The marriage between brick-and-mortar stores and their e-commerce outposts was an inevitable one.
The wedding, predictably, was lavish and multifaceted. And the honeymoon stretch includes lots of instances in which the sweet, smart logic of the union is on full display.
Here’s a 411 on two of the latest:
In Switzerland, online fashion retailer Heidi.com is working with Samsung to develop a near-field communication tool to enhance shopping at its first physical shop in Neuchatel. In-store customers will be able to tap their phones against a virtual shopping screen, which will then spring to life with their personal profile. Augmented by data gleaned from their online shopping history, it’ll proceed to make informed suggestions and present customized offers that align with it.
Such a system is notable, too, for the relief it offers small-footprinted retailers from the ongoing logistical challenge to compete with digital stores who can display the full breadth of their inventory.
Next, popular shopping app Shopkick — which lets consumers flag items on their wishlist and shoots them alerts when they’re in the physical proximity of these desirables — has introduced a Bluetooth-based platform that also knocks the retail experience up a notch.
ShopBeacon employs Bluetooth low-energy signalling to let shoppers’ in-store presence spur digitally delivered recommendations, special offers and rewards. The beta version of this transmitter was introduced to the retail environment this week at two Macy’s stores in the States.
With these bursts of innovation (which take place in the considerable company of other digital initiatives aimed at enhancing off-line shopping with on-line data-gathering and analytics), the physical shopping experience borrows from the best of both worlds, injecting Amazon-like insight to the previously blind purchasing exercise that shopping at a brick-and-mortar store has conventionally been about.