How Technology has Changed Commerce Over the Last 20 years  by@strateh76

How Technology has Changed Commerce Over the Last 20 years

In-store digitization goes beyond concept studies in Italy, Italy and New York. Gallerie Commerciali Italia has implemented a combination of infrastructure services, customer relationship management (CRM), and in-store solutions in three shopping malls in Milan. Thomas Pink uses RFID tags to record almost 100% of the inventory and optimize store design and workflows. The Acuitas Digital Alliance includes BT, Intel, NexGenNext, SATO Global Solutions and Valmarcaging. Together, the alliance is presenting the next digital scenario in Alexander Black’s next demo store.
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Shariy Ivan | Content marketer & Copywriter

I`m a content marketer from Ukraine, specializing in blogs. I work in IT, crypto, and marketing niches. You can DM me.

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In the past, relations between sellers and buyers were formed through personal interaction. The more time customers spend in the store, the more the seller understands their buying preferences and behavior. Sellers could predict which brands buyer A would prefer, at what time buyer B was most likely to appear, and so on. These ideas were then used to personalize the service and improve each buyer’s shopping experience.


However, this approach cannot go beyond a few buyers. A store that takes more than 2000 visitors a day can not maintain an effective personal relationship with all its customers. Nor can it use manual tools to determine its customer preferences accurately. Besides, data from multiple customers can not be used to predict what random visitors from the street will prefer.


This article looks at how ‘offline commerce’ has evolved through the years

Online shopping has changed customers

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The positive experiences with online shopping have changed customers forever: they are used to receiving an almost endless selection of goods, detailed product information, clear statements about availability or delivery dates, and personalized suggestions with suitable additions or alternatives to a selected product. It is no wonder that most consumers assume that most stores will offer digital services in the future.

Digital technology for a shopping experience with all the senses

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A visit to a concept store Alexander Black shows how digital technology revitalizes the traditional store. Here, visitors can try on clothes and film them, then judge their new outfits on a large screen or ask friends for their opinion via social media platforms.


When potential buyers place a product on a counter with an integrated touchscreen display, they automatically receive a lot of information about it — its origin, the materials used, available colors, and care instructions. And, as with Amazon, recommendations.

Digitization in online retail and stores: more than concept studies

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A pilot project at Gallerie Commerciali Italia proves that in-store digitization goes beyond concept studies. Business owners have implemented a combination of infrastructure services, customer relationship management (CRM), and in-store solutions in three shopping malls in Milan to increase the popularity and volumes of sold goods.


A specially developed mobile app offers various services: customers can find their car in the parking garage more easily with the “Car Locator”, vote on music to be played in the shopping center, and receive personalized vouchers.


But that’s not all. The project also includes interactive promotion systems that address customers audiovisually and via their sense of smell. The display columns, which are located at several points in the shopping center, recognize the gender and age of the customer via camera and can display corresponding offers.


For example, the lady sees a handbag from the current collection, and the promo column emits a subtle leather scent. The cheeseburger displayed to the hungry youngster smells deliciously of bacon.


In addition to the WLAN infrastructure, which can be used by visitors free of charge, were installed cameras and beacons. In such a way, the shopping mall operator can see where many customers are, which paths they take, and in front of which shop window they spend most of the time. This information can be used to make the mall even more attractive.

Digital Store on Wall Street

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The British fashion label Thomas Pink has also recognized the importance of digital data for the future store. At its store on Wall Street in New York, the provider of exclusive menswear uses video sensors to record the movement of goods and visitors in the store. Big-data analyses are used to forecast customers' purchasing behavior and optimize store design and workflows. Thomas Pink also uses RFID tags to record almost 100% of the inventory. This way, time-consuming manual stocks can be avoided, and even incorrectly sorted clothing items can be found quickly.


Solutions like these require powerful information and communication infrastructure because it is not enough to offer visitors digital touchpoints in the store.


BT, Intel, RetailNext, NexGen Packaging, SATO Global Solutions, and Valmarc Corporation created the Acuitas Digital Alliance. Together, the alliance members have presented the next digitalization scenario in Alexander Black’s New York demo store: an interactive changing room.


The customer in the changing room will receive suggestions for suitable clothing items via an interactive display. When the client selects what he or she wants to try via touchscreen, the salesperson receives a message on the smartphone or tablet. In the meantime, salespeople can attend to other customers in the salesroom. This increases staff efficiency and customer comfort, just like in online retailing.

Digitization of commerce: 5 steps to a digitized store

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Digital technologies offer a lot of opportunities for “real” retail stores. To use them successfully, retail companies need a clear concept and the appropriate measures to implement it:


  • Involve digital customers. Beacons can locate visitors in front of the store via Bluetooth and W-LAN.
  • Support sales staff with mobile devices. A salesperson cannot know every alternative to every item because the online offer is always more extensive than the one in the store. But they must have direct access to them when talking to customers.
  • Digitize store logistics. When customers enter the store, they expect support and advice from the staff. RFID tags provide real-time information to give them what they want. For example, a pair of shoes that a customer has put back in the wrong box can be found quickly.
  • Protect systems and data. The protection and security of all data in the store and throughout the corporate network are the basis for the systems' functioning and the customer's trust.
  • Analyze data consistently. Customers who share their data with companies expect something in return — they want to be served faster, more personally, and better. Companies can meet this expectation by consistently evaluating all relevant data with unique analysis systems and implementing the insights gained in the process.


This is how you can digitalize your commerce store in 5 steps.

Conclusion

Ultimately, technology has revolutionized the way buyers interact with sellers. Today, business owners have access to more customer information than in the past. Technology solutions also allow them to optimize their stores and operations for increased productivity.


In 20 years, technologies have changed the usual concept of commerce beyond recognition. At the beginning of this century, no one could think that stores would become so multifunctional, and their main goal would be customer comfort.


However, it’s crucial to stay in touch with your customers. This requires an optimal customer/staff ratio. Fortunately, retail analysis technologies provide the means to measure (and optimize) this performance in stores.




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Shariy Ivan | Content marketer & Copywriter HackerNoon profile picture
by Shariy Ivan | Content marketer & Copywriter @strateh76.I`m a content marketer from Ukraine, specializing in blogs. I work in IT, crypto, and marketing niches. You can DM me.
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