Next-level retail functionality
Retailers are exploring all kind of technology to increase efficiency or create better customer experiences. Here is the ones we find most exciting and how we think they will impact retail.
#1 No dead ends
With customers online at all times. Retailers must create a customer journey with no dead ends. No dead ends implies that customers can start on a smartphone or computer and continue in store, or vice versa, without any obstacles. In store, the phone functions as an extra service layer, either as AR or for doing price comparisons and accessing knowledge.
#2 New physical touchpoints
Yielding a seamless and better customer experience, cutting-edge retailers create physical touchpoints that cater for the modern, omnichannel customer. Pick-up points, order-to-home desks, self-scanning stations and express checkout points are all part of the new customer journey.
#3 More and better content
Content is king. The best retailers know this and have replaced flashing promos with top-notch digital content generating benefits for the customer. We see digital extended shelf functionality in-store that show a wider offering or in-depth information about products or fitting rooms equipped with interactive screens that allow customers to ask for assistance or just adjust the lighting.
#4 Fast check-out
The pure transactional action of payments is changing fast. Mobile payments and other subscription-based models are relieving the administrative burden of handling payments in stores – increasing safety, reducing queuing time and saving employees of tedious cashier tasks.
#5 Efficient capture and use of data
In tech-savvy retailers’ stores, you check in when you enter. Proximity-based technology, e.g. beacons, then customize the experience for you. RFID-chips keep track of every product in the store, allowing for a no-queue, self-service experience as well as managing inventory. Computer vision is used for heat mapping and analyzing customer flows and behavior as a tool for increasing efficiency.
#6 Smart use of robots
While mainstream in the supply chain, we are beginning to see robots making their way into the aisles and check-out areas of stores. Chatbots are increasingly being used for customer service. And actual robots are used for simple and repetitive tasks such as sorting out rotten fruit or stocking the shelves.
#7 Right delivery methods
The last mile of retail, the delivery, will see big developments in the years to come. There is much talk of drones, albeit being controversial and a heavily regulated field and some ambitious retailers have already taken off. New mailboxes, leaving goods in the trunk of your car, moving pick-up points in trucks, one-hour-deliveries to your favorite café, train station or office is getting much attention.