By Matt Vaupell – Executive Vice President, Director of Brokerage Services
The evolution of Amazon and its online effect on shopping has made retailers and restaurants scramble to explore options to reinvent how they can do business.
As more and more people are opting to shop online, brick and mortar establishments have to find ways to supplement what they do for their customers and to make the sales experience more streamlined and enjoyable for the end-user. The smart ones are turning to tech to improve efficiency and customer service.
Here are four ways that restaurants and retail are currently utilizing technology to increase their brick and mortar vitality and create a better experience for their customer:
1. Direct to Store Shipping. Home Depot is doing this as good as anyone in the game. By allowing their customers the convenience of online shopping and product shipping to their store,
they have great convenience partnered with access to their expert staff at pick up which really is the best of both worlds.
2. Mobile Food Delivery. Uber Eats, GrubHub, and Doordash are changing the way we eat, making it easier than ever to enjoy our favorite foods from the comfort of our own homes. The food delivery market is changing at an accelerated pace, and for the moment there seems to be more upside than down to restaurants allowing their customers to order delivery as it helps to expand their customer base and boost an additional stream of revenue.
3. Line Cutting. No one likes to wait in line. No. One. Chipotle has mastered this concept, but several restaurants do this really well. To enhance the customer experience and compete with delivery, many restaurants allow you to order online and pay online, schedule a pick-up time and come grab your order off a shelf with no line or hassle. It is literally grab and go. As it turns out, this might be an even better option for restaurants than delivery, as early 2019 results show upwards of a 10 percent increase in revenue directly attributable to online and pick up component.
4. Mobile Device Tracking. Many of the apps already on your phone enable the location tracking option (ex. weather, maps, and ride-sharing.) Retail-specific apps can allow the customer to sign up for services that can track their location within the stores. For example, within a six-foot radius, retailers like Walmart and Target know when someone is looking at the makeup section but doesn’t end up purchasing something. They can then do location-targeted advertising to that mobile device, based on the needs and wants of the consumer, ultimately allowing retailers to remind customers what they might need based on their behavior patterns.
The whole idea that brick and mortar retail will become obsolete doesn’t have to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The way restaurants and retailers can survive is by utilizing technology to streamline efficiencies and bolster the in-store and online customer engagement and service. The key is to make it so the consumer needs or wants to stop by as opposed to just delivering to their doorstep and technology can help achieve that.