Implementing digital activations like kiosks, retailers are making it easier for consumers to browse and pick up their items, forgoing the need for sales associate aid and simplifying the consumer experience

While online shopping is convenient, the majority of consumers still shop in physical retail locations. To cultivate a closer connection with a brand’s products, the buyers sometimes wish to fully experience—see, touch and feel—the merchandise. However, many consumers are reluctant to go to physical store locations due to two common pain points: (1) un-sortable inventory and (2) unwanted customer assistance. 

Self-service logistics allow shoppers to digitally search inventory without the need for a store associate. Accordingly, here is how four brands are integrating digital activations into their physical retail environments to improve the in-store experience:

United Colors of Benetton
United Colors of Benetton, Italian clothing brand, opened its first digital showroom with a large self-service screen in a special area for customers who prefer to shop on their own. Equipped with Mercaux software, the showroom enables customers to check the available inventory across all of the brand’s retail channels (in-store, other stores and online) to see the latest arrivals, discover special offers, explore styling suggestions and engage with trending digital content. With this self-service station, customers can complete a transaction and have the items delivered to their doors, without interacting with a sales associate. Additionally, the digital showroom features interactive screens which allow customers to scan through products and outfits, click on the size they need and have their desired item appear in the dressing room.

At European footwear retailer Eobuwie’s Poland concept store, shoppers can browse the available merchandise on large vertical touch-display screens.  By scrolling through Eobuwie’s collection of 450 brands and 40,000+ styles, customers can select the pairs of shoes that they would like to try on or to purchase directly from the store’s displays. To retrieve their new pair of shoes, customers walk to the stock and distribution area, in the back of the store, where orders get sorted and delivered to specific racks correlating to individual customers’ orders.

Rent The Runway
Rent The Runway, the designer apparel and accessory rental service, rolled out Aila, a line of interactive kiosks that feature TrueScan technology, in its physical retail locations. With these kiosks, customers easily can pick up and drop off orders as well as exchange clothing instantly by scanning the labels on Rent the Runway products. Aila's iOS-based kiosks and devices rely on integrated scanning technology, those used for a wide range of in-store operations, from price checking and custom orders to point-of-sale transactions.

Global retail giant Zara's London mall location features activations, such as automated order collection points, self-checkout, interactive mirrors and mobile payment systems, that streamline consumers’ online and offline shopping experiences. With dedicated store sections for the purchase and collection of online orders, the system’s optical barcode reader scans the QR or PIN codes that customers receive when they place online orders to retrieve their packages. Behind the pick-up point, a robotic arm collects trays and organizes the packages optimally according to their size, delivering orders for customers to collect in seconds.

In an increasingly omnichannel retail landscape, consumers want a reason to come to a brand’s without the friction of in-store buying logistics. For more on how retailers are incentivizing brick-and-mortar visits, see PSFK's report Elevating The In-Store Experience With Interactive Digital Touchpoints.