Seven Ways Retailers Are Embracing Tech
The trick is matching the convenience, speed and depth of information in-store that the online world easily provides. Also taking priority: time-saving techniques like virtual try-on; faster, more secure checkout; and protecting customers’ information.
But retailers have a lot of work to do technologically. Here’s a look at what might be in store:
1. ‘Social proof’-enabled tech
Brick-and-motor retailers are making the equivalent of online reviews available in-store. SnapTag as a new, more aesthetically appealing take on 2DBarcodes developed by SpyderLynk, lets consumers use mobile phones to take a picture or scan a specially designed tag to receive information, coupons and more. Kiehl’s, for example, is using SnapTag on its mobile app.
2. Personalized information
Accenture Technology Labs offers an enhanced tab based on its technology codenamed WeShop for retailers’ mobile shopping apps. From their phones or tablets, users can get information about a specific product tailored to them based on their social-media data.
3. Virtual try-on
The app StyleWhile allows users to choose a model that looks like them or get a personalized model to “try on” looks, including apparel, footwear and accessories. It also offers advice from style bloggers and the ability to buy items directly from the app.
4. Body scanning
Brands such as Athleta, Betsey Johnson, Seven For All Mankind, and Banana Republic have partnered with Me-Ality to help consumers find their best-fitting styles. After a quick body scan, shoppers receive a custom shopping list of clothing suitable to their measurements.
5. PIN and chip
Say goodbye to traditional magnetic-stripe credit cards, as PIN and chip technology, widely used in Europe already, begins to take hold in the U.S. via EMV “smart chip” technology. (EMV is a joint effort between Europay, MasterCard and Visa.)
6. Bluetooth low-energy beacons
A technology called iBeacon from Apple lets iPhone 5 and iOS 7 devices to communicate with retailers, telling them where shoppers are in a store, allowing them to push personalized coupons and deliver other information directly to phone. Qualcomm uses a similar technology via its Gimbal platform.
7. Digital wallets
Square, Coin, Google Wallet and other hands-free payment technologies store debit- or credit-card numbers and redeem coupons via mobile phones. Some can actually harness location-tracking technology. These options essentially do away with the traditional cash wrap at a physical store as store associates complete sales via tablets.