By Matt Redwood
Retail has undergone seismic shifts recently, with the evolving ‘customer journey’ becoming a critical focal point for retailers vying for a future-proof business. The advent of global retail chains and the proliferation of eCommerce have birthed a savvy consumer base armed with extensive knowledge and unprecedented access to a broad spectrum of products and services.
Physical retailers are now tasked with integrating eCommerce’s tailored algorithms and adaptability into the tangible immediacy of in-store shopping. This hybridization takes different shapes across industries, responding to unique challenges. In fashion and beauty retail, where customer interaction is nuanced and demands a higher degree of engagement, the need for well-informed, available staff is accentuated—particularly amidst a persistent labor crunch.
Customers today often dictate their shopping experience, choosing their preferred shopping channels. Retailers must adopt technological advancements—from RFID to AI-driven kiosks and immersive VR/AR—to enrich in-store experiences and offer a compelling alternative to online shopping.
Fashion and beauty retailers have a dual mandate: to satisfy those seeking a swift, autonomous shopping experience, and those desiring the personalized touch of a knowledgeable in-store team. Investing in smart technology that enhances the customer journey and empowers staff can address both needs simultaneously.
Tech in retail should transcend gimmickry; it ought to streamline operations, freeing staff from mundane tasks to engage more meaningfully with customers. Consider the quintessential consumer frustration: queuing. Technologies enabling automated checkouts, underpinned by RFID, can dissolve wait times, allowing self-service for customers and liberating staff to focus on more impactful customer interactions.
Adopting such tech is no longer optional for fashion retailers—it’s a cornerstone for competitiveness. Yet, the path forward may seem overwhelming.
In the latest RETHINK Retail report, I join forces with industry experts to dissect the trends and strategies defining the fashion and beauty retail sphere in 2024 and beyond:
Access RETHINK Retail’s latest report for FREE here.