Regardless of your company’s corporate DNA, technology is now a core component of successful retail brands. Whether you’re first and foremost a brick-and-mortar store with a website or an online-only company simply offering up the goods with basic info, retail brands must respond to customer habits driven by available technology including mobile devices. Customers today have more access to information and conduct more research prior to making a purchase than ever before.

Download the Spring/Summer 2016 Knowledge Leader magazine

This increasing consumer appetite for information has created a large demand for product reviews. E-commerce merchants in particular have had to get creative figuring out ways to encourage peer-to-peer reviews in the absence of store assistants. Sur La Table recently upgraded its online offering by implementing “What’s Hot,” a Pinterest-style page of items with quotes from customers explaining why they purchased featured products. This approach creates a sort of Reader’s Digest of user reviews, which shoppers can post to Facebook, pin to Pinterest, or tweet to their followers.

Other retailers allow their customers to touch and see the merchandise before buying. Warby Parker, for example, allows its customers to choose as many as five eye-glass frames at a time to try at home for five days, shipped and returned for free. During the try-on period, customers can use social media to solicit feedback from company representatives as well as other customers by sharing photos of themselves wearing the frames on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

E-commerce is shifting rapidly to serve customers’ shopping habits, and customer habits, in turn, are being shaped by all the tools available to them. From Smartphones to apps and websites that increasingly offer customizable content and products, customers today can easily do their homework before handing over their money to retailers.

For more insights about how technology is changing the landscape of retail, download the Spring/Summer 2016 of Knowledge Leader magazine. The full article includes additional insights and examples from successful retailers.