We’ve discussed before how brick and click is the retail wave of the future; and the innovation of the physical store does not seem to be slowing in 2017. At Eye Faster, we’re all for innovation: especially learning to understand how it changes shopper behavior and how it will change and strengthen the relationship between brands and retailers and the customer. We’ve done a little research into some key innovations taking place right now. Let’s take a look.
Now, Just Walk Out
Do you ever wish you could walk into a store, get what you need, and walk out without waiting in line, fumbling with cash, or answering a series of tedious questions on the point of sale system? Well, with Amazon Go’s new technology, you can.
Amazon calls it ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, a literal term for their newest retail concept. Shoppers enter the store by tapping their Amazon app on a detector at the entrance. Then, using computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, shoppers can simply pick up any item off the shelf and the app will ring the customer up automatically. When the customer is done, they simply walk out the door and the sale of the items they took with them is automatically charged to the customer’s Amazon account. There’s no need for cashiers or any sort of manual checkout process.
Amazon is not the only company disrupting the retail space as of late. Retail innovators have been busy simplifying and enriching the shopping experience using technology in ways that will alter how consumers shop in the future.
One of the biggest pushes for retail innovation is the continued demand for omni-channel – using multiple channels like in-store, mobile, and online – to research, browse, and buy. According to Cognizant, 95% of all retail sales are the result of online, mobile, and in-store interaction. Customers want the ease and efficiency of an online experience, like the ability to view product specs and options, or avoid lines, while being able to interact with products in person. Amazon Go’s Just Walk Out technology is a perfect example. Consumers can browse in-store while using their mobile apps to purchase.
Brick and Mortar as a Showroom
Outdoor gear and footwear manufacturer and retailer,Timberland, is taking the omni-channel experience to the next level with its NFC tablets in a New York store Customers in the store can use the tablets to tap on product tags and view information and recommendations. If the customer doesn’t want to purchase right then, they simply email a wishlist of items they liked while browsing in order to buy online later. It’s akin to an online experience, but the customer can actually feel and test the product in person.
Omni-channel retail platform, ShopWithMe, is blurring the lines between the digital and the physical with their Store of the Future. The concept store is an interactive, omni-channel retail space that ShopWithMe markets as a new way to showcase retail products.
The entire store is “smart” and can learn about the customer as they shop. With active learning, the environment can send interactive shelves and displays to a customer to suggest other items they might like. By setting a product on an interactive screen, customer can receive more information about the product, including available sizes and colors, and more. The mirrors in the fitting rooms are also interactive and can assist a customer in requesting a product in a different size or color. Once a shopper has decided on their purchases,they pay and leave the Store of the Future without waiting in line by paying at a tablet kiosk.
A Whole New World of Retail
As technologies continue to emerge and improve, the shopping experience will evolve, making room for new experiences for shoppers. Brick and mortar retail spaces will continue to act more like showrooms while online stores will become more and more immersive. As virtual reality becomes more commonly used, we predict shoppers even will shop at what look like physical stores from the comfort of their own living room. Gone soon will be the days of carrying around large shopping bags ushering in the convenience of overnight ship and delivery. Brands and retailers who stay vigilant and engaged with innovation will find themselves thriving in the whole new world of retail, while others will fall behind.
If you’re looking to better understand how new technology will affect your brand or retail environment, consider contacting Eye Faster using the box below for a consultation.