Wednesday, December 30, 2015

4 retail technology trends shoppers can expect in 2016

Author: YI mobility

Online stores may be convenient but many shoppers still enjoy spending the afternoon visiting their favorite shops and interacting with creative displays. Recently, technology innovations have allowed businesses to offer in-store guests experiences they could never encounter through e-commerce shopping. Here are four technologies and display trends shoppers can expect to see in 2016:
1. Retail displays as spectacles
Each store only has so much space to display products, interact with shoppers and provide informative materials. In the past, businesses were hesitant to devote real estate to frivolous pieces of entertainment that attracted shoppers, but failed to convert sales. Technology advancements allow stores to feature displays that entertain and inform while taking up very little room.
Stores can hang flat screens on walls able to interact with consumers through digital functionality. Shoppers can rotate through outfits, dive down into product details or even play games. Time magazine featured businesses using technology to encourage visits by offering shoppers free recreational digital activities or computing product demonstrations on giant, immersive screens.
Offering shoppers' technology they can't find anywhere else turns a store into a fun destination. Advanced displays can serve double duty if they offer innovative experiences and show store offerings.
2. Smart dressing rooms
One major advantage physical stores have over online retailers is customers can actually hold merchandise in their hands and check to see if clothing fits. Products like women's dresses really don't have a universal size system; a four from one brand can be very different from another. Smart dressing rooms allow consumers to check how clothing looks while still browsing through products like an online store.
According to The Fiscal Times many high-end clothing stores have smart dressing rooms with touch screen computers that communicate with inventory systems. A shopper may bring items into the fitting room and then use the mobile device to scroll through other options the store has in stock. If something doesn't fit, a person can check for other sizes or find different colors and styles without having to constantly travel back and forth.
Many smart dressing rooms are capable of communicating with sales staff. This allows employees to bring outfits to shoppers in fitting rooms or prepare items for sale without forcing customers to carry numerous products around with them as they continue shopping.
3. Mannequins that watch you
This one may seem a little creepy at first, but stores and customers can profit from mannequins able to watch consumers. Stores outfit retail displays with scanners and sensors that record and analyze shoppers in hopes of understanding consumer trends better. EMarketer said mannequins are the perfect host for facial recognition technology because they naturally draw the eyes of consumers.
Most stores need advanced data analytics to stay competitive in the modern market. Just recording information from sales isn't enough, stores need methods to track every shopper who walks through their space and learn what separates browsers from buyers.
The benefit to the shoppers is increased personalization. If a store understands what type of customer is most likely going to visit the space during a certain time or season they can present offers and deals that really communicate to the shopper's needs. When the mannequin recognizes a customer, so will the store.
4. Beacon technology delivers specialized discounts.
Some of these technologies are a little high-end, but most stores can offer shoppers personalized discounts and capture consumer data by implementing cost-efficient beacon technology. Like mannequins' sensors, beacons recognize certain shoppers but instead of taking video of their faces, beacon signals communicate with shoppers' mobile devices.
If a customer downloads a beacon loyalty app they can receive special discounts and coupons whenever they step into their favorite stores. Companies with beacon apps send greetings and discounts automatically based on a particular person's previous interactions with the business. Shoppers can also use the app to record their own activities and earn rewards through membership programs or digital punch cards - and they won't leave their information at home like previous loyalty cards.
Most beacon programs are less invasive than other monitoring technologies because the power is in the consumer's hands. Each shopper can choose whether or not to download the app. After installation, a customer can choose when to turn on GPS technology to capture activities and earn discounts and deals. It is technology specifically designed to make shopping fun and rewarding without the hassle of similar programs or the privacy issues of other tracking innovations.

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