virtual store

I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles to share. You can share articles you find interesting with me on Twitter at @Bazaarvoice.

CVS/pharmacy’s new iPad App features 3-D virtual story, digital pharmacy experience
By Antoinette Alexander for Drug Store News

Pharmacy retailer CVS’s new iPad app lets users explore a virtual 3D CVS store and access services from the pharmacy, photo center, and various other departments for shopping and other needs. The idea behind the app is to simply create a fun and interactive mobile shopping experience, while adding more convenience for customers.

Rather than navigating a classic ecommerce site, users can tap on popular areas of the store they would like to digitally explore. Included in the app are features like prescription management, where consumers can look over their various prescriptions and order refills with one touch; a coupon rewards center for saving money; a weekly ad or bargain; catalogue-style shopping; the ability to upload photos and have them printed the same day in a physical store; and informational services on medications and clinics.

Whether the app is practical remains to be seen, but the creativity is admirable, and may inspire other apps. Imagine an artificial reality overlay for use in real stores, adding digital, clickable options to real-world shelves. Apps like CVS’s execution push traditional thinking, and for that I applaud it.

Cleanup in aisle 3: How retailers will avoid slipups in the digital age
By Elliot Grant for All Things D

One of the biggest challenges facing retailers is showrooming — whether it be through the use of smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets, etc. Consumers can easily walk into an electronics store, find something they like, then take out their phone, and scan it to see if they can pay less someplace else.

While the digital age does create some challenges for retailers, it can also have its advantages when retailers use the technology to their advantage. Writes Elliot:

“Stores that can experiment with transparency, increase personalization, eliminate waste, and build trust will win the hearts and shopping baskets of the millennial generation.”

Retailers should embrace mobile as an opportunity to capture their own sales, online or in stores. Offering helpful product videos, reviews, additional color and size options, and more information not available in stores can give the shopper everything they need to pull the trigger and buy. Emphasize these features on in-store signage with QR or barcodes to keep mobile shoppers within your own branded experience.

David Yurman taps Instagram for spring lifestyle push
By Tricia Carr for Luxury Daily

Jeweler David Yurman is using Instagram to allow users to post photos of their signature David Yurman look. As part of the “Show Your Colors” campaign, consumers are asked to share their take on the “season’s freshest hues” by posting their photos to Instagram with the hashtag #DavidYurman. Writes Tricia:

“On Instagram, there are more than 22,000 images tagged with #DavidYurman. Though these are not all necessarily meant for the spring campaign, the activity shows that there is interest brewing for the brand among the app’s users.”

David Yurman’s spring catalog will use these consumer-created images — adding authenticity to the catalog while making customers feel more involved and engaged.

Macy’s, others turn stores into online fulfillment centers
By Tom Ryan for Forbes

Tom brings up another way technology is impacting retail establishments in this piece about companies increasing the number of stores they use to fulfill online orders. Macy’s will have online pickup at 500 stores by the end of the year, up from 292 stores.

It’s yet another way retailers are adapting to meet the needs of omnichannel shoppers and keep up with online retail competitors. As retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and others strive for same-day delivery of online orders, all retailers must get creative in their fulfillment tactics. Make sure your business offers a variety of fulfillment methods that meet every shopper’s needs: ship to store, ship from store, order online and pay in store with cash, etc.