Imagine seeing the perfect jeans online, but you're sceptical, you've been fooled many times before believing that they were the ones, so just to be sure you wouldn't be wasting your time, you wanted to try them on. One problem, you have a promo code only available online.
I know the feeling all too well, the lure of the promo code, the ease of purchasing online, your item could even be at your doorstep in less than 3 hours on some occasions. Lets be honest here, online always wins for me.
But when I finally receive it, more often than not that beautiful piece I fell in love with online has one of two problems when I finally receive it.
Firstly, it looks terrible and I mean truly terrible. A picture can speak a thousand words, but it wont be telling you if the lining is already falling apart and the fabric has decided to become super adhesive making me look like an overweight superhero. Those misleading model shots will get me every time, I keep forgetting I'm not 5’10.
And then the fateful test to see if it fits right. At this point in my life, I am slowly coming to the realisation that the perfect fitting pair of jeans just doesn't exist, or perhaps I should just avoid buying them online.
The sad fact is that most of what I purchase online gets returned, or I try and palm it off to someone else at a discounted price just to avoid the post office.
Call me a retail snob, but I want the best of both worlds, I want the in store try on experience with an online purchase process.
But how does this become a reality? and what does it look like from end to end?
My online shopping experience is evenly divided between two mediums, the mobile app and desktop web browser (for those times you need to see it in full view). I browse for hours on end, a perfect use of my time if I might say so. Those lucky items that make the initial cut get added to a Wishlist, this is where my credit card begins to sweat. But it’s ok, my favourite piece of plastic, not all of them will make the final cut and land themselves in the coveted basket.
My decision making comes down to a couple of factors at this point, realistically what will look good when i receive it? what is a safe bet to purchase online? Surely i couldn’t be that disappointed when a singlet comes in the mail, and finally, who is offering a great price?
More often than not a pair of jeans online is at least 10% cheaper than in store, mostly because its easier to shop around and the discounts are endless. Instead of culling items based on safe choices and cheaper prices, I want my online and in store experience to merge, my Wishlist to become more than a feature on an app, but an actual opportunity for retailers to help me in my purchasing process.
Picture walking into a store with a clear idea of exactly what you want to try on and the store recognises this and helps you get the most of your time, amazing. With beacon technology this is more than an unrealistic fantasy but what is next to come.
Beacons placed at entry points to the store would notify the shop assistant of your imminent arrival. To create a unique and personal experience the assistant would have access to several key details about you, including name, Wishlist and shopping history with the store.
The Wishlist would be a major tool to create a personalised experience, recognising what the customer wants and even their size would allow for a more seamless process.
The shop assistant, who could recognise you through your devices location, would greet you by name, offer to place your Wishlist items into a changing room, or in some instances where It wasn't too busy in store, the clothes might already be in the change rooms waiting for you. You could then try things on at your own convenience. To simplify the process even further push notifications could be enabled so the assistant is able to check in on you, “do you need help with sizing?”.
Once you're happy with your item there is no limit to what comes next. You can continue to browse in store or purchase the products on your device by traditional methods or by scanning the item with built in app technology. Purchasing the item on your device would prompt a push notification to be sent to the shop assistant, who could then offer you a bag and a farewell.
Beacon technology would limit wait times and queues, everything that makes online shopping so appealing. Plus you have the added appeal of not needing to bring your wallet out with you, as you could store credit card details on the app itself. Promo codes wouldn't just be limited to the online store, as you could apply this to the purchase when you're ready to check out.
Safe and simple, the technology is the bridge between the in store and online shopping experience and who knows, I may even be lucky enough to find that rare pair of jeans I so long for.
Posted by Callum Murphy