We’re halfway through 2019 and retail technology hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Stores are growing increasingly crafty when it comes to finding new ways to enhance the consumer experience, and tech has been at the very center of this transition. As the pressure of the eCommerce sector grows, retailers are innovating to create a unique shopping experience, one that can’t be replicated online.
We are seeing this across the board since the tech being implemented spans from cost-effective to cost-intensive solutions, in many instances, there can be pros and cons to each. While this makes it easier for smaller brick and mortar companies to get into the game and implement, there are limits to the customer information you can obtain. At the same time, too much automation in a retail environment can begin to feel too impersonal. It all comes down to testing what works best for your customers, as opposed to taking a one size fits all approach.
Below you’ll find three different paths retailers are taking from low to high tech.
Personalizing the Customer Experience
Last year, we saw increased adoption of ‘People Tracking’ technology. This innovative solution started out by simply tracking customer demographics such as gender, age, and emotion. While this proved useful and would show which products customers were spending more time looking at, it lacked enhanced personalization features. ‘People Tracking’ solution providers assessed the pros and cons and were quick to introduce a more expensive upgraded option to take the data collected to the next level. Using this data, the technology can now not only read the demographics but decipher the information real-time and deliver the best possible digital advertisement to display for that customer as they walk down the aisle.
Self-Checkout Success in Grocery
One of the biggest drains on a business’ overhead is employee salaries. With the advent of cashier-less stores, we’re now able to empower customers with increased levels of independence while cutting payroll costs and being able to allocate that money into new technology and experiential initiatives instead. Major companies such as Target, Ralphs, and Kroger have begun implementing self-checkout lanes but have not been able to achieve a completely cashier-less store system as of yet. However, having an employee nearby during this transition period has helped customers become acquainted with using the new machines and they are able to help if there is an issue or error message.
Striving for Complete Automation
Ultimately, every retailer is aiming for a completely cashier-less checkout system. A great example of this concept is Amazon Go, a fully autonomous store that relies more on technology than it does on human resources. As this model proliferates throughout the retail sphere, we’re likely to see many more examples of stores adopting smart/automated/cashier-less schemes in 2019 and beyond. The efficiency and convenience of this model makes it possible for retailers to bring online convenience to in-store experiences. Moreover, we find that this model often adds a level of flexibility and assurance that online shopping just cannot beat.
Finding the Best Technology for Your Retail Business
While these solutions have proven to be useful for some retailers, it does not guarantee success for all. Retailers realize that as they begin to make the transition to new technology, they still need to offer an omnichannel solution. With an omnichannel solution, businesses can determine which technological system works best for their customer base.
Our team specializes in putting together compelling IT Infrastructures which improve your restaurant’s bottom line. If your business is interested in taking its technology initiatives to the next level, we encourage you to schedule a meeting with our team using the Calendly plug-in on the upper right corner of this page. We’ll reach out to discuss your unique business goals so that we can begin crafting a solution that best fits your needs. If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on trends for your industry, check out our blog here.