Dr. Johannes Tröger is the Senior Vice President of AMERIA, the world-leading provider of touch free screen technology. Based in Heidelberg, Germany, AMERIA combines cloud-based software with touch free technology to provide entertaining in-store content for shoppers.
Johannes explains the COVID-19 pandemic, where stores were closed for months, has permanently changed retail shopping. A new group of shoppers has been created who expect you to be able to offer seamless transitions between in-store and online shopping experiences.
Shoppers have become channel agnostic. They shop online, they shop in stores and they like both. They choose what’s the most convenient."
"When they want to look at a product, they go to the store. When they just know what they want to have, they order it online. And I think many shoppers will prefer to do this with the same retailer. But be able to use the different channels of the same retailer they feel comfortable with, and they trust.”
The Behavior of Online Shoppers Survey 2021 shows shoppers were twice as likely to use physical stores to buy products than comparing prices or reading about product specifications.
Johannes explains that many shoppers who go to retail stores either don't know about or don’t use the online store.
When retailers connect their online and offline channels, the biggest benefit is being able to expand the product range that you can offer the shopper."
"In industries like consumer retail, where you only have a limited range of products in the store. For example, smaller retailers probably have 4000 products in the store. But what you can really offer are 20,000 products online. Also imagine consumer electronics. We all know each type of TV comes in 50 different models and you can't have all of them in the store.”
Johannes says shoppers use smartphones to compare prices, to scan a QR code, or look up ingredients of recipes. But a big screen really underlines the whole concept of inspiration in the store.
If you want to have this inspirational aspect, you somehow have to pull people out of their shopping journey.
"For most shoppers when they go to the store, they have an idea of probably what they want, what they want to look at. You have to find ways to do that and use screens in the right way, and especially screens which kind of interact with the surrounding space, and which are not just passively somewhere on the wall. They are a great way to do this.”
Johannes explains big screens can be used to create awareness for services and products. But the biggest benefit is if you find a way to make the screens actually interact with the surrounding space. Not just two-dimensional and passive. With an interactable screen, you can make a click analysis and know the products shoppers chose.
“Using sensors the screen can scan how many people are actually around it. You want to know how they behave in front of the screen? How many people interact with it? This is a lot of data you can generate and analyze. So you can learn which kind of products people are looking at and interacting with through the application you're offering them.”
But Johannes underlines that if you really want to connect the online shop with your physical store and you really want to give the customer an added value, you really have to think about your online shop in a new way.
“You need to curate what you offer the shopper in your online store. Don’t offer them the full range of products, but find some kind of meaningful add-ons to the product portfolio that you already have in the shop.”
It's not just about putting up a touch free screen and displaying your full online shop and then just hoping that people will order something while they’re in the physical store."
"You really have to take some of the principles that you have for the physical store. Where you curate your products, where you choose your product portfolio carefully, where you place products next to each other, that people probably want to buy together.”
Johannes says you should aim to offer the same inspirational shopping experience online as offline.
“In grocery retail there is a big focus on offering the lowest price. Especially for owned brand labels. But in Germany, I think we can see this all over Europe. There is also a big space for retailers which have higher prices but which offer a fundamentally different kind of shopper experience.”
“This really works if you’re offering higher quality products, or more specialized products. For example if you look at the way the stores are designed nowadays, where you have a lot of, for example, freshly prepared meals for example that you can buy directly. Where retailers aim to offer you probably some products that you will find nowhere else. Where the staff are trained in a way that they probably can advise you on, let's say the combination of the wine and the meal you want to cook and so on.”
We have seen this both during but also after the COVID-19 pandemic that many people enjoyed this kind of shopping experience and retailers could really benefit from this kind of more inspirational approach."
"So if you as a retailer can recreate this online it will open up many more opportunities for shopper engagement.”
Thanks to Johannes Tröger for participating in this interview. Stay tuned to this channel for more in-depth interviews from leaders in inspirational retail. Take a look at the iPaper Content Universe to learn more.