How retailtech will change the future of shopping
Shop ’til you drop
Here at Thyngs, we’re always thinking about the different ways technology can improve our everyday lives. Retail is no different.
One reason we’re particularly interested in this area of tech is that a lot of retailtech is phygital. Although the option to shop online has been available for a while, shoppers are reluctant to give up on the high street just yet. When you’re parting with your hard eared cash, it’s understandable that sometimes you need to see a product in real life. We’re no different – we love a good trip to the shops on the weekend.
Here are a few of our favourite ways retailtech is turbo-charging the world of shopping , and giving customers a better experience…
Customers have more choice than ever before: improved technology means it’s easy to offer increased customisable and tailoring options for many products and services. However, all this choice means it’s often impractical and unfeasible to hold every product variation instore or in a warehouse. Using VR in showrooms would allow retailers to demonstrate all the options available, without having a showroom the size of a small county. Customers simply pop on the VR headset, and view whichever products they want to experience in high-def, 360 VR!
Using beacon technology is a great way for retailers to communicate offers and vouchers to customers in the vicinity of their store. By using the beacon’s location sensor to send offers to customers who are nearby, retailers are more likely to catch customers thinking of making a purchase. Especially if they set them to send out a relevant offer when a customer has been loitering by a particular display for a long period of time, or keeps returning to a certain area of the store.
NFC price tags
Don’t you hate it when you’re looking at a product instore, and they simply don’t have enough information about it available? Sometimes we even find ourselves googling the product on our phone, just so we can look up more details on the retailer’s website. We’d like to see a future where more stores are including NFC technology in their price tags and product labels. That way, we can simply tap it with our smartphones, and gain instant access to any of the info we need.
Mobile POS systems are a piece of retailtech that can benefit both the customer and the retailer. Not only is it quicker and easier (the customer no longer needs to worry about carrying cash or bank cards), but it also makes it easier for the retailer to implement customer loyalty schemes. Accepting payment via mobile allows a retailer to gain more useful information about the customers – which in turn allows them to target their customers more appropriately with offers and vouchers. And of course, a happy customer is a customer that’s likely to spend more, and keep coming back!
According to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions in retail will be managed through AI by 2020. Although this doesn’t necessarily fit into the ‘phygital’ category, we think it will make a huge difference to the experience of online consumers. Using chatbots to answer customers’ questions can help take out the uncertainty and obstacles that get in the way of making an online purchase. Using AI improves customer service and experience too, since their questions can be answered quickly, at any time of day or night.
Back to the phygital: it may sound high tech and futuristic, but we’re expecting the role of AR in retail to increase in the coming years. Retailtech experimenters are currently working on a Google Glass-like AR headset for shop staff. Putting on this snazzy headset will display employees with an augmented map of the store that demonstrates which areas require their attention. A spillage in aisle two, perhaps, or an empty shelf that requires refilling. It’ll certainly allow staff to use their time more efficiently, and solve problems almost as soon as they arise. Sounds like a store manager’s dream come true!
Of course, this list is just the beginning. There are heaps more interesting and innovative examples of retailtech that can help improve the shopping experience for both customers and retailers. While the future may be bright and digital, for the moment we’d appreciate consistent WiFi coverage across our favourite shopping spots!