Technology continues to play an important role in our choices as consumers. Retailers are embracing the ever-changing and growing world of technology and developing new products. New technology in retail allows consumers to have an easy and personalized shopping experience. They help businesses to better track purchases and payments as well. Below we describe some of the new technology that’s revolutionizing the retail experience.
Many businesses are lagging behind regarding simple e-commerce changes. Consider Whole Foods. Before being acquired by Amazon in 2017, their sales were flat and they had little online presence. Amazon boosted its online sales through Whole Foods’ website and through Amazon.com. They have also use their technology to create a better shopping experience. Benefits include discounts for Amazon Prime members and grocery delivery. Embracing changes to its e-commerce plan has made Whole Foods a more successful company.
More advanced e-commerce technology, like chatbots and new forms of payment, are helping streamline the customer’s online experience. Chatbots have virtually replaced the need for customer service centers, saving retailers billions of dollars. They can ask general questions, file a complaint, find an item online, and even make a purchase. This new technology is saving companies money and increases customer satisfaction.
Mobile Pay & Bitcoin
Nowadays, especially when shopping online, you don’t always need cash or a card to pay for things. We can pay with our phones utilizing Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay, and even make purchases via social media. See something you like on Instagram? Simply tap and buy. Have you noticed that you can buy now and pay later with a lot of your favorite retailers? Breaking payments up into smaller installments makes items more accessible to consumers. Of course, we’ve seen that digital currencies have a mass appeal internationally. Bitcoin, for example, is viewed by some as a safer and instant way to pay and transfer money. With more and more retailers accepting digital currency, it creates more trust for this new way to pay.
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that places virtual objects into real-world settings. New innovation has made AR more accessible to the general population. Companies like Apple and Google are creating the experience right on your phone. Many retailers have developed their own proprietary technology to utilize AR for marketing and customer experience. Brands like Warby Parker are using Apple’s ARKit and their own app to allow customers to shop for eyeglasses and try them on virtually. Similar to Warby Parker, IKEA and Wayfair are leveraging its app to offer customers a chance to place furniture inside their home that they haven’t purchased yet.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another form of technology that is helping in-store and e-commerce retailers. It’s often used by companies that can afford to create their own technology, such as robots. Amazon has made large strides in this area with its various new delivery options they have been testing. Many people are familiar with the idea of drone deliveries from Amazon, so much so, it became a Twitter phenomenon after the idea was announced by Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos in 2013. Although we still don’t see drones dropping at our neighbor’s houses every day. Amazon has been more seriously testing a robot delivery with its new Amazon Scout product. Trials with Scout are ongoing in city neighborhoods, offices, and college campuses around the world.
Similar to Amazon, Lowes has employed AI technology to create its Lowebot. Lowebot is an in-store robot to help customers navigate the store and find their desired items to purchase. The robot also helps the company and employees manage inventory and locations of products in store.
Technology is always changing and therefore, provides retailers and consumers with exciting things to look forward to. Technology can help businesses with marketing, streamlining payments and deliveries, and allow for better customer satisfaction and experience. Retailers that embrace these changes and use their team and own technology to create new processes for their brand and customers, will continue to grow and thrive.