Enable the In-store Impulse Buy with Technology

Everyone loves a bit of retail therapy.

There is science behind how good we feel after buying something. The brain releases endorphins and dopamine that give us a short rush or high.

When we are shopping in a store, we often come out with an extra item or two that we hadn’t initially thought about getting because we enjoy this rush. It’s what is known as impulse buying.

To dig into impulse buying a little more, we’ll take you back 60 years.

An economist called Hawkins Stern came up with four categories of impulse buying:

  • Pure impulse – for example picking up hair ties and other small items as you queue for the checkout
  • Reminded impulse – like positioning polish next to shoes
  • Suggested impulse – this blouse pairs well with this necklace
  • Planned impulse – you are going to buy some new clothes but not sure what

You will already know of the ways that retailers use store layout, the positioning of items and clever signage to encourage shoppers to spend.

But in this new omnichannel world, where e-commerce has reframed expectations, retailers are going to have to up their game a little if they want their fair share of wallet and to build loyalty with shoppers.

In this guide, we give you a few steps that fashion retailers can take with smart data capture.

Giving shoppers and store associates access to real-time information from capturing barcodes, text, objects and IDs with smart devices to enable that all-important impulse buy.

1. Integrate to innovate

First up, once you have decided that smart data capture is right for you, it needs to be integrated into your existing environment.

Whether you have an existing loyalty app or not, it is simple to bring several impulse buy assisting capabilities to life.

Scandit Barcode Scanner SDKs can be easily integrated into native apps and websites, meaning you can use your existing website to drive in-store impulse sales.

For websites, the integration can be done in as little as ten lines of code and we support all major cross-platform frameworks, such as Flutter and React.

We pride ourselves on our ability to integrate seamlessly with whatever solution our customers already use.

For the IT teams of retailers there are a few things we do that always help us stand out and make their lives easier.

  • Our documentation for developers and code samples we provide are second to none. We’ve got you covered with Apple and Android platforms. The steps are clearly detailed and our support team is always there if you need them.
  • We also do extensive testing before we release anything. This includes multiple real-world scenarios so you can be confident our scanning engine works in challenging conditions. For example, scanning under the glare of strong store lighting or scanning product tags from difficult angles or high rails.
  • Our enterprise level success teams take you from design all the way to launch. Partnering at every stage of the project to ensure the best implementation.

The support provided was top tier which allowed us to met project goals ahead of schedule. I especially appreciate the on-site visit you and your team participated in to help guide and support. It was tremendously helpful! By far the best vendor relationship I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of in my IT career.

Daniel Powell, Mobile Solutions Owner, Express Inc.

Fashion Retailer, USA

2. Go big on user experience

Technology is playing a major part in the transformation of stores to deliver better experiences. Specifically the use of mobile devices and applications.

A good user experience is vital for the adoption and use of any new tool that you are looking to leverage in the sales process.

But it shouldn’t start from when apps are opened.

First, make shoppers aware of the technology that exists to make their in-store experience better.

Marketing the new tech should drive awareness. Personalized promotions and gamifying the adoption should help with user uptake.

In store banners and messaging should also make it clear that a new app or capability is available for shoppers to use.

Finally, store associates must be advocates and proactively support shoppers with the awareness, understanding and use of the app.

Onto the technology.

You might only get one shot at it.

A poor user experience the first time a shopper opens an app or uses some tech and you might struggle to get them back. Restricting your ability to offer impulse enabling experiences that we talk about later in this guide.

So when it comes to using the application, it has to be easy and intuitive.

And any scanning engine that facilitates interaction with items must be fast and work every time in all sorts of conditions like awkward angles, glare and damaged codes.

Recent research from Scandit on the future of fashion in-store engagement evidenced that shoppers are willing to use mobile apps for several reasons.

You just need to get the user experience right first.

3. Offer an endless aisle

Smart data capture technology sorted? Check.

Are shoppers aware of the fancy new shopping experience? Check.

Time to serve up those impulse buys.

A true omnichannel strategy blurs the line between physical and digital shopping.

Information and availability are key. Impulse buys won’t happen if an item is in the wrong size or out of stock.

Step forward the endless aisle.

An endless aisle experience uses technology to allow shoppers to browse and order items that may not be available in store. They can check different sizes, colors and variants.

It’s standard for e-commerce.

But doing it seamlessly in store requires a bit of magic.

By powering loyalty apps or mobile sites with smart data capture, shoppers can use the camera on their smartphone to interact with items and easily access the endless aisle.

A scan of the item’s barcode can reveal real-time inventory data and product information so shoppers can find the right size or variant.

If that item isn’t available in that location then offer omnichannel options like ordering for home delivery or Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS).

This becomes even more important when real estate costs are at a premium and storing a wide range of products is not feasible. See how Decathlon overcame that challenge here.

No waiting around.

Clear information directly in front of the shopper that helps them make that purchase and put them in a good mood.

4. Personalized promotions

Another aspect of online shopping that helps the buyer in their journey is data.

Data on who we are, our preferences and our purchase history. With that data, retailers can make personalized offers and recommendations that encourage shoppers to part with their cash.

Loyalty apps are becoming popular for fashion retailers and it is through these that the same degree of personalization can occur in the physical world.

This plays into the suggested impulse theory. Seeing something tailor made for shoppers will grab their attention and make them reach for the dopamine.

Powered by smart data capture and using the smartphone’s camera, the app can provide personalized offers and discounts to shoppers by using augmented reality (AR).

Quickly scanning the barcode can display an offer just for that shopper on the smartphone’s screen. They don’t have to click anywhere or download anything in advance, it is there, on screen, ready for them to redeem.

72%

of AR users said they purchased stuff they didn’t plan to buy, because of AR.

Source: Retail Perceptions – The Impact of Augmented Reality on Retail

There are several different in-store applications for AR.

Sustainability is big. More shoppers, especially Gen Z, are becoming conscious about the environmental impact of what they buy.

Brands are using it as a strong factor in the loyalty stakes. Just look at the example Patagonia has set.

Being able to have an AR-overlay which displays how sustainable an item is, or the number of points (see H&M conscious points) shoppers will receive for purchasing it is another way to engage them with relevant information.

With that information, they can act on impulse and make a fast and informed purchase decision.

5. Mobile point of sale and clienteling

One of the major detractors of in-store experience is having to wait for a sales associate to check stock or access product information.

Queuing is also a major turn off.

Impulse buying is about speed. The longer a shopper waits, the longer they have to consider a decision and potentially abandon a purchase.

Adding friction to the process is a sure-fire way to lose them.

The answer lies in the same technology that shoppers can use for the endless aisle experience.

Many shoppers enjoy the human interaction with a helpful employee, so associates need to be armed with accurate real-time information on stocks and product information.

Clienteling apps powered with smart data capture can give them everything they need at their fingertips. Scanning the barcode acts as an instant window to a wealth of product information.

Linking back to our impulse buying theory, suggested impulse can be a big factor here.

The associate can recommend items that go well or add to a particular look the shopper is after. In the same recent fashion report, use of clienteling apps increased transaction size.

Here’s the kicker. Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS).

With an item in hand or a scheduled home delivery, the associate can process a payment for the shopper right there and then, from anywhere in the store and using the same device.

Reducing walkouts and waiting times for the feel good factor.

 

6. Summary

Although changes in the economic climate mean shoppers will be watching their money a little closer, there will always be a place for impulse buying.

Shoppers find it hard to resist the rush that comes with purchasing an item.

Technology can play a major part in helping retailers deliver an experience that presents all the opportunities for shoppers to buy something on the spur of the moment.

Integrating smart data capture into the apps or websites you already have available is a great first step.

Once in the hands of shoppers and employees, it can offer capabilities like endless aisle and mPOS.

Empowering them with the right information, fast, so they can act on an impulse with little friction.

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