The Future Of Retail Technology – Promising Or A Sham?
Internet and smartphones are two significant innovations that have changed our lives by letting us perform any activity at the click of a button. Industries realized the strong potential of having an online presence, because, today, there are more than 3400 million internet users, who largely depend on the virtual world for their day to day needs. The internet gradually changed consumer’s shopping preferences and behavior which created a huge impact in the retail industry.
With the eCommerce market becoming a trillion dollar industry, it paved way for a popular concept called ‘showrooming’ where shoppers visited the physical store, examined their products and later bought them online for their comfort. Showrooming was definitely becoming a threat to the retailers and impacted their sales in large numbers, even forcing them to shut down their physical stores.
But until recently, the retail industry has begun to realize the true potential of using various kinds of technology to their benefit. In 2014, Walmart’s CEO, Neil Ashe, expressed that showrooming is no longer a bad word for retailers who are ready to explore customer’s shopping interests. “If people want to showroom, then we are going to be the best darn showroom in town. It’s our job to earn that sale from you when you are there, and we believe we do, and we can. We provide you with the access, service and the price that’s compelling you to buy it from us.”
The rise of showrooming gave rise to another concept called “Webrooming” where shoppers search for your products online and buy the products from your physical store. According to a Nielson study, Webrooming has become instantly popular where 88% of shoppers preferred to browse in-store and shop online. Giant retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Nike, Macy’s, Adidas etc decided to take advantage of this growing trend by bringing in various smart technologies that will provide the real-time shopping experience to customers.
This is because retailers have understood an important fact that the ideal way to increase sales and the retail market is to adopt strategies that work around increasing customer’s shopping experience and offering them a perfect blend of the online and physical store experience.
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the retail technologies that look promising for the future of the retail industry and why it’s necessary to embrace technologies without further delay.
The DressingRoom App By Gap
The DressingRoom app is a technology powered by Augmented Reality (AR) which allows shoppers to virtually ‘try’ any apparel. The Avametric technology is backed by Google Tango platform and ASUS hardware. The changing shopping behavior and interests of consumers have enabled retailers like Gap to find ways to constantly engage with customers through their app.
Interactive Virtual Tour By Axel Arigato
For those of you who love to shop online but still want to experience your products in their in store, then you should definitely try what Axel Arigato will have for you. They offer an interactive virtual tour of their company’s flagship Soho store. They use GolnStore, a cloud-based retail technology which helps Axel Arigato’s online customers to experience their physical store from anywhere in the world. The idea of harnessing cloud-based technologies have helped retailers to explore more ways to reach out to customers and offering them a seamless shopping experience of both online and physical stores.
“An added advantage, for Axel Arigato, is that customers who have used our technology have a stronger propensity to purchase so we anticipate the company seeing a significant increase in December sales as a result of this partnership.” – André Hordagoda, GoInStore’s co-founder.
Smart Fitting Rooms By Rebecca Minkoff
The fitting room seems to be the place which can influence your customer’s buying decision at the most. To bring about a revolution in the fitting rooms, Rebecca Minkoff installed connecting mirrors after partnering with eBay. With these connecting mirrors, you can simply browse through the various products that you’d like to try and request their staff to help you. It also encourages self-checkout.
Recently, ahead of the Fashion Week, they introduced smart tags on their handbags that will allow customers to unlock exclusive offers including tickets to spring/summer 2017 event. This is to encourage the #BornDigital initiative to make clothing more interactive and personalized using real-time analytics and backed up by IoT technology.
The smart dressing rooms by Ralph Lauren go a step ahead in innovation by letting customers choose the kind of environment they want to fit their clothing. Retail giants like Prada and Nordstrom are highly positive in bringing about customer-centric shopping experiences with the help of high end technology so that it will help them increase customer engagement to make better sales, brand establishment and be a part of the retail elite club.
H&M And Google
Ivyrevel, a fashion hub backed by H&M Group is teaming up with Google and coming up with an app that will closely monitor a user’s interest and lifestyle pattern and suggests personalized dresses. This is another leap step in the retail industry that emphasizes the importance and growing trend of delivering personalized clothing to customers.
Ikea Place – An AR-Based Furniture Shopping App
This app can change the way customers shop for furniture online as well as the in the retail store. With Ikea Place, customers get the option to visualize how the particular look in their very own house before placing the order. All you need to do is choose the product and find a place that best fits your product. This is personalization at its best as you can visualize and choose the right furniture without the hassle of a measuring tape and the manual tasks. that best fits your needs. It will surely be a boost for the online furniture shopping business.
This particular app will revolutionize the way customers will shop for furniture in the future. With Ikea’s new innovation, online furniture shopping seems more appealing than visiting the actual store.
Well, as for the future of retailing, it has never been brighter. Store owners are trying to continually explore ways to be on par with the technological advancements. The realization that any progress and achievement lies deeply in enhancing the customer’s shopping experience. It’s the best way to relate with the shopper and build a successful retail business.
Krithika is the senior content writer at The Commerce Shop. When she isn’t writing about marketing, eCommerce trends and conversion rate optimization (CRO) trends, you can find her running behind her 3-year-old son and on the quest to find the best carrot cake recipe (with cream cheese <3)! Follow her on Twitter @TheCommerceShopRead Full Bio