Interactive technologies play an increasingly crucial role in retail to help your customers navigate the store, try on products virtually, browse product catalogs and use self-checkout.

Key Takeaways:

  • By 2025, 75% of the world’s population will be using AR, making it a must-have interactive technology for retail events.
  • Interactive displays can drive more traffic to your store, improve customer experience, and boost sales.
  • QR codes can help gather valuable customer data for improving your business.
  • Leveling up your in-store “smart” experience using technologies like radio frequency ID (RFID) and touchscreen tables can give customers a reason to return.

Brick-and-mortar stores are under tremendous pressure to keep up with ever-changing customer expectations and the rising popularity of online shopping. Per Statista, retail e-commerce sales are poised to continue moving on an upward trajectory – reaching 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026. Customers will make fewer visits to physical stores in the coming years. 

To remain relevant, brick-and-mortar stores must create more experiential destinations and use fewer transactional outlets. Here are five interactive technologies to spruce up your in-store retail experience and create strategies for retail apps.

Augmented reality

According to a recent Google Consumer AR Survey, 66% of shoppers are willing to use AR assistance when buying a product. This is a compelling reason to adopt AR in retail events

One way to leverage the power of AR is through virtual fitting rooms. This technology uses a live stream camera to overlay a product onto a shopper’s body via a mirror or smartphone, providing a more comprehensive view of its style, size, and fit. It helps them make the right decisions and be happy with their purchases. 

For retailers, this translates to more conversions and lower return rates. Brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Adidas, and Ralph Lauren are already using virtual fitting rooms to optimize sales and customer experience.

Another practical AR retail application is in-store navigation. An AR-enabled smart navigation app can help shoppers find products faster, especially for large stores or during a customer’s first visit. It also eliminates the need for employees to provide directions, allowing them to focus on more productive pursuits. Retailers like Target, Harrods, and the Mall of America have already implemented this technology.

Additionally, you can extend the in-store experience to online shoppers using AR by providing images of your brick-and-mortar store on your e-commerce website or app and enabling remote virtual product try-ons.

Interactive displays

Window displays have long been one of the most effective tactics for driving traffic into retail stores. However, the age of static displays has passed. Retailers must now look toward interactive solutions like touchscreen displays to keep up with consumer behavior and remain competitive. These multifunctional displays act as virtual shelves to showcase your product catalog, featured products, virtual stores, self-service kiosks, or as advertisement spaces when not in use.

The most compelling reason to use interactive displays for retail events is the impact on sales is noticeable immediately. A good example is when vehicle manufacturer Polaris grew its accessory sales by 44% and car sales by 26% after retrofitting virtual shelves within its stores to help customers view the full range of products and customize their vehicles.

To achieve success with interactive displays, retailers must focus on addressing customer pain points. For example, McDonald’s self-service kiosks enable customers to skip the queue and place their orders quickly and seamlessly, effectively reducing order time. On average, customers spent about 30% more when ordering through interactive touchscreens.

Retailers must also become creative in designing and implementing interactive displays to deliver authentic brand experiences, for example, by matching the content’s look and feel to that of the store or brand.

QR codes

QR codes are a great way to engage customers. Although this technology didn’t catch on as anticipated when first introduced, its convenience has helped it remain relevant. Most retail outlets are already using QR codes to direct customers to their payment portals and to view product information.

Its application can also extend to customer information collection. A QR code can redirect shoppers to leave a review, complete a survey, or sign up for a newsletter before redeeming a coupon. These options can provide retailers with helpful insights for business improvement, help them build an email list, connect with their customers, and notify them of upcoming sales and promotions.

Using QR codes for retail events prevents customers from mistyping your website’s URL – or ending up on your competitor’s website. It also eliminates the downsides of print-based marketing – printing costs and flyer/ brochure space limitations.

Radio Frequency ID (RFID) technology

RFID technology is the ultimate inventory management solution, but it can also transform a product into a smart device. When a shopper holds an RFID-tagged product in front of an RFID display sensor, it triggers immersive multimedia content such as  social media posts or videos showing the product’s origin. Burberry showed how a product looks on the runway in its Regent Street flagship store in London.

Touchscreen tables with object recognition

Retailers can also use touchscreen tables to help customers compare and interact using smart products. Touchscreen tables use object recognition technology to differentiate products based on their marker chips and deliver a simple and natural user experience. The customer places a single item on the table to view its feature or places multiple items to activate a comparison chart highlighting the merits of each. They can then interact with the content themselves or with a salesperson’s guidance to make the right selection.

Let Shockoe guide your transformation to becoming an experiential destination

Businesses must constantly evolve and keep up with the times to remain competitive. For brick-and-mortar retailers, that means a shift from transactional to experiential retail. Shockoe can guide your digital transformation and help your business become a unique experiential destination. Start the conversation today to learn more.