5 Ways Retailers Use Tech to Engage Customers

The holiday season has arrived, and with it, the holiday shopping surge. Retailers are increasingly turning to new technologies to better engage their shoppers. Lowe’s is even experimenting with robots that can answer customers’ questions and help them navigate the store. You don’t have to hire robots to enhance the shopping experience. Here are 5 ways retailers are using technology to engage their customers.


1. Digital Receipts

Paper just doesn’t cut it anymore. These days, digital receipts make the checkout process quicker, help customers keep better track of their purchases, and, of course, they save trees. We at flexReceipts know an electronic receipt can be much more than an email with a total, as companies like Rooms to Go and GNC have discovered. With smart receipts, customers can instantly post their purchases to social media and receive offers for products that would likely interest them.


2. Mobile Shopping

Just about everyone has a smartphone or tablet, so isn’t it about time retailers started using them too? Bloomingdale’s has done just that in its newest store, arming each of its associates with a mobile device that can provide information on any of the store’s products with the swipe of a finger. Associates can even complete transactions with the devices. The new store also features smart fitting rooms equipped with wall-mounted tablets, which customers can use these to check product information, get recommendations for complementary items, or call for assistance.


3. Beacons

Last year, Apple introduced iBeacons: small transmitters that can be placed in stores to interact with shoppers’ mobile devices. Theses devices can pinpoint a customer’s location in the store and send a notification to their phone about special offers available on nearby products. Macy’s recently installed iBeacons in all its stores that utilize the Shopkick app to provide shoppers with discounts, recommendations and rewards.


4. Mobile Payments

The growth of mobile payment services is one of the biggest stories in tech news right now. Mobile wallet apps like Apple Pay for iOS and Google Wallet for Android allow customers to store payment information on their smartphones. When its time to check out, customers need only swipe their phone in front of a scanner and press “Confirm”.  While many stores have adopted these existing mobile payments, retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are joining together to develop their own system.


5. Social Media

No list of retail technologies is complete without a nod to social media. The possibilities are seemingly endless. By following retailers on Twitter and Facebook, customers can stay up to date on the latest deals and promotions. On the other side of the coin, many retailers are keeping a close eye on social media to look for trends in fashion and purchasing habits. Social media is finding a place in stores, too: Nordstrom has installed video monitors in many of its stores that show shoppers what products are being shared on Wanelo, a social shopping app.

Who knows what new technologies for enhancing the shopping experience will come to the forefront in the next year, or even the next few months? One thing is certain though: as both technology and consumers become ever more sophisticated, retailers must adapt if they want to truly connect with their customers.