Retailers are constantly looking for new ways to entice consumers and enhance the shopping experience, and as the digital wave continues to become a bigger piece of the buyer journey puzzle, they are introducing new and innovative ways to improve their models.
Retail technology is truly a win-win situation for both parties–consumers enjoy a more positive shopping experience, and retailers are enjoying deeper data than they’ve ever had before.
We got the scoop on some of the top retail trends to spot in 2017:
Amazon recently announced the launch of their new self-checkout store, Amazon Go, which is predicted to change the retail industry drastically. The 1,800-square-foot grocery store will allow shoppers to sign-in to the store simply by swiping their Amazon Go app as they enter. Once signed-in, consumers can grab what they want from the shelves and walk right out of the store without having to line up at a checkout.
Everything picked up by the consumer will be logged in the app itself, and will be automatically charged to the consumer’s synced method of payment once they’ve left the store. This model will make grocery shopping far more efficient and time-effective for consumers, and retailers can gain valuable insights on individual shopping habits and store navigation.
The concept has created major buzz within the retail industry, and is scheduled to open its doors to Seattle shoppers later this year.
Smart Shelf Labels
Ever try to pick out a product in the grocery store and stare blankly at a shelf filled with 30 different versions of the same product? Grocery retailers are looking to technology to improve the shopping experience for consumers, and are now playing with the idea of installing “smart shelves” in stores. Smart shelves will have sensors that will be able to give in-depth consumer behaviour analytics at retail stores.
The idea involves digital price tags on all items, so that specific items pertaining to the customer’s preferences (gluten-free, organic) will light up for them. Retailers also hope to incorporate laser and motion sensors throughout the store to help them detect which products consumers are picking up, and whether or not they follow through with the purchase. The concept allows retailers to take personal marketing to a whole new level, and actually create a unique experience for each shopper.
The idea has been tossed around for decades, but retailers are finally starting to test interactive robots in stores. Robots can guide customers to certain products and help with store navigation.
As these models are tested out, retailers hope to continue developing their level of sophistication, so that they can give personal greetings to shoppers according to their age and gender through facial recognition, and even go as far as suggesting outfit options to shoppers. SoftBank Robotics is currently testing a robot called Pepper at two mall locations in California, while select Lowe’s locations are offering robots that scan inventory and help shoppers find product.
Clothing retailers are getting in on the progressive fun with the launch of interactive mirrors. Major retailers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Rebecca Minkoff are piloting this interactive technology in flagship stores and gauging how well it’s accepted by shoppers.
The idea behind this retail technology is really to solve some of the common pain points that pop up throughout the shopper experience. Located in the fitting area, shoppers can now analyze a 360-degree view of the outfit they’re trying on, compare different outfit options side-by-side, and even send a video of the outfit to friends for a second opinion.
Brands are already beginning to see the customer support potential that can come from such a technology. At Ralph Lauren’s New York City store, shoppers can now request a new size or colour entirely through the interactive mirror without ever having to leave the dressing room. Within moments of the request, consumers will then receive a message that an employee is on their way with the new size.
Talk about service.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) have been major topics within the technology industry over the past year, and it’s benefits in retail are becoming more apparent as retailers experiment in-store. At the moment, home improvement retailers are finding AR and VR technologies to be the most beneficial to their structure, as it allows shoppers to see how a new decor or home renovation would actually look before buying.
Retailers like Home Depot have already begun rolling out augmented reality capabilities that allows consumers to try products before buying them. Shoppers can now upload an image of their current space, and can test out thousands of different paint colours and floor types to find exactly the aesthetic they’re looking to achieve.
Which new technologies are you most excited for? Comment below and let us know if we missed any!