When it comes to the world of retail, the e-commerce space has been dominating things of late, as consumers turn to online in order to get their shopping fix. As such it’s prompting brick-and-mortar retailers to rethink their strategies in keeping pace with their online counterparts.
One of the ways they’re predicted to so, according to research firm Gartner, is by using real-time in-store pricing. This is something that the world’s top 10 retailers will employ by 2025, the firm adds.
Making changes on the move
More specifically Gartner says these retailers, “will leverage contextualised real-time pricing through mobile applications to manage and adjust in-store prices for customers.”
This move, as VP research analyst Robert Hetu explains, is in a bid to ensure that there is better communication between what is reflected online, and what is actually available at physical locations.
“Digital sales continue to grow, but it’s no longer a competition between online and offline. Today, many retailers find that half of their online sales are supported by their stores,” says Hetu.
“As customers share more data and information from various sources, they expect more personalised and meaningful offers from retailers. Retailers should assess personal data and product preferences, and translate those inputs into immediate and contextualised offers,” he continues.
The right solutions
In order to make this a reality there are a handful of technologies that will be leveraged. One of these ways will be via mobile payment apps, which could help in the adoption of real-time pricing changes for many retailers.
“Many consumers who have downloaded a retailer’s app use it for online purchases; others use it to obtain a coupon or discount offer that they can use in a physical store,” adds Hetu.
Another increasing popular solution comes in the form digital twins, which create exact digital replicas of environments to help test out new solutions or services. By using digital twins retailers will be able to better understand customer behaviour and make predictions, without having to deploy anything in the real world first.
An additional advantage of this would be to see how consumers come to their purchasing decisions, and therefore identify where best to implement real-time pricing functionality, Gartner believes.
Signage will also play an integral role in making this switch according to Hetu.
“Retailers need to educate customers in understanding the dynamic nature of pricing, which means that prices can rise or fall unexpectedly,” he points out.
This is where an electronic shelf labels, or a digital shelf edge will begin to prove vital, as it will allow retailers to make changes far more quickly and accurately compared to having employees doing so manually.
Embracing more technology in-store will begin to reap benefits for retailers in the long-term, according to Gartner. Whether it be by bringing the online and physical shopping experience closer together, or making sure your brick-and-mortar operation is able to keep pace with e-commerce outfits.
“Retailers must focus on enabling technologies such as a unified retail commerce platform, which uses centralised data for inventory, pricing, loyalty and other information to facilitate a continuous and cohesive experience,” Hetu concludes.
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