Bringing digital interactivity into the physical store: Ombori IoT Grid

If we could mention just one conventional retail bias, among many others, that was swept away by 2020 events, it would surely be the obsolete dichotomy between ecommerce and physical stores.   It has become clear to most retailers and industry analysts that this binary way of conceiving a retail business not only is unreflective of nowadays shopping behaviour but it also hinders retailers from seizing those endless opportunities that the new OMO paradigm (“online merging with offline”) unlocks to them, in terms of sales and growth.

Online and offline commerce are not meant to cannibalise each other: they coexist in a mutual synergy. Shopping journeys themselves are not linear, nor compartmentalised into just one dimension versus the other, because shoppers ultimately connect to brands round the clock, through multiple touchpoints and diverse sales funnel phases.

Purchase decisions are under the continuous and non-linear influence of a great number of textual and visual stimuli, which range from social influence to display advertising, from loyalty notifications to search engine results: all inputs that brands orchestrate wisely, making them ever more personalised and accessible at shoppers’ fingertips, through their mobile devices.

Shoppers who land on websites in the first place are not necessarily expected to complete their purchase within the online boundaries of an ecommerce cart. That very last mile of the sales funnel will often convert later in the physical store, prompted by the irreplaceable charm of a “real” store environment.

Reversely, visitors navigating a brick and mortar store can end up interacting with the merchandise through a digital interface, mimicking that self-service and guided experience that makes e-commerce so attractive and frictionless.

“Friction”, in fact, is any roadblock that can delay or break that shopping continuum, from the moment of choice to the one of product trial, from social inspiration to price comparison, from POS experience and decision to buy, to the very final acquisition of a product.

By mixing together elements of digital interactivity (like digital signage) and physicality, we can make sure that shoppers are not distracted along the journey to the final sales goal, but rather accompanied to it, with the additional value of a safer shopping experience.

Ombori, a multi-award winning Swedish IoT company specialising in interactive solutions for Retail and Spaces, is one of the 4.0 rising stars that has nailed down this digital transformation paradigm, making it actionable (almost plug-and-play) for a growing number of worldwide retail brands, hotels and Smart Spaces.

By leveraging the Ombori IoT Grid, in addition to a complementary edge tech-stack, Retailers can now implement digital experiences in physical stores in order to ultimately address those operational bottlenecks that store managers typically struggle with, including (but not limited to):

  • in-store queues and crowds to reduce and streamline
  • guided assistance to provide to demanding customers, in under-staffed peak hours
  • premises capacity to keep constantly under control, to comply with regulations and safety
  • or simply, undecisive customers to catalyse and funnel to the purchase, through a gamified experience with a wow effect

This is possible thanks to an Azure-based platform that connects and automates the appropriate sensors, notifications, edge devices, AI outputs, based on rules and triggers that are fully configurable in the backend by the retailer.

The numerous deployments that Ombori has put in place to date internationally are documented by their rich gallery of video case-studies, which – no surprise – took social media by back in 2017, when the company rose to popularity thanks to a Smart Mirror, powered by AI, created for H&M flagship store in Time Square, NY and featured on YouTube.

The common denominator that characterises Ombori’s deployments is the perfect equilibrium between clever digitisation and human-friendliness; automated just at the right point to relieve retailers from the burden of operativity without feeling dull or anonymous to customers, but also engaging enough to appeal shoppers who enjoy the brick and mortar dimension, for a good reason.

Today, Tech Data has the privilege to make the Ombori platform available to our channel.  A tech-stack that can be re-purposed and adapted modularly over time beyond its initial applications and therefore can fit the ever-changing needs that retailers face these days, with ease of deployment, excellent interoperability and great return on investment.

Learn more about our Ombori featured solutions and contact one of our sales advisors to discuss your implementation needs.

Camilla Bonanni

IoT Solutions Consultant

Tech Data Europe