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What is shopping’s latest trend? The frictionless! But what do we mean when we say Frictionless Shopping? Is it really such a new thing? Is it something we didn’t know and it just appeared from nowhere? Let’s see what it is exactly and decide; but most importantly, let’s prepare for what seems to be the future of Shopping!

What is Frictionless Shopping

To put it simply, it is an enhanced kind of shopping experience. It is taking two types of retail, grafting them and giving the customer a shopping experience that is practical, easy and fast. Frictionless is a shopping experience that opts for a fluid, uninterrupted flow, from the get into the go out.

Frictionless Shopping emerged from the social transformations that we have been witnessing lately. But the truth is that we (clients) have been demanding it for a long time now; maybe without even realising it.

The need for more space, the need for fast-track shopping, the lack of time to be standing in long-long lines, the demand for correct and precise answers from the store associates, are just expressed now in a clearer manner. Making something better and more practical should come naturally, and this is what frictionless Shopping is: A Better and more practical way to shop!

Frictionless Shopping How Can Your Store Prepare For The Future Of Shopping

The Future of Shopping is Frictionless

While we were confined and restricted, our lives changed in ways that sometime ago seemed unimaginable. Our liberty to move and do things we once considered basic, disappeared in a matter of hours. But now, as we make our comeback to the social spaces, now that we, once again, touch and feel and try on the products we are going to buy, we demand to do it in cosy, perfectly-organised, optimally-designed environments!

Because now, we expect from traditional shopping the same level of ease and comfort that online shopping offered us all this time. And Frictionless can provide us the perfect synergy between clicking and touching. But how do frictionless stores actually work?

Frictionless Shopping How Can Your Store Prepare For The Future Of Shopping

The Types of Frictionless in Retail

● Easy Access & Fast Exit

Frictionless shopping must be a non-stop, walk-through experience. Waiting times must be minimised and long lines should disappear. No traffic, no unnecessary waiting, no nerve-breaking moments. Clients must enter and exit having wasted no time.

● Payment Options

Registers are being replaced by online (and other) paying methods. Mobile wallets or retail apps are a reality! Amazon’s 1-click buying is another example, have you ever used it?

● Multichannel Presence

Google Nest, Amazon Echo and other order and delivery services are now accessible. Customers can make product inquiries or voice-order from their homes. Sephora is already collaborating with Google. The presence of your business in as many channels as possible, will give you access to an even bigger public!

● Customization

At the end of the day, personalization makes the customers feel unique! And technology keeps increasing our capacity to deliver on specific consumer demands. Customised shopping and products tailored to one’s specific desires, are not just a tendency but a must.

● Security and Safety

Consumers make their searches, pay and interact under the safest conditions and store owners worry less for shoplifting, bar code-related glitches or credit card transactions that don’t go through. As long as sensitive Data is well secured, with Frictionless shopping consumers and retailers will feel safer!

● The positive side of Friction

We must eradicate all negative friction, but nonetheless, some friction is useful. When customers walk calmly and dreamy in your store, looking around for no reason at all, it is very possible that they will spot interesting offers, useful information, a nice packaging on your shelves that they could not have seen online; or be intrigued by a marketing action that you might have set in-store. Frictionless is also about finding the right balance between the digital and the physical.

5 Ways to Prepare for Frictionless Shopping

Now that the time for the transition to the Frictionless has arrived, here are five tips to prepare your store, and yourself, to offer the best shopping experiences!

1. Inventory Optimization

Inventory management must be optimised, modernised and designed in a way that if a product appears as available on your store’s website, then it must be on the shelves or at least somewhere in your store. Discrepancies between online and real availability must be eliminated to better manage clients expectations. To keep an updated inventory is not an easy task. It is a circular and never-ending process to be carried out methodically. Your clients need accurate information.

Don’t underestimate its value! Inventory Optimization is about demand (really) and demand is about sales and profit! If Harrods is famous, it is because it has what it says it does. After all, reputation could be the r in frictionless.

2. Digital Transformation

Most of the challenges businesses have to face presently, cannot be met without the help of technology. Even for a brand that bases its whole existence, all its marketing & branding strategies on tradition and history, adjusting and adopting the latest technological developments is compulsory. But we should keep in mind that Digital Transformation is not just acquiring new software or hardware, it is a holistic approach that should be meticulously designed (the technology has to empower your collaborators to provide an enhanced shopping experience, if it does not deliver, it is effectively useless).

Handmade products are the apotheosis, but today even the most manual action needs the backing-up of technological tools. The hand of Rodin; the touch of the screen!

3. Streamline your Processes

All the processes must be linked; streamlined. To say it of course is easy, but to achieve it… The line that will link all your businesses’ needs, processes and goals must be a continuum. All the negative business examples have taught us that even a tiny frail point is more than enough to bring a whole empire to its demise.

A small detail can be the ignition of a great change (of an outcome of incalculable scale). Nothing – nothing – is to be taken lightly. Think of everything, connect everything. Frictionless shopping is the result of Streamline processes.

4. Be Creative

Technology offers flexibility! Many low-cost (or no-cost) solutions, available to everyone, can generate huge profits. From Social Media to the correct implementation of apps and online services… Your store’s profile can be reshaped and all your services enhanced! You only need to plan correctly and be creative!

5. The Human Factor

In this high-tech-environment we live, we tend to forget that behind hardware, software and apps are human spirits; real people. Ultimately, it is the human factor that will set the perfect conditions and pave your way for positive and profitable results.

Your collaborators, your suppliers, all (all!) your associates (including the people you trust to handle your marketing, branding techniques and strategies) must be carefully hand-picked! For you, for your clients and for your brand!

If it radiates nicer friendly tones, everybody will feel better. Good marketing and branding are difficult to do because they have to be deeply human, but immaculately effective. So, how to Accelerate your e-commerce business? How to improve your in-store shopping experience? Care, be truthful, effective and efficient; be modern and relevant, but most of all, be thoughtful and find the right people to help you!

Frictionless Shopping How Can Your Store Prepare For The Future Of Shopping

Our Final Thoughts

Walmart, Macy’s, Apple, Home Depot, Sainsbury’s, Zara and many more have adhered to the Frictionless movement. Maybe your turn has come too! Frictionless is the present and future of shopping and if properly done, it is equally practical and rewarding for the customer and the businessman alike! So, welcome it and put it in motion! It’s shopping’s updated version!

Frictionless shopping means optimal shopping experiences. Frictionless shopping is John, George, Paul and Ringo at their best, creating, performing and recording as an indivisible unit. No Yoko, Ego or other friction-generating situations!

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