Technology is evolving faster than ever and we have a hard time adopting it. As of 2015, more than 9 million patents have been granted. Just to make a small comparison, from 1790 to 1990, there were only 5 million patents.
In the last decade, technology seems to be the star of the show. However, there are certain industries that are reluctant to adopt technology and to innovate. One of these industries is retail, especially when we are talking about brick and mortar shops.
While eCommerce is testing out various ways to include technology in their processes, brick and mortar shops rely mostly on employees and on old-school tools. Another reason for which brick and mortar shops still seem to live in the last decade is that there are few innovations in this section. However, in this article, we are going to explore them and see how they can help retailers offer more to their customers.
VR hasn't been around for too long, but it is already an amazing technology that everybody is talking about. Dreaming about being on a beach with a cocktail in your hand? No worries, VR can transport you there in a matter of seconds, without having to fly for hours.
But what if you don’t want to try out clothes inside the store? Augmented reality can be used as a retail technology as well. It can show you how clothes are going to fit you.
If used right, virtual and augmented reality can even show you how a product was made, even though you are in a brick and mortar store and not in a factory. It will give you more information about a common product, like cheese. This is the best thing about technology: it lets you be creative and as long as you can think about it, you can do it.
Yes, robots are stepping inside stores and helping out both customers and employees. While some people are reluctant when it comes to robots because they believe that they are stealing away jobs, robots are here to help.
Robots have been used by factories for many years, and recently they have started to be used in other industries as well. There are a few types of retail robots that deserve to be mentioned:
A. Stock monitoring robot
This is one of the most common robots used in brick and mortar shops. This robot is able to spot the shelves that are missing products. A tally shows which shelves need to be filled and which products don’t have the correct pricing.
B. In-store marketing robots
Tokinomo is an in-store marketing solution that can help retailers and FMCG brands promote products and increase sales. Because of its light, motion, and audio technologies, Tokinomo can make products talk and move for a better customer experience. Also, the robot offers data in real-time which helps brand managers or retail marketers know how the campaign is performing.
C. Customer service robots
Robots can also help customers find the products they need, show them different aisles, and guide them inside the store.
This is another type of innovation that more retailers should adopt. When implemented correctly, customers don’t need to spend a second taking the products out of the cart, placing them at the cash register, paying, or putting the products in the bag.
How does it work?
Customers take products off the shelves, place them in a bag, and they just leave the shop. Yes, without paying. Don’t worry, the retailer gets the money because when the customer gets out, all of the products are automatically scanned and the shopper receives a receipt which is paid directly online. Easy and time-efficient for both the retailer and the customer. To make sure that the customer actually pays, they need a credit card to enter the store.
eCommerce platforms have Google Analytics that shows them exactly what their customers are looking for, the pages they’ve visited, and what they’ve purchased.
Brick and mortar shops in-store analytics is still in the early stages of implementation. In a few years, in-store analytics will become a must-have for all retailers. However, even nowadays, when implementing an in-store marketing campaign, retailers can have access to data in real-time if they use a robotic POS display like Tokinomo.
Want to buy a bag of flour and chips, but you don’t know where the nearest store is? You have no idea where the frozen section even is? Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home can also be used to help people shop for products both online and inside a brick and mortar shop.
Some retailers went a step ahead of the competition and included Skills inside Alexa and Google Home so people can place orders directly.
Technology can be seen as a helper for both employees and shoppers when it comes to retail. These are some of the benefits of adopting retail technology.
You can increase efficiency and productivity. For instance, with the help of robots, employees have more time to focus on helping customers instead of refill stock on shelves.
You can increase sales and boost revenue. These technologies will help you offer customers an amazing experience which ultimately leads to increased sales and bigger revenue. They may also reduce operating costs.
You can stay on top of the competition. The competition is fierce for retailers. By adopting these retail technologies you will be able to offer customers what they are looking for.
The retail industry, brick and mortar stores especially, should focus on innovating in order to offer as much as eCommerce platforms already do. By adopting these technologies, retailers will be able to improve processes and focus on offering better services.
Find out how robots can help retailers increase sales and create a better customer experience.