Future of Retail — Omnichannel

issue 03

The store - and in many cases, the flagship store - are the interactive “galleries” of the future, becoming an interactive, augmented, immersive and more personalised brand “museum like space”, enhanced with virtual reality. It could be an artistic experience where shoppers come not only to shop but to be inspired, attend arts performances, join crowdsourced ateliers, or window shop through magic mirrors. A place for shoppers to be instantly catered to and have their needs met even before being aware of them; an oasis to fully immerse themselves into the brand’s universe through interactive technologies.

IN-STORE TECHNOLOGY If properly designed and executed, a digital in-store experience is the missing link most retailers are seeking to address. When it comes to personalising the shopping journey, various technologies are used and are fast becoming a must for many retailers. There are numerous examples of what can be done with technology: Intelligent fitting rooms allowing customers

to check the stock and instantly ask for a different size while in the changing room area by sending a notification from the fitting room to the shop assistant’s station or mobile device Virtual dressing rooms where a magic mirror

allows customers to see themselves wearing various items, without even having to try them on. Customers can connect and share their outfits with friends through social media for instant feedback GPS and interactive baskets where

supermarkets allow customers to scan their own food, with customised messages such as recipes and recommendations through interactive shopping trolleys or supermarket GPS. Interactive displays could automatically suggest meals to make as shoppers scan and add items to their trolley. Or, shoppers could draw up a shopping list at home, log in (for scanner in-store), see their list on screen and cross them off as they go. We also predict these trolleys could start creating the best possible shopping route based on the shopper’s items to help save time.

“Side-by-side” interaction is also becoming

key for a personalised shopper experience. Previously, retailers installed touchscreens

to facilitate do-it-yourself kiosks in stores, but they’re learning that, when given a choice, most customers still prefer to interact with a person at some point in their shopping. With side-by-side interaction, sales assistants and customers stand next to each other by a larger-scale touchscreen instead of across a customer service desk or till. They can browse stock, check availability, and process purchases together in a less transactional, convenient and more personalised way. “Side by side” helps create closer and better relationships between shoppers and staff – especially important when selling high-value items or seeking a long-term relationship with repeat customers.

BRINGING ONLINE INTO OFFLINE For many retailers, in-store ecommerce has become a way to improve customer service and facilitate transactions as an additional service without completely removing the cash registers. Having a payment option at the point of purchase instead of directing the customer towards a till with a long queue, can make real a difference for the tech savvy shopper. A customer could complete the purchase

right from the virtual fitting room or through an interactive terminal with the possibility for retailers to add extra options based on loyalty points, shopper behaviour or search history. It doesn’t mean that store associates won’t be needed; rather it will give them time to get from behind the counter to interact alongside with the customer, giving advice, checking inventory and with easier access to information, improving the customer service. In a theatre-like environment, consumers

should be able to interact with and even co- create or DIY their own products. The modern store experience is interactive mostly through touch technology, and personalised thanks to data capture and reach analytics options. It is also mobile through commercial grade mobile point-of-sale and deployment of mobile apps in store. As experts in touch technology, we

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