Technology is constantly advancing. That may be rhetorical, but it is essential to keep in mind that it applies to literally every industry. If we are talking about sports analytical technology, there is a market for that. If you want a voice activated kitchen for your restaurant, there is a market for that, too. The world of retail is no exception to the rule. There are a ton of new retail technologies that are improving the structure of retail in and of itself. Whether you are a small mom and pop retail store or part a massive conglomerate, there is a lot to benefit by fitting new retail technologies into your budget for the future.
Hotspot coordination is a new idea in retail marketing, but it is going to skyrocket in relevancy in the near future. Companies like Pointr Labs have shown the effectiveness of this technology. By tracking where customers are going in stores and showing “hotspots” based on where customers spend a majority of their times, business managers are able to take this information and strategize their product locations on the sales floor. Maybe they did not realize on their own that certain products would perform better than others at a given time of the year. Hotspot coordination gives cues to stores managers that can ultimately lead to greater sales figures for their respective stores each quarter.
Yes, robots. There are new technologies coming out that are creating interactive experiences for shoppers, one of which is literally a robot. It sounds like crazy, futuristic Jetsons material, but it will be a reality before we know it. The company behind it all is SoftBank Robotics, and the robot is named Pepper. Pepper has shown to be an effective technology for attracting more customers; he is a marketing genius of sorts, apparently. In a test run at B8ta, a retail hi tech store in Palo Alto, Pepper’s presence alone during a week long trial increased the store’s foot traffic by 70%. At another Pepper exhibition, the robot’s presence coincided with a “13 percent increase in revenue and a six-fold increase in sales of a featured product.” With such successful numbers to back it up, Pepper is sure to be a more household name in retail marketing strategies. Check out a video of Pepper in action here.
Smart shelves are an awesome technology. Considering how many options there are on your average American grocery store shelf, smart shelf technology aims to simplify customer experiences. For instance, if you walk up to a crowded spice rack, you might have to spend at least a few minutes glossing over everything just to find the one you want. With smart shelves, your shopping list can be synchronized with the shelf and it will put a light under the spice that you actually need. It seems a type of distant future technology reserved for our grandchildren, but it is already being put into practice in some U.S. stores. Utilizing certain features that the smart shelves offer has boosted specific product sales as well. Kroger, a store testing out some of the technology before it goes worldwide, noted a spike in sales for baby wipes when the shelves flashed reminders saying “don’t forget baby wipes” in the diaper aisle.
The mobile revolution
Maybe this one is not so “new”, but nonetheless it is one of the retail industry’s largest trends in technology. It is no secret that a majority of American adults have a mobile smartphone. The revolution of smartphones has been unprecedented, and permits the average person accessibility to troves of information. From a consumer standpoint, half of all in-store visits are driven by mobile devices. Huge swaths of just about every demographic (teenagers, college students, moms, etc.) use their mobile device to learn about a product, then find a place nearby that sells it. Understanding this from a distributor’s standpoint can pay off huge dividends in the long run. From a business standpoint, mobile devices provide essential marketing data for companies. Mobile technology allows marketing teams to gather useful data regarding people’s searching habits and permits them to plug themselves in at opportune moments while users are online.
Overall, retail technology has developed at a remarkably fast rate. It is allowing companies to better coordinate their store layouts, attract people to visit, make the experience of a shopper easier as a whole, and permitting retailers to collect useful data that can alter their marketing pitch to customers. It is pertinent that all companies in retail, old and new, get on the technology train before they get left in the dust of irrelevancy.
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