As the retail landscape continues to evolve in the digital age, brick and mortar retailers are embracing innovative technologies and upgrades to stay competitive. We are in a unique position at SiteRise, as most of our customers are already leading the way with digital tech but what about outside retail development? Today we will explore five key innovations and upgrades that retailers should look to adopt in 2024.
1. Paperless Receipts
In an effort to reduce waste and streamline operations, brick and mortar retailers should transition to paperless receipts. With the use of digital receipts, customers can conveniently receive their purchase information via email or mobile app. This not only contributes to sustainability initiatives but also makes it easier for customers to track and manage their transactions for returns, warranties, and expense tracking.
For those retailers like Safeway or Costco who already have a robust mobile app, pushing receipts mobile seems like a no brainer. The team over at Retail Brew wrote a great piece on paperless receipts last month.
2. Touchscreen Drive-Through Displays
Integrating touchscreen technology into drive-through displays is a game-changer for quick-service restaurants and other drive-through establishments. Food retailers like Taco Bell, McDonalds and Burger King have started transitioning to touch screen ordering inside their restaurants but we have yet to see any brands use the tech outside. By allowing customers to browse menus, customize orders, and make payments directly on the screen, retailers can enhance order accuracy, speed up service, and provide a more interactive and personalized customer experience.
3. Same Day Shipping/Pickup Options
In the era of instant gratification (thanks Amazon and COVID19), retailers must offer same-day shipping or pickup options to meet customer expectations. By integrating efficient logistics systems, retailers can process orders swiftly and provide customers with the choice to receive their purchases in-store or at their doorstep on the same day. This upgrade caters to time-sensitive customers who are used to receiving items within 1-2 days ordering.
One of our favorites doing pickup orders very well is Mendocino Farms. To capitalize on to-go orders even further, they have recently opened a to-go only location out in Redwood City, CA. A first for the fast-casual food brand.
4. Centralized Online and In-Store Inventory
To cater to the growing demand for omnichannel shopping, retailers must adopt a centralized inventory management system that synchronizes online and in-store stock levels in real-time. This allows customers to browse available products and make informed purchasing decisions, whether they're shopping in-store or online. Centralized inventory management also enables retailers to fulfill orders from the nearest store, reducing shipping costs and delivery times.
This also applies to returns, brands must allow customers to return anything they purchased online back to a retail store.
5. Paid Loyalty Programs
Traditional loyalty programs often focus on rewards tied to spending. However, in 2024, retailers should consider introducing paid loyalty programs that offer exclusive benefits and privileges to members. These programs can include perks such as free express shipping, extended return windows, personalized recommendations, and VIP access to special events. By offering enhanced value, paid loyalty programs not only generate additional revenue but also foster stronger customer loyalty and engagement.
Lazy Dog's Beer Club is our favorite example of a paid loyalty club/membership that a brick and mortar brand has launched to drive greater customer retention via digital means.
The battle between e-commerce and physical retail is not going away. You can even say the line is being blurred as more DTC brands jump into physical locations and traditional retailers adopt new digital techniques. Bottom line is whether they were digital or physical first, brands must continue to innovate to continue to win over today's consumers.
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