January 7, 2020

Where Retail Technology Needs to Go Next

What developments do we need to see in order for retail to move even further into the future?

In recent years, we’ve seen the face of shopping change dramatically. While eCommerce is gaining traction, it’s impossible to deny the developments we are also seeing in brick and mortar stores. From the dawn of contactless payments to self-checkout kiosks, there are endless examples of how in-store technology is doing its part to keep up with the growing popularity of online shopping. 

We’ve evaluated the future of retail in-depth, and many industry experts have strong opinions on what is likely to come in the next few years. However, the conversation needs to evolve into what brick and mortar stores should be doing to pull more customers into their stores. Here, we’ll be discussing where retail technology needs to go next, and how brick and mortar stores can use this technology to enhance a shoppers in-store experience.
How can we improve customer experience in retail stores?

Using the latest retail tech to get more customers through the door

Brick and mortar stores need to use innovative, customer-friendly retail technology that will get customers excited about entering their stores. This includes technological solutions that will reduce waiting and queuing times, like scan and go technology, but also looks to go further to provide a personal experience to each customer.

It’s no surprise that queues are causing retailers to lose out. An estimated £284bn is lost annually from checkout abandonment due to long queues. Luckily retail technology can provide retailers a chance to fight back. Mobile self-checkout apps allow shoppers to scan and pay for their items from their mobiles without the need to stand in line and wait for a conventional checkout. This suits the shopper of the modern era as it’s estimated that 52% of shoppers now believe speedy, frictionless payment is a must. While other in-store technologies, such as scanning guns or even self-checkout kiosks promise shoppers a seamless experience, often shoppers are still either forced to queue or are subject to errors at checkout when using these methods.

Mobile self-checkout technology enables retailers to provide a real human touch at a fraction of the cost and disruption of employing facial recognition, and without the ethical questions that may still need to be answered. What’s more, it’s reported that 55% of shoppers still prefer to talk to a human customer representative. Scan and go technology liberates staff from the checkout area and allows them to roam the floor and help shoppers as they browse for their items, keeping, rather getting rid of shop employees entirely. 

Offering Something eCommerce Cannot

What can brick and mortar stores harness that can’t be replicated by eCommerce or other instore technologies? The answer to this question lies in using data to provide personalisation. 

Research shows that 80% of shoppers will likely buy from those retailers that offer a personalised experience and we see retailers responding with the likes of Apple equipping their individual employees with tablets and mobile payment terminals. However, this method is fixed to a ‘one at a time’ model meaning while this method offers a great deal of personalisation, it only serves as many shoppers as there are staff members available. Scan and go technology provides an additional level of personalisation through the ability to upsell and cross-sell products based on what products the shoppers have used the app to scan, and what they have purchased in the past. Using this data the retailer can offer recommendations, discounts and more through push notifications and email receipts, adding a personal touch that rivals eCommerce.

In-store retail technology has developed considerably to stay ahead of the growing popularity of eCommerce. With a large range of options to choose from when it comes to instore solutions, retailers are urged to really consider and listen to what their shoppers are asking for when implementing these solutions. Offering a truly seamless shopping experience coupled with the ability to give a ‘human level’ of personalisation, which scan and go technology provides, are amongst the top priorities for retailers going forward, and where retail technology needs to focus for future developments.

What to know more? Find out what shoppers want from retail technology.

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