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:
Amazon announced the launch of their new self-checkout store, Amazon Go, which was predicted to change the retail industry drastically. The 1,800-square-foot grocery store allows 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 are logged in the app itself, and is automatically charged to the consumer’s synced method of payment once they’ve left the store. This model makes 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 created major buzz within the retail industry, and inspired many more.
Smart shelf labels
Smart shelves have sensors that are 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 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. As these models are still 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, and even go as far as suggesting outfit options to shoppers.
SoftBank Robotics first tested a robot called Pepper, a surprisingly helpful humanoid robot at two mall locations in California. The company has recently announced it is working on a Tokyo cafe that will be run by Pepper. It will sell waffles!
Clothing retailers are getting in on the progressive fun with the launch of interactive mirrors. Major retailers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Rebecca Minkoff piloted this interactive technology in flagship stores and gauged how well it was accepted by shoppers.
Located in the fitting area, shoppers can 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 seeing the customer support potential that can come from such a technology. Companies like MemoMi Inc. in Palo Alto, California, are transforming the shopping experience by applying augmented reality to its line of “memory mirrors”. At Ralph Lauren’s New York City store, shoppers can now request a new size or colour 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 years, and its benefits in retail are becoming more apparent as retailers experiment in-store.
Retailers like Home Depot already rolled out augmented reality capabilities that allows consumers to try products before buying them. IKEA's AR furniture app lets you preview an entire room, enabling consumers to visualize how their potential choices might look in their home. Italian luxury fashion brand Gucci launched an AR app, which allows customers to virtually try on 19 pairs of Gucci sneakers.