5 technologies shaping our shopping experience

IoT

Internet of things is turning to Internet of everything. Retail demands attention to detail, whether it is about the customer flow, the best before -date on milk box or making sure that supermarket does not run out of disposable rain coats the day before a major music festival. Okay, I’m talking from the Finnish perspective here, not thinking about Coachella in the California heat. You get my point. IoT collect lots of data, big big data, and the retailers are doing their best to use it in a way that benefits us, and them.

Augmented reality

You see a gorgeous couch in your favorite decoration store but are not sure if it would look good next to your coffee table? This is where augmented reality comes to play. You can just digitally fit furniture to your apartment and see what goes and what does not. How perfect is that? And oh, so dangerous to one’s wallet… Also, we should soon have AR dressing rooms so that you do not actually need to try the clothes on to see if they fit.

Mobile payment

Widely used already but still worth mentioning. Maybe soon it is fine to forget your wallet when you go to make your groceries. At the checkout, you just log in to your grocery store’s app where you have your payment card info saved and you just accept the payment. I wonder if more stores will do mobile checkouts? I remember shopping at Victoria’s Secret in L.A. in the fall 2015 and I did not have to queue for the checkout, the store associate who had been helping me simply took out her tablet, swiped my card and I was good to go.

Indoor positioning

Not only can you find the products you are looking for from the store, with the current technology it is also possible for the store associates to follow where their products are moving. This provides great information for them to display products the way we want to see them (and where we want to see them) and recognize our negative purchase decisions. It also gives them the chance to spot the dishonest shoppers among us and follow the product to the corner where it is being stolen. Yikes!

Personalization

With all the data, the stores have about us, it would be unfortunate if they did not start using it to personalize their offering to us. It is no longer enough to use the general data based on the age group to send special offers: I might be getting to the age when people typically have kids, but I do not have them yet, so I am not interested in getting offers on Pampers or baby food when doing my groceries. Personalization is not anymore online exclusive but as the omni-channel study shows, omnichannel capabilities drive the engagement of core shoppers with the retail brand and ultimately draw them to the physical store1. Personalization needs to happen in all the same channels as the customer engagement does.

1 https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-study-of-46000-shoppers-shows-that-omnichannel-retailing-works?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvardbiz

 

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