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What tech buzzwords come to your mind when you think about retail? Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning? These are the technologies retailers have to manage nowadays if they want to win customers' hearts, get advertising burdens from shoulders, and oversee complicated manufacturing procedures. The pandemics outbreak has already influenced the future of the retail industry and put retailers in front of a choice: go digital or die.

In today's blog, we’ll talk about innovative retail technologies that have turned the shopping experience upside down and become a must for retailers.

# Mobile apps

Smart shopping apps can’t be referred to as new technology in retail though in the pandemic reality they have become even more common. About 88% of respondents use mobile shopping apps. What is even more striking, 51% of shoppers purchase through shopping apps while they’re in the store. The app’s icon serves as a constant reminder that pops up in the customers’ minds when they’re thinking of making a purchase. The possibilities of leveraging mobile experience in retail are endless: 24/7 customer support, loyalty programs, sales, special offers, easy payments, and all these you can share through a friendly push. Some examples:  

  • Klarna is one of the most popular shopping apps. It’s a combination of an e-commerce site and payment provider for the biggest brands. Scandinavian-fashion interface gives you easy access to your search history, separates bookmarked items, and also offers credit rates.
  • In 2020, Nike reported digital business growth by 38% gratefully to the Nike and SNKRS apps. The data that is analyzed within the apps include everything from the customers’ nationality to which product photos they are zooming in.  
An interesting fact is that a few years ago through data analyzing Nike found out that a big number of highly engaged SNKRS app users living in New York were Dominican. That’s how the De Lo Mio Air Force was created. Followed by a marketing campaign with Dominicans wearing the sneakers and shot by Dominican photographers, the collection was immediately sold out. A great example of innovation in retailing for boosting personalized customer experience and increasing loyalty.

# Beacons

In 2013 retail technology news was stirred up - Apple introduced Beacon technology. Since then it has come a long way, been improved and upgraded several times, and finally, was valued at $519 million in 2016 and predicted to reach $56.6 billion in 2026. Nowadays, beacons are being actively implemented not only in retail but in-hospital patient tracking, intelligent agriculture, museums, banks, hotels, and many more. These are small budget hardware sensors that are installed within the store. The new retail technology transmits messages directly to user devices through wireless Bluetooth Low Energy communication. As customers move inside the store, they receive targeted information about discounts, new arrivals, and create shopping lists that include identification of the items’ availability and their location in the store. Here are the examples of implementation of this innovative retail technology:

  • Elle magazine delivers push notifications to their readers offering editors’ picks when they’re close to the stores that sell their magazines. Such a deployment across American malls has resulted in 8.5% of visitors that visit promoted stores. 
  • Finnish chain K-supermarket uses innovations in retailing to remind their customers about items that they might have forgotten to add to their shopping list. For example, if there is coffee on your shopping list, you’re likely to get a reminder about milk. The analytics has shown that 25% of shoppers buy the product they receive a notification about.
  • Macy’s - one of the oldest US retailers, that has implemented beacons in 2014. When a customer opens an app they get a reminder about brands they have recently liked, or searched for. 

According to the report written by Proximity Directory, 75% of US business owners have already implemented beacons in their technology retail stores. What are you waiting for?


# Robots

Robots have rolled into retail becoming one of the most wanted future retail trends (or already present?). Besides freeing employees from boring routine tasks and giving them more time for interaction with customers, robots offer much more - valuable data. This new technology for retail stores is able to analyze and collect data about the items on the shelves and customers’ buying patterns. Robotics is actively used in delivering, cleaning, and generally managing the stores like warehouses. According to ABI Research, by 2025, more than 150K mobile robots will be deployed in brick-and-mortar retail establishments. What are the innovation retail stores using robotics now?

  • The home improvement chain Lowe is one of the high flyers in the implementation of retail innovation ideas. In 2016 they introduced LoweBot that could help customers to navigate the store, find products in multiple languages, and answer simple questions. Furthermore, the bot also assisted with inventory monitoring in real-time which helped to discover patterns for taking future business decisions.
  • A giant European grocery retailer Auchan Retail Portugal introduces autonomous shelf-monitoring technology that with the help of robots gets insights about out-of-stock items and pricing. The robots move around the store and take photos of all the shelves that are later converted into metrics.
  • The Tokinomo company uses technology that with the help of motion, lights, and sounds transforms the aisle into a mini theatre. When the shoppers pass by, a motion sensor activates a device, and the product starts engaging with a human. The research held by Tokinomo company has shown that 40% of shoppers memorized the name of the brand promoted by a robot.

How to Leverage Innovation in Retail?

As product cycles speed up, business owners face the challenge of being aware of retail technology trends and becoming their implementers. A robot roaming freely in your store, an application on your customers’ smartphones, and targeted notifications sent through Beacons to the shoppers’ phones might be the keys to personalized customer experience, cutting expenses, and improving the efficiency of business operations. 

As a software development company, inVerita is looking forward to turning retail innovative ideas into a highly technological and profitable solution for your business. Don’t hesitate to contact us.
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