “The Walmarts and Targets of the world are beginning to realize that they need to have solid offerings in store and online.”

Dirk Izzo, Senior Vice President of the Industry Solutions Group at NCRT, recently stated:

 “The challenge we see is that more and more retailers need to integrate the physical world with the digital world.” 

According to SCOREsmall and midsized companies that led in the adoption of technology increased annual sales 15% faster than companies that didn’t adopt new technology.

Market Watch suggests that a combination of new and traditional retail services may work best. In-store pick up, for example, is one of the most effective ways for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with online retail, according to Lee Peterson, executive vice president of the research firm WD Partners.

Beacon technology is another way to marry new and old retail services. This innovation uses small devices placed throughout the store to alert customers via an iPhone app about product recommendations and current deals as people shop. Beacon technology enhances the store experience by delivering relevant offers and content. Plus, customers who come to the store for just one or two items often spend more as a result of the information they’re receiving while they shop.

The creative intelligence company, PSFK, advises retailers to tap into the tech that visitors already carry with them (i.e. mobile and wearables) to offer on-demand support and wayfinding as they enter a retail environment. Retailers should also consider how they can build assistance into their retail space via voice portals, interactive displays, and IoT applications.

Additionally, suggests PSFK, retailers should prioritize creating mobile tools for shoppers and associates that provide in-the-moment information to inform purchase decisions. Store owners can also make the most of shelf space by creating responsive displays that deliver relevant messaging and rewards to the customers who interact with them.

Whether it’s a subscription service, drive-thru shopping, curbside pickup services, or an in-store shopping app, more retailers are implementing a background layer of technology to improve the in-store customer experience.

And so should you! By testing out different kinds of digital technology in your store, you’ll be able to determine what works best for engaging, retaining, and attracting customers.

Conclusion

Notwithstanding the growing variety of technology-enhanced shopping options, Brian Yarbrough notes that in-store shopping at brick-and-mortar businesses will remain an integral part of the retail market. “There will always be a need for physical retail locations,” he says.

The convenience of returning products in-store for free, as well as being able to physically see and touch products, will continue to trump online retail, Yarbrough adds. “Most customers still feel the need to go to the store.”

That being said, investing in new technology systems and services increases your competitiveness in a changing market, according to Yarbrough.

“Consumers want to use stores in ways that are better than online,” says Lee Peterson. “As Amazon continues to expand and innovate its delivery system, brick-and-mortar stores face the choice between finding new channels of convenience or falling behind.”

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a novelist and voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.


Also published on Medium.

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