Retailers need to use technology to improve customer experiences, rather than just for logistics and purchasing.
Today's consumers expect to be connected all of the time, and this includes when shopping in-store, Virgin Media Business's Tony Grace explained. The chief operating officer said that when used correctly, technology can bolster margins and slash costs.
"Customers are forever driving for this need for constant connectivity. Wi-Fi is the way to do that," he stated, adding: "We've reached that point where, even at an underground station on the tube in London, people expect to be connected. So it's absolutely the key – that's what's expected in the retail environment on the high street."
Small businesses should consider providing Wi-Fi to their customers, who in turn can then use the in-store internet connection on their smartphones and tablets in a number of ways.
• 'Liking' a brand on Facebook can result in a discount code being revealed which can be used at the in-store checkout.
• Shoppers can point out items to staff they have seen on the website in a bid to track them down.
• Internet users can take photos on their phone of products they like and upload them to social media sites and email them to their friends.
All this means small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also need to have ecommerce and mcommerce websites, as well as a savvy social media presence.
A recent study by LM Research for Virgin Media Business discovered a third of business owners and directors believe that in the next ten years, smartphones will provide the majority of revenue. This means SMEs cannot afford to ignore tech-savvy consumers and must have an effective and far-reaching multichannel marketing approach.
Small businesses need to ensure their online presence is engaging, interesting and keeps consumers coming back to their social media profiles, websites and blogs. The ContentPlus content marketing infographic explains why relevant and well-written copy is essential for a successful online presence.
How else can SMEs use technology to their advantage when attracting shoppers?
Want to know more about how content marketing and social media can boost your business? Visit ContentPlus at Internet World 2012 between April 24 and 26 – and don’t forget to sign up for a free site health check!