Retail success is about so much more than having a great product. Learn how these 7 hot retail technology trends are shaping the entire industry.
A whopping eight out of ten Americans admit to shopping online. And with a statistic like that, you better believe the retail industry is finding new ways to reach their customers through technology.
To compete in today’s market, it’s not all about having the best product. You need to also have the best shopping experience as well. And technology is evolving to incorporate all that together.
How are they doing it? Let’s look at seven retail technology trends that are taking the industry by storm.
#1. Check-Out Free Stores
One major headache that has plagued shoppers is waiting in long lines to check-out. Retailers tried to curb this issue with the use of self-checkout kiosks. But now the trend is getting even more streamlined.
New apps are making it possible for shoppers to scan a code from the app as they enter the store. They then pick up all the items they need. Then simply walk out and continue on with their day.
No waiting in line. No dealing with payment machines.
Using the information stored in the customer’s app, retailers track what the shoppers pick up by sensors and computer technology. Then automatically charges them for it after they leave the store.
It’s a no-fuss, no-muss experience that is only expected to expand in use.
#2. Smart Mirrors
Retailers know that shoppers are seven times more likely to make a clothing purchase if they use fitting rooms. The problem is, shoppers hate fitting rooms. So how do stores get the customers to use them?
Smart Mirrors is the answer. It’s new technology used in retail stores to transform the fitting room experience.
The mirror itself is a camera and a screen. After a shopper tries on their clothes, they are able to record an eight-second video of themselves in the outfit. They can then view the video and see themselves in a 360-degree perspective.
Want to know how the dress you have on looks compared to the one you tried on before it? The Smart Mirror lets you view a side-by-side comparison of the outfits you try on.
Need a second opinion? You’re able to email screenshots of your outfits to friends and family for them to weigh in.
Smartphone messaging apps are growing in use by leaps and bounds. With some 2 billion users expected to connect to a messaging platform this year, retailers know it’s something they can’t ignore.
Enter the new ChatBots. These bots are computer programs that chat with users and automate specific tasks. It’s conversational retail marketing on a direct and personal level.
These apps allow customers to message retailers with questions about their order status, product info, and other inquiries they may have.
And the ChatBots are evolving to now help customers with personalized product suggestions. Order items without having to talk to a human. And even learn a new language in a private, conversational setting.
#4. In-Store Experience
It’s not enough to simply go shopping anymore. Retailers know to keep the interest of consumers, shopping now needs to be an experience. And one they’re going to remember and share with their friends.
To up the ante, retailers are designing store experiences that aren’t just about the products. But also about making experiences customers love that center around what the store is all about. They’re doing that in ways with events that are fun, entertaining, and unexpected.
And they’re tying it into technology. Apps offer discounts and promotions, but also fun interactive games and prizes. And these online interactions tie into in-store events that not only allow for real-life connections but meaningful experiences for the consumers as well.
But it doesn’t stop at just the customers. A merchandising app help stores connect to their headquarters in a whole new way for visual presentations, communication, training, and so much more. It helps deliver a brand consistent experience throughout to every location.
#5. Online Stores with Physical Showrooms
One of the biggest drawbacks to online stores is the inability for customers to see, try-on, and touch the products before they buy. To cut back on returns and dissatisfaction, physical showrooms are now popping up.
Shoppers can go into these showrooms and check out the merchandise for themselves. But instead of making a purchase and going home with their items, they order their selections in the store and have it shipped to their house.
This approach is not only helpful to the customers, it also saves the retailer money by not having to pay for inventory space at a brick-n-mortar store.
Research shows that a growing number of millennials welcome the idea of showrooms, which means more of these are on the horizon.
A personalized shopping experience has been on the rise. Things such as subscription services that send customized selections of products to consumers is growing in popularity. And the trend is to see more and more personalization offered to the public.
Improved data collection, on-demand manufacturing, and streamlined digital interfaces are behind the push in customization. And they’re becoming extremely accurate in their ability to pinpoint what the customer needs.
We’re even seeing an increase of shoppers designing their own customized products such as shampoo, clothing tailored to their exact measurements, and 3-D printed performance athletic shoes.
The future says what the consumer wants, the consumer will get.
#7. Buy Online, Pick up in Store
It’s a busy, busy world we live in. But trends in retailing are trying to give consumers back more valuable time by making the shopping experience easier.
Now instead of parents having to pack the kids up to head to the store or busy professionals having to find time to get some shopping done, technology can take care of all that for them.
All they have to do is order what they want online or on their phone. The store takes care of getting the items, ready it for pick-up, and alert the customer that their order is ready. All the customer has to do is swing by and pick it up.
No more spending so much time in a store.
And if the customer needs to pick their order up at a specific time that works with their schedule, no problem. It’s all about convenience.
Retail Technology Trends Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Saving shoppers time, money, and giving them a meaningful experience is the focus of new retail technology trends. And as technology continues to evolve, so will the retail industry.