3 technologies that retailers should not miss

The most important technologies that the trade and retail should not miss

The retail industry has undergone major changes in recent years. Even now, new ideas and technologies are at the start, which open up many new possibilities to bring customers a new shopping experience.

Retail has had to face strong changes again and again in recent years. The needs of customers in particular have changed, new technologies have emerged, showrooming has attracted attention as a problem, and mobile technologies have continued their advance.

Especially the connection of online and offline shopping experience is in the foreground of many customers today. New technologies are designed to connect precisely these worlds – here, too, digitization is an indispensable tool for every company.

1. Grab and Go – new dimension in retailing

Amazon’s success is built on the skillful use of digital technologies that bypass the need to stand in line at the checkout in a new effort by the company with real brick-and-mortar stores. People check in at the store, grab the products they want (or put them back), and then simply walk out of the store. Through technology, all products are automatically added to the shopping cart, and when one leaves the store, then the Amazon account on file is used to settle the cart.

However, this concept of “grab and go” is not really new. IBM had already started such experiments almost a decade ago and Walmart is also currently putting this technology into test circulation. Another possibility for such grab and go systems is, for example, to offer customers an app with which they scan their products themselves. When he leaves the store, the latter can pay for the purchases.

The Amazon Store promotional video provides a glimpse into the future of retail:

2. Augmented reality

The advantage of the physical store is clear. People can see products in the flesh and touch them as well. However, to bring the online experience of information, reviews, comparisons or suggestions to the physical store as well, new technology is needed. That’s where augmented reality comes in. This technology makes it possible to bring the digital world into the store through sensors, cameras and other means to offer precisely these added values. That’s why it’s no surprise that many retailers are already experimenting.

Ikea was one of the first companies to apply it on a larger scale, offering its customers the opportunity to see and “fit” furniture directly in the room – while IKEA developed its AR solution itself, there are now several providers on the market offering comparable solutions for smaller businesses.

Augmented reality can also happen with the help of so-called HMDs (head-mounted displays). These are special glasses that display content such as information, promotions or even ratings when you are looking at a product. The possibilities are correspondingly large, since actually any kind of information can be entered or interaction would be possible. From the fashion industry to classic retail. All industries can benefit from this technology and many applications will come in the next few years, as the prices have also become much more attractive and the technology will also become accessible to SMEs.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is only at the beginning of development and still many algorithms have much potential for improvement. However, on a much more practical level, we can already find impressive systems.

For example, Facebook has built a payment function into its Messenger for chatbots, which opens up completely new possibilities. By collecting and evaluating millions of data records, sales histories and also personal interests, chatbots can make suitable suggestions. Customers can communicate directly with chatbots and receive an immediate response. The decisive advantage, however, is that each customer receives even better personalization over time, as the chatbot adapts to the customer.

In addition to Facebook, industry giants like IBM, Google and many other vendors are working to make the capabilities of chatbots more extensive. From shopping assistants to personal advice to tailored information, everything is possible.

There are also many possible applications in the operational area. IBM has “IBM Commerce Insights” and “Watson Order Optimizer” here, for example. This artificial intelligence analyzes data, incorporates weather data, consumer data and other correlations to, for example, make the supply chain more efficient and predict demand to avoid empty shelves.

So there are many interesting developments in retail that you might want to take a look at yourself, as even small businesses can develop new business models and stand out from the competition efficiently. Clarification is worthwhile in any case!

Benjamin Talin, a serial entrepreneur since the age of 13, is the founder and CEO of MoreThanDigital, a global initiative providing access to topics of the future. As an influential keynote speaker, he shares insights on innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship, and has advised governments, EU commissions, and ministries on education, innovation, economic development, and digitalization. With over 400 publications, 200 international keynotes, and numerous awards, Benjamin is dedicated to changing the status quo through technology and innovation. #bethechange Stay tuned for MoreThanDigital Insights - Coming soon!

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