Technology is an amazing thing. As much as it pushes us to reach new heights, it’s leaving some of us behind. Not every country or franchise has the resources and funding to integrate the latest and greatest in technology right this second, only to have something new released in the next few seconds.
Okay, so seconds might be an over exaggeration, but the point stays the same: technology is constantly developing and by the time some people “catch up” with flashy video wall systems, the next best thing (video wall controllers for augmented reality) is about to go on sale.
And an industry where technology has both helped, harmed and now helping is brick-and-mortar retail. Technology in retail was first used to make payment easier and advertising in-store more interesting. Then technology went and created the online shopping malls on the internet, driving traffic away from physical stores. And, now, people have decided that it’s still important to have physical stores so, technology is finding new ways to integrate and make the entire shopping experience an enjoyable one.
Technology is important in brick-and-mortar stores because it’s all about creating effective, smooth, time-saving and customer satisfactory experiences. We’re going to be looking at achievable ways the majority of retail stores can integrate technology in-store and be relevant again in the technological timeline of change.
Visuals to attract attention
We used the example of video wall controllers in the rapid change of technology. The goal remains to attract customers’ attention. You just need to update your video wall controller screen technology to display more than just your latest products and deals. People want to interact, get useful information and have their attention stolen.
Screens and moving visuals are an easy attention-grabbing win. But moving visuals that respond to an individual consumers’ needs is even more attractive. For example, many retail stores are setting up screens in their windows for passersby. An example would be a blacked out screen that has a hidden background image (of your products, clothing or even in-store layout) that is revealed in the outline of whoever walks past or stands in front of the window-screen. This kind of technology works with visuals, sensors and interactive mirrors and is one way you could boost your store’s technology.
How amazing would it be to have a video of a model in your clothing line (on the screens) that walks alongside (from screen to screen) a potential customer who’s walking past the store? That “was that just a coincidence or did the model really appear and walk alongside me” moment is sure to stop customers in their tracks and bring them in-store. And, in-store, you could have virtual mannequins where an image of a model wearing the item of clothing customers have just picked up off the rails, appears on the nearest screen for them to see.
Augmented reality for consumers to decide
Another way you can interact video wall screens and technology into your store is through Augmented Reality (AR). One way AR is used in retail clothing stores is as a means of not having to physically get undressed and try on the items you’re interested in buying. It’s a projected image of yourself and the clothing item that you’re trying to figure out if it suits you or not.
This will require touch-screen and real-time view technology, as well as a detailed digital inventory of all your items. This “digital dressing room” removes the time and energy consuming act of changing rooms that tend to send consumers out the door.
And for home and furniture stores, mobile and AR technology allow for customers to “see” what an item in-store would like in their home-space without having to buy it in order to try it out. It also helps for those who shop online for furniture and don’t want to be disappointed when it arrives.
Efficient point of sales systems (POS)
Another effective integration of technology is through efficient POS. Amazon Go is the example everyone turns to because it’s new, it works and it’s rather incredible. This is the goal, an entirely checkout-free shopping experience. Where grocery shopping is as simple as walking in, grabbing what you need and walking out. No lines, no cashier issues or card machine malfunctions.
Other innovative POS include mobile POS, loyalty management systems and digital wallets. Now, digital wallets allow customers to pay in-store with their mobile devices. Digital wallets store a consumer’s banking information that is easily ‘tapped into” when activated by their personal mobile when purchasing items in-store. This makes the sales process quick and effortless which will make it a go-to store for customers who are looking for an efficient shopping experience.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford these types of technology and cashier jobs are necessary for certain countries’ economies and employment rate. You need to integrate technology in a way that makes sense for your brand and your business. As long as you’re striving for customer satisfaction, you can’t really go wrong.