Sadie Keljikian, Express Trade Capital
As technology becomes increasingly present in our daily lives, it changes the way we do nearly everything, most notably how we buy and sell products. Keeping up with the intricacies of digital sales can be overwhelming, particularly given the ever-evolving nature of technological functionality. Here are a few of the latest and most prominent ways in which technology has revolutionized sales techniques.
Contrary to popular belief, physical store locations are not
going away entirely. With more ways than ever to reach prospects and customers,
a multi-channel approach is essential to successful sales. Whether you’re
selling consumer goods, commercial equipment, or anything else, it is important
to integrate your online presence with any brick and mortar locations as
seamlessly as possible.
The recent trend in previously online-only businesses
opening store locations (Wayfair, Warby Parker, Casper, and Untuckit among
them) is a great example of this. While modern consumers appreciate the
convenience of ecommerce, they miss certain aspects of the in-store experience
and frequently choose to blend their shopping methods.
This has proven particularly popular in industries like
apparel, where consumers are hesitant to buy items they can’t try on, or large
appliances and furniture, where consumers often prefer to see the item
firsthand and ask questions before they make a final decision. Some apparel
retailers have even opened mini-locations with limited samples of each item for
customers to try on before they order them online.
Some big-box stores use augmented reality to provide an
in-store experience from home. Target, for example, launched an AR feature in
2017 that allows customers to take a photo of a space in their home and see an
approximation of furniture pieces and home goods as they would appear in the
space. This personalizes and simplifies the selection process significantly in
terms of dimensions and style and prevents unpleasant surprises when items
Additionally, methods like individually tailored sales emails
and social media marketing based on curated data are becoming the most popular strategies
businesses use to market and sell their products and services. Brands are also
expected to not only cater to each customer’s lifestyle and esthetic
preferences, but to their philosophical beliefs as well. As a result, companies
that make a point of using charged imagery or pointed messages in the way they
sell their products are often among the most successful.
Many retailers that depend primarily on in-store sales have
begun incorporating technology into the customer’s experience at their
locations. In some cases, they use virtual reality to add an element of fun in
select store locations. Walmart’s tech incubator, Store No. 8 offers an
immersive VR experience followed by a gift shop.
Others offer a visual search station for customers to locate
the items they wish to buy, saving them the difficulty of finding the product
they need on foot. Other retailers have begun using interactive apps that allow
customers to learn more about a product by simply pointing their phone camera
at its label. Luxury resorts have started offering AI services to allow guests
to plan their visits and personalize their experience by communicating with chatbots.
Grocery stores and department stores have even started using mobile robots to
monitor obstructions in the aisles and customer reactions to free up human employees
to assist customers.
Systems like these not only give the customer a better sense
of engagement and control of their experience, they also offer retailers
similar insight into their customers’ habits and preferences. Consequently,
on-site technology can be as useful to market research as web traffic and sales
numbers, allowing brands and stores to further optimize the way their customers’
experience and buying habits.
Consumers have never had higher expectations of their retail
experience. For big brands, this emphasizes the importance of diversifying
their offerings and allowing their customers as many customizable options as
possible. For smaller brands, it means homing in on the specific preferences
and values that most accurately align with their target demographics. Ultimately,
there are more ways than ever to use technology to guide product development
and research markets, allowing brands and retailers to come up with solid
solutions that allow their businesses to thrive.