4 Technologies Set to Disrupt Brick and Mortar Retail in 2017
This year will see more integration of technology in the overall in-store experience as retailers try to prove that they offer more than just a tactile experience while striving to develop an atmosphere that makes customers want to come back again and again.
Here’s a look at some of the latest tech consumers can expect to see in their favorite brick and mortar retail stores:
- Interactive Mirrors: These mirror displays are bringing the online experience into brick and mortar stores. Merging the physical and digital worlds, mirror displays are set to be a game changer for retailers. These interactive displays may even eliminate the need for traditional mannequins and rack displays. These displays give the customer an experience of entering a virtual closet that’s continually updated with the latest styles and trends – they can see themselves with multiple makeup looks and try out dozens of options in minutes without having to change clothes. These mirror displays also make shopping more efficient for shoppers, especially those on a time crunch. The digital screens use movement, patterns, animations, and photography on life-sized screens to represent endless style options for shoppers.
- Smart Shelves: This technology includes shelves and hangers as part of the interactive shopping experience. Shoppers are able to see digitized price tags and information about the products they choose – when a shopper picks a product off the hanger or shelf, not only does the price and information come up, but so do recommendations of related products. Amazon has introduced smart shelf technology in their experimental grocery store in Seattle, WA. The shelves include sensors which track items as shoppers put them into their baskets (or return them to the shelf). The shopper’s Amazon account then gets automatically charged, eliminating the need to stop at a checkout line.
- Image Recognition: Retailers also benefit from using technology in the areas of digital merchandizing, in-store stock calculation, and overall business analytics. Image recognition helps retailers reduce time spent in-store while still giving them in-store insights. A sales representative can take a photo of the store shelf, and within minutes get a full report to better understand availability and merchandising opportunities. This is a great technology to enhance the point of sales cycle from manufacturing to marketing to selling on the floor.
- Beacons: Beacons are being hailed as the way to lure shoppers back into brick and mortar stores. These tiny, low-energy devices use Bluetooth technology to send out personalized information to a customer’s mobile device. The device can even greet customers on their devices upon entering the store. This technology was created to drive customer engagement by providing new product information/reviews, downloadable coupon/vouchers, and even the ability to text the storeowner or manager all through the customer’s phone. Retailers can also gain important insights such as how long shoppers stopped at beacon-enabled displays and the relationship between beacon-enabled sales offers and actual sales. Small retail businesses can now compete with e-commerce brands by providing a fully personalized shopping experience with beacons.
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