I recently attended a Retail sales workshop hosted by Sektor and the theme was ‘Technology for Profit’.  In part, it addressed ways to engage with Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) consumers, given the ubiquitous rise of iPads, smartphones, mobiles, etc.

These devices have armed consumers with increased power and information when shopping; making them more discerning and savvy.  On the flip side they provide a wonderful gateway for the retailer to reach new levels of engagement not previously possible.

Technology requires a paradigm shift in thinking, especially when dealing with a younger generation that has grown up on technology.  Rather than vent frustrations at picky consumers whose internet research has given them more product knowledge than your staff, the smart retailer must meet the challenge head on.

Maybe start by placing QR codes alongside promotional items in the store. Quick Response codes (QR Codes) are a matrix barcode.  Smart Phones can scan the code and provide the consumer with significant information, linking them to websites.  Building interaction with the consumer keeps them engaged, in the store and informed.

Link online and in-store marketing through Twitter, Facebook, the website and in-store experiences.  E.g. Offer loyalty or discount opportunities via social media.  Provide in-store access to websites and interactive screens to build rapport and at the same time accumulate consumer insight and networks.

Interactive shelves and kiosks, provide consumers with a richer shopping experiences.  Why not display Stock on Hand amounts at the shelf or include a Facebook “like” button at the point interaction.  Technology is getting cheaper, so that it’s feasible to placing bite-sized screens on the shelf to stream promotional adverts or provide access to continuous self-help sales assistance.

Sektor’s presentation was refreshing due to passion and innovation that came through in the presentations.  In the midst of challenging retail conditions here was a company with boundless ideas about how retailers can be innovative to make money.

Tougher conditions or adversity bring out the best in innovation and fighting spirit.  Employing technology can help exploit opportunities that exist for those with vision and optimism.

To find out more about using technology in the world of retail speak with Professional Advantage www.pa.com.au.

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