Like other industries, retailers are finding new ways to use technology to gain competitive advantage, particularly in the area of gaining insight to better target customers and improve the shopping experience. For this “Week in Links,” we’ll take a look at some of the latest in this retail IT News:
That online retailers monitor customers’ actions to better customize their offerings isn’t new, but traditional stores are starting to find more ways to use technology — such as store apps and Wi-Fi use — to track shopping activity and collect data at more commercial touchpoints. “If you know from a users’ in-app shopping list that they are buying red wine, not only can you influence them as they stand at the wine section, but perhaps you can also influence them if you are a related product,” Patrick Connolly, a senior analyst at ABI Research, tells Mashable.
What if you could go into a store, select your items, and leave — your identity verified by your smartphone or other device, and your goods having been paid for by your stored preferred payment information — without any employee interaction? That vision isn’t too far from reality, a recent Atlantic article explains, and it will have an effect on things like retail employment and customer privacy.
One of the country’s oldest and biggest traditional retailers, Macy’s, is embracing location-based retail technology: The 156-year-old mega chain is adding 4,000 iBeacon devices to its 786 stores across the country in its bid to attract more millennial shoppers, the Washington Post reports. Thanks to overall drops in department store spending, millennials have become crucial to the retailer’s plans for boosting business.
Retail technologies that help personalize the in-store shopping experience for customers — like iBeacon — promise big benefits for businesses, but is it the case for all businesses, or just the megastores? A recent WIRED survey of independent retailers showed that these advanced retail technologies aren’t universally a big priority: With smaller budgets, small and medium retailers are more focused on investing on things that have an immediate financial impact.
The big shift in retail has a lot to do with the customer experience and making it more personal. This shift is being pushed forward thanks to various technologies, but the four biggest trends in retail, according to The Guardian, are data science, the Internet of Things, the back office and personal production. Each provides significant opportunity for retailers to engage customers in new ways.
For retailers looking to improve their customers’ shopping experiences, learn more about our cloud, network and IT solutions that can keep you a step ahead now and in future. Visit our retail IT page and/or talk to an account representative about your organization’s needs today.