The changing face of retail: technology-driven shopping
Retail is changing – from the stores that we see on our high streets, to the out of town super malls and the rapid rise of new kids on the block: online only and mobile marketplaces. These changes are all being driven by our evolving consumer expectations and shopping habits; consumers are demanding more and more ways to browse, compare, buy, and book online.
2017 has been identified as an annus horribilis for the UK retail sector as retailers face a lethal combination of rising costs and lowering consumer confidence (and thus in-store spending) and there have been a number of high profile casualties already this year: think Jaegar, Joy, and Jones Bootmakers – all household names. The retailers weathering the current economic climate best are those who offer their customers not only a differentiated offering but also the best possible shopping experience, often by pioneering new technologies and ideas. Obviously, everybody’s shopping requirements and preferences are different, but the ultimate goal is always to make shopping as easy and enjoyable as possible. Anything that makes shopping easier!
Mallzee has pioneered m-commerce – shopping via just your mobile – and is now the UK’s leading multi-retailer fashion shopping app. Mallzee brings together hundreds of high street retailers in one free app marketplace allowing users to find, compare, and buy quickly and easily using only their mobile. The premise behind it is that it allows shoppers to find the best clothes for them, comparing items from various retailers in a fun way. It’s often dubbed the Tinder for fashion as it uses similar swiping technology to ‘like’ items. The best bit is that the clever technology also saves you time and money: it develops your unique personal style profile and only shows items in your size and style. Plus, if any item you’ve previously liked drops in price, a price drop notification is triggered, helping Mallzee shoppers to be amongst the first to grab a bargain, without even having to be near a high street!
So, Mallzee has made it possible to shop all your favourite brands in one place. Your hand can actually save you having to go in and out of lots of different retailers’ shops or websites and make it easy to find and buy and save money on your perfect clothes, shoes, and accessories.
But what if you sometimes like to shop online and other times you like to go into the store to browse and try on items? We still expect the same level of customer experience and for there to be seamless synchronicity between all of our different interactions with the same retailers. Well, thanks to Appointedd this level of customer service is becoming a reality. Appointedd helps retailers to deliver an online booking service for in-store personal shopping that combines the best of digital and in-store service for a superior shopping experience. What it means is that, if you are on a brand’s website but fancy popping into your local store to try on, you can make an appointment to do so in seconds, securing personalised service. With Appointedd’s flexible custom questions, personal shoppers can also be prepared with all essential information to make the best choices ahead of your appointment, such as sizes and what kind of garments you are looking for. Appointedd can even help retailers deliver, at a time picked by you.
Online booking for a personalised retail service makes sense in the context of our increasingly busy and connected lifestyles. We now expect and appreciate the ability to schedule our shopping time, like booking a salon appointment, or viewing properties online – and technology like Appointedd allows busy working parents who want to book a time to have school shoes measured to avoid taking a ticket and waiting for an hour.
Equally, an app like Mallzee makes it simple to fit the previously time-consuming task of shopping into our packed calendars, such as shopping online in our lunch hour for last minute holiday outfits. Technology is supporting a wide range of retail behaviour and spending patterns. As consumers, naturally we want to access all of these options on our smartphones and sync it to our calendar. With technology driving change in practically every sector at a remarkable rate, the successful future of retail lies in achieving a more symbiotic relationship between online and offline shopping experiences – and the tools to do that are stepping up to the plate.