The high street revival: how data can help

David Buckingham
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The reasons that online-only retailers are so successful are two-fold: convenience and choice. Shoppers can find exactly what they’re looking for, compare products and prices, check reviews, and order with the click of a button. If traditional retailers want to compete, then they need to replicate this online experience, offline.

Today's shoppers need more reasons to visit a store in the first place, over and above their purely functional purchase requirements. Whether it’s favorable discounts or excellent customer service, retailers need to find ways to tempt shoppers through their doors and then provide them with a unique in-store experience that provides convenience, choice, and greater personalization.

Data and the high street revival

There's elements of shopping in-store that simply cannot be replicated online. Three-quarters of consumers want more human interaction, proving that many of us do still enjoy the personal touches that are only possible with contact with store personnel. Technology, such as retail data analytics, can support these interactions by helping retailers learn more about their customers and making bricks-and-mortar stores places where people actually want to shop.

Any technology implemented in-store must share the common objective of making the experience both smoother, personalized, and more convenient for shoppers. Retailers have experimented with various technologies over the years, from beacon technology and virtual reality (VR) to smart mirrors, all with varying degrees of success.

Read the 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics. Discover how to  transform your data into targeted marketing. 

Greater personalization with retail data analytics

Personalization is an opportunity to engage, then re-engage, with shoppers again and again. We know consumers want human interaction, but if you can also make their shopping experience more personal to them, they will be more likely to return to the store. This is where technology comes into play again. Retail marketing software uses real-time data generated at point of sale (POS) to create profiles of customers’ basket contents and provide them with an offer that is relevant to their purchase.

Other technologies and techniques set to revitalize the high street include endless aisle technology, shoppertainment, and cross-pollination to name a few. However, if the high street is to survive, it needs support to come from other areas, and not just from retailers themselves.

Will there be a high street revival?

Stores may be the primary reason for visiting the high street, but retailers shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of reinvention alone. Many in the industry are taking a much wider view. Some suggestions include making town centers community-based hubs, offering free parking, providing more support for small businesses, and bringing cultural or social events into specially created spaces on the high street.

But the good news is that there is technology that can help with high street revival. Customer experience and the human element, which go hand-in-hand with the high street experience, have not gone out of fashion — they just need to be updated.The 4-step marketer's guide to retail data analytics



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