An evolving set of consumer needs, initially driven by safety concerns, has given rise to hybrid, tech-enhanced solutions that not only prioritized consumer convenience, but also introduced a heightened level of personalized and 1:1 care into every stage of the shopper journey. Now, these solutions and services–from real-time access to support, to contactless mobile interactions–have become permanent touchpoints through which to provide consumers additional value.
In this report, the PSFK Labs team explores the innovative tech solutions being adopted across retail sectors with the intent of providing greater control and safety, and now convenience and value. Within the overarching trends and supporting case studies presented, discover how service providers are leveraging consumers information to provide the right level of connection and information, within the right context at each stage of the shopper journey, both remotely and IRL.
Published March, 2021
Positioning in-store associates as product experts capable of providing customers with personally informed one-to-one consultations, hyper-relevant solutions or suggestions, and empowering them to play a significant role in customer acquisition and retention as more customers enter an experience with elevated expectations around tailored engagement based on current needs and expertise based on demonstrated knowledge.Informed Associates
Despite collecting a variety of insights on individual shoppers from their online shopping browsing behaviors, social commerce usage, purchase history, loyalty membership and location, most companies fail to develop this information into an actionable customer view. New platforms are bringing these details to the forefront of retail interactions, enabling associates to recognize their customers and deliver personalized service. This encompasses the adoption of machine-learning and AI-enabled systems to interpret data and power tailored 1:1 interactions, equipping staff with tech-enabled resources to connect with consumers and provide next-level service. It also includes investing in communication platforms that help employees share real-time information to ensure highly informed customer support.Trusted Guidance
Using digital tools to quickly connect customers to an AI-enabled chatbot and/or human agent to provide in-the-moment service and supportVirtual Consults
Brands and retailers are using virtual platforms to streamline conversation between consumers and experts, providing analyses and solutions tailored to each customer for optimal product results. This includes leveraging AI-supported conversational assistants that use natural language processing to help shoppers effortlessly navigate questions.
Outdoor retailer REI is translating its in-store services online through virtual appointments and video sessions. To help customers field any bike assembly questions or repairs, the retailer created a virtual appointment platform for customers to book time with an in-store expert. Along with being able to walk customers through all bike assembly processes, shoppers could also inquire about hiking boot fits or discuss what outdoor gear they may need for upcoming camping trips or excursions.Electronics retailer, Samsung, provides consumers access to in-store experts
Electronics company Samsung’s Live Personal Assistant allows U.S. consumers shopping on Samsung.com to virtually connect with experts within a Samsung Experience Store located in New York, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Houston. Through the secure one-way video, consumers are able to explore products remotely, and receive advice and demonstrations from in-store Samsung experts. Throughout the session, store-based Samsung product experts are able to add items to a customers virtual cart, allowing them review and checkout at their own convenience. Providing consumers with one-to-one consultation, the live video service is blending the ease of online shopping with the added element of human interaction, trust and guidance for an optimal D2C virtual shopping experience.With Google’s Nest Hub for Hotels, guests can access a voice-activated assistant in the comfort of their rooms
Updating its Nest Hub, Google’s hospitality solution for Google Assistant is tailored for hotel guests to make service requests, check out, play music, make calls, and more, all within their room. By bringing its voice-activated assistant technology into hotels, Google’s Nest Hub for Hotels allows guests to better customize their environment, while also accessing services in a contactless manner.