IDC Retail Insights Publishes a Guide to Enabling Immersive Shopping Experiences

The rise of omnichannel shopping requires providing an immersive and superior customer experience regardless of channel

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Global independent research and advisory firm, IDC Retail Insights, recently published a new research study which describes the key technologies that can improve customer satisfaction and build loyalty — with the objective of driving larger, repeated, and more profitable transactions.

"Retailers: you should enrich the shopping experience because customers must identify and always connect with your brand. Also, you must not leave your physical or virtual store until the customers' needs are met," said Ivano Ortis, research director, IDC Retail Insights. "Retailers should consider the adoption model of immersive shopping technologies as a path from traditional retailing to omnichannel shopping. As illustrated in our research, we identify four different clusters of technologies or tracks that can enable immersive shopping capabilities — inform, include, influence, and immerse."

IDC Retail Insights identifies a clear trend toward customer-facing technology convergence. Still, the ability to adapt touch points to different usage scenario drives personalized consumer services and precision retailing abilities. Executing on customer-centric strategies requires the implementation of centralized, adaptive selling systems based upon service-oriented integration capabilities as a foundation across the entire enterprise IT landscape. Simplifying and improving workflows with adapted information systems — which is built on an agile and scalable infrastructure — are potentially outsourced to some degree.

IDC Retail Insights advises omnichannel retailers to consider the following evolutionary paths for consumer experience platforms:

Self-service and mobile technology integration. Ordering complexity for out-of-stock products is among the top shopping frustrations for consumers globally. Hence, retailers should now carefully examine the potential benefits of self-service. Self-service (online, kiosk, self-scanning, self-checkouts, mobile, social networks) proves useful in extending customer service range, with potential developments in customer service and support (i.e., Twitter), while enabling the launch of new revenue-generating business models.
Precision retailing strategies. Customer experience improvement strategies should be anchored to loyalty management, customer relationship management (CRM), advanced retail demand intelligence (RDI), and the modernization of supply chain processes and management systems.
Advocating immersive shopping experience (ISE) capabilities will represent an important industry milestone since the economic downturn is pushing retailers to have variation for the customer experience.

ISE requires setting measurable objectives around key customer metrics and an integrated CRM application landscape where retail executives can orchestrate inventory, merchandising, customer service, loyalty, marketing with embedded order management, and analytics.

Several consumer-facing technologies can improve the shopping experience and can provide consumers with an ISE that can build loyalty and valuable consumer relationships.

This study explores the potential of advanced and innovative consumer-facing technologies, including:

- Digital signage
- Point-of-sale (POS) systems
- Self-checkout systems
- Self-scanning systems
- Self-service systems/interactive kiosks
- Mobile interaction/wireless technologies
- Radio frequency identification (RFID) for consumer-facing applications
- Advanced eCommerce platforms/social networks integration
- The report coverage is worldwide.

This study, Technology Selection: IDC Retail Insights Guide to Enabling Immersive Shopping Experiences, (IDC Retail Insights #GRRS03R9, December 2009), by Ivano Ortis and Alessandro Casoli, assesses real-life case studies, global, and local best practices in applying technologies that can influence and guide consumers during the shopping process. The following are emphasized: understanding the requirements of today's consumers; how requirements differ from a geographic perspective; and the technology implications for retailers that have the objective of improving the shopping experience.

Retailers will find it useful to compare themselves with their peers with regard to investments directions on consumer-facing technologies, IT budget allocation benchmarks, and key metrics to consider for creating the business case for investment.

This study is available for purchase at
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