MERGE Insights

A Look at Retail Technology Innovation

From the RIW22 “In-Store Technology Innovation” Session

A common theme you’ll hear during any retail conversation is that the pandemic has changed the role of retail. The question is, how? The answer may not look the same for every brand, but one element that everyone is looking to include in their retail strategy is technology.

 

Technological advancements have been accelerated greatly due to COVID and the table stakes have risen. Tech is being folded into every aspect of our lives, leading to greater tech literacy among consumers who are starting to expect more out of the products they use.

 

The current state of retail includes a lot of showrooming – spaces are “Instagrammable” but don’t offer customers any utility. Technology is the solution to this and if leveraged appropriately can solve a need that shoppers have and help drive them down the path to purchase.

 

Responsive sales floors, marquee moments, augmented merchandising, connected infrastructure and mobile dashboards incorporate technology into retail in ways that provide benefits to the brand, sales associates and shoppers.

 

Responsive Sales Floors

What Is It?

  • Mobile tools that provide a guided browsing experience through navigation help, personalized content and product recommendations.

Why Is It Important?

  • Brands have more control over the retail experience and can guide shoppers to the products that fit them best.
  • Mobile tools can complement the sales experience, help connect retail to e-commerce and personalize messages in retail via the mobile app.

 

Marquee Moments

What Is It?

  • Ways to bring entertainment into retail by creating mixed reality experiences with the physical space and mobile tools such as screens and tablets.

Why Is It Important?

  • One-of-a-kind moments give shoppers a reason to go in-store and create a desire to share socially.
  • It increases the chance that a shopper will remember a brand if they’re able to have an exciting, unique experience.

 

Augmented Merchandising

What Is It?

  • Bringing integrating digital media, interactive displays and AR/VR into the in-store product trial experience to show shoppers how the product fits real life settings.

Why Is It Important?

  • The physical retail browsing space doesn’t always reflect how a shopper will use a product in their daily lives. Augmented tools can help a shopper more easily connect how a product can be useful to them.
  • Supporting content can be updated based on seasonality, culture and local aspects to keep in-store environments fresh.

 

Connected Infrastructure

What Is It?

  • Using technology in-store to gain more data, building a more robust shopper profile.

Why Is It Important?

  • Retail has forever been the greatest data desert with brands not being able to have a complete picture of what shoppers were doing in-store. Adding technology to the retail space can help brands as they develop traffic-driving strategies.
  • Increased data can also help brands be more responsive to each customer by personalizing their messaging. This helps make brand product and promotion recommendations more relevant to shoppers’ needs.

 

Mobile Dashboards

What Is It?

  • Platforms that bring teams and tools together in real time in-store.

Why Is It Important?

  • These tools help sales associates quickly access information and tools needed to make the sales process seamless.
  • A moderator of the retail space can use the tool to have a better understanding of each customer on the sales floor and assign them a sales associate to help.

 

85% of transitions still occur in retail, but the adoption of technology has been largely focused on e-commerce. Investing in retail technology can help brands create a true omni-channel shopping experience that is relevant, connected and responsive.

 

"There’s a famous quote that the future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet. I don't think anything we're going to see in retail stores is going to be crazy new technology, I just think people are waking up to the fact they do need to integrate technology and build the right experiences to retain their customers and build up excitement, especially as retailers think more holistically about the commerce experience.” - Eric Mogil, Chief Growth Officer at RADAR.