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Four Ways Retailers are Digitizing the In-Store Experience

How these businesses reduce friction and drive convenience

With in-store footfall decreasing consistently, many retailers are focused on creating new and compelling ways to lure customers into stores. But what about getting them out of stores? An important part of the in-store experience is ensuring a fast, convenient and frictionless checkout, as well as providing an intuitive layout that customers can easily navigate.

We asked four Publicis Sapient experts: How can traditional retailers use technology to refine and enhance the in-store customer experience to reduce friction and increase efficiency? Which brands and retailers are getting in-store, cross-channel digitization right? What does the future look like for brick and mortar stores in an omnichannel world? Their responses:

The Industry-Wide Impact of Amazon Go

Of all the ways Amazon has disrupted retail, the one with greatest potential impact may be the Amazon Go store. The retail industry is past thinking that all commerce is going to move online; people clearly still love and need a physical store experience. But what they don’t love or need is a checkout line. What seemed like science fiction a few years ago—walking into a store, picking from a shelf, and then walking right out—is now a reality. But Amazon Go is more than just a checkout experience; the organization is mining data that will be leveraged to improve merchandizing, store layout, wayfinding, restocking and fulfillment. This is good news for busy shoppers and a wake-up call to the competition—many of whom need to consider their own version of a seamless physical shopping experience.

Jim Reynolds, Group Director, Senior Client Partner

7-Eleven Goes High-Tech with Little Investment

7-Eleven’s new “Scan and Pay” program, currently being tested in Dallas area stores, allows customers to scan purchases and check out without visiting a cashier. Shoppers use their smartphone’s camera to scan items they want to buy, pay for them with a stored payment method and then confirm the purchase via QR code as they leave the store. While similar to an Amazon Go store, 7-Eleven’s model places far less of an infrastructure burden on the retailer. Nearly all the technology is hosted on the customer’s smartphone. This “Scan and Pay” model is a great “medium-tech” implementation of cashier-less checkout as it provides the opportunity for digitization while avoiding the need for huge investments.

Jon Reily, Vice President, Global Commerce Strategy Lead

Nike Town Goes Cross-Channel

There is a minimum threshold of technology and brand loyalty buy-in that consumers must have in order to make in-store digitization work. Put simply, there has to be something in it for the consumers—otherwise technology is disruptive to the experience and only serves to increase friction. Nike provides a good example of technology done right. Their shopping app integrates with Nike Town store locations and allows customers to shop in advance, have products brought to them, select different size/style options and then pay through the app anywhere in store. The experience is seamless and is also very aligned with the brand promise to bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete. This model could work particularly well for brands that inspire higher levels of loyalty, such as personal electronics, coffee shops and artisanal foods, as well as stores where convenience and speed are less important than the experience and brand engagement, such as premium/designer clothing, jewelry and high-end watches or footwear.

Andy Halliwell, Senior Client Partner

Walmart Simplifies In-Store Fulfillment

As in-store pickup becomes more common, it is critical for retailers to make the pickup process as frictionless as possible. Any form of inconvenience, be it finding the pickup counter or waiting in a queue to collect the order, negatively impacts the customer experience and decreases customer loyalty. One retailer that has made strides in this area is Walmart. The company has positioned easy-to-locate pickup towers at the front of the store where customers can use a code to retrieve their order. The process is simple, fast and convenient, thus freeing the customer up to complete in-store shopping as needed.

Satyendra Pal, Vice President - North America Omni Fulfillment Practice Lead 


For more information about how retailers can use technology to refine and enhance the in-store customer experience, connect with our experts via LinkedIn: Jim Reynolds, Jon Reily, Andy Halliwell and Satyendra Pal.  

Nova Halliwell
Nova Halliwell
Thought Leadership