Digitizing the B&M Shopping Experience - A Source for New Data

As online retailers continue to try and enter the brick-and-mortar space (Amazon already has pick-up sites in the New York market), and brick-and-mortar retailers try to compete with online, consider this — most industry insiders feel retail is headed for a "hybrid" shopping experience, one that is digitized. What current trends can inspire your latest promotions and offer a differentiated experience?

Apple was the first brick-and-mortar store to evolve the shopping experience — to "digitize" it. But they are no longer the only ones. From Audi dealerships and Pep Boy stores, to Staples — retailers are providing an omnichannel shopping experience. Promotional teams, category managers and marketing teams should be asking themselves how they can create an interactive shopping experience.

A recent article in AdWeek compiled a sampling of successful interactive shopping experiences. Staples has placed digital kioskis and interactive displays at the ends of aisles. Macy's has added LED displays and visual arches. And AT&T has developed an in-store experience that is like "walking into a website." 

Even more interesting is this — this digitization could lead to new data for retailers and suppliers. According to the article, several new technologies are being developed that could provide retailers and suppliers with an interesting array of new data. Online retailers already have access to heat-mapping or dwell-time analytics that show them where the eye of the consumer dwells on a web page. This technology may soon be coming to brick-and-mortar stores. A marketing firm is working on software that uses facial recognition techniques to gauge a person's age, gender and mood. What will retailers, in the future, be able to gain from the data? And how will it benefit consumers? Amazon's "you might also like" feature is very popular — perhaps, someday, brick-and-mortar customers will experience the same.