Whether customers choose to shop online, in-store or both, savvy retailers in recent years have been aiming to offer customers an omnichannel experience. In an effort to make shopping seamless and easy, several bricks-and-mortar retailers are now combining sophisticated technology with the tactile experience that only physical stores can offer. Here is how two big brands have successfully used in-store technology to attract customers.
Fast fashion giant Zara recently unveiled its new digital flagship in East London, a giant two-storey 4,500 sqm store featuring a dedicated online area for shoppers to buy and collect their orders.
According to a statement from Inditex, “The new store’s customer service features are oriented towards creating a seamless, convenient and enjoyable shopping experience.”
To collect an online order at one of the automated online order points in the store, shoppers simply scan the QR or PIN code that was emailed to them at the time of purchase. Behind the pick-up point, a robotic arm finds the customer’s order to collect.
Online orders are available in-store on the same day if made before 2pm or the next day if made in the afternoon. A self-checkout area is also available near the regular cashier desks.
"We are in a unique position as we enjoy a global sales platform that fully integrates stores and online. In recent years we have invested in both the most advanced technology and optimised our stores for this aim,” said Pablo Isla, Inditex chairman and CEO.
"Our business model combines stores and digital seamlessly, and we are ready for the opportunities that this brings with current and new customers.”
Earlier this year, Nike launched the first of their Nike Live stores on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, which has been described as “an experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot”. Nike Live concept stores are aimed specifically at the local NikePlus members in their neighbourhood. According to the brand’s research of Melrose Avenue, customers are both style and running obsessed.
"We’re thrilled to be opening up Nike by Melrose and bringing the best of Nike products and offerings selected for this community," said Heidi O'Neill, president of Nike Direct in a statement.
"As well as being the first Nike Live destination, we will also test services that can then roll out to other Nike stores, combining digital features with a unique physical environment to create the future of Nike retail.”
Nike by Melrose offers customers product based on the brand’s digital commerce data, such as buying patterns, app usage and engagement. This means that the store gives customers exactly what they want when they want, sometimes even exclusively.
The Nike Live store features a Sneaker Bar and the NikePlus Unlock Box, a digital vending machine where NikePlus members can redeem product or rewards by using their member pass every two weeks. In the Dynamic Fit Zone, customers can relax while Nike experts offer styling tips or they can head to the Nike Trial Zone, where they can test their sneakers while running on a treadmill before making a purchase.
Meanwhile, returns, exchanges and purchases can be made with Curb Services. Using a specific SMS messaging system between the customer and store, people can simply text the store, pull in, grab or return goods and leave.
NikePlus members are able to shop through the Nike App, tap research and pick up their product to try on, then purchase in-store.