Marketing Center

Digital retail trends that might impact your business

Learn what digital shopping trends your small business can leverage.

Published: May 06, 2016

Mobile commerce is on the rise with a growing number of consumers using mobile devices to search, click on ads, and make purchases. Mobile commerce is also an area where small businesses can compete with bigger companies. Businesses that are able to stay ahead of the trends in digital shopping may open themselves up to a range of benefits — more customers, sales, profits, and success.

To give your small business an edge, leverage these digital retail trends, so that you can enhance the customer experience and boost your revenue.

Personalization through GPS location-aware technology

One of the most promising technologies to surface is the beacon — a device that detects a customer's location using GPS and can be used as a promotional tool. Here's an overview of how it works:

  • As a customer approaches or leaves the area, their mobile device triggers the beacon, letting the beacon know they are nearby.

  • The beacon technology alerts the business through Bluetooth low-energy wireless technology.

  • When your business receives the alert, you can use your smartphone or a tablet app (for example, iBeacon or Eddystone) to send personalized promotional messages and offers to that nearby customer — directly to the phone that initially triggered the beacon.

Beacons allow you to engage in real-time, proximity-based marketing. Since the customer is close by, your marketing message can motivate and entice them to pop into your store.

Interactive, informative in-store digital machines

Another emerging digital retail trend is the addition of interactive, informational kiosks inside the store. These are self-serve machines that allow you to provide more information about products, such as product specs, customer reviews, and more.

Not only does this free up your sales staff, it also allows customers the immediate ability to research and find information. Armed with the appropriate product knowledge, they are more likely to make a purchase on the spot rather than going home to do the research (and possibly making the purchase elsewhere).

Today's in-store kiosks are even capitalizing on personalization with software that can recognize customers and track their purchases and preferences.

Advanced customer databases

Digital retailers are also recognizing the benefits of collecting and analyzing customer data at a deeper level, which can help your business, connect better with customers and with your target market.

One technique is to purchase an omni-channel system, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) merchandise tracking technology or a tablet-based point of service system, which connects the customer's physical experience in your store with the digital experience on your website. You could track both experiences separately, but this makes the data segmented and does not provide continuous and cohesive information about how customers experience your brand. By pairing data on both physical and digital experiences, your business can get a better picture of how the customer experiences your brand as a whole.

Customer databases can also help you track and analyze information in real time, such as customer visits and popular products. Once you have this data, you can create better marketing campaigns — with the ability to target your desired market to find new customers. Plus, they can offer a personalized, one-of-a-kind experience to your current customers.

The nation's largest retailers use these digital retail trends, but these are also within the grasp of small businesses. By staying informed and embracing them, you can create a positive experience that translates into more sales and greater customer satisfaction.