Customers want more than ever from their shopping experiences, whether they are buying online or from a brick and mortar store.
From augmented reality to smarter ways to pay, here are just some of the ways brands are improving the in-store experience through digital technology in retail.
No-queue shopping with Amazon Fresh
Not content with online shopping, Amazon has revolutionised physical shopping with its Amazon Fresh stores (known as Amazon Go outside of the UK).
These stores use sensors and artificial intelligence to determine what people have picked up to purchase. Shoppers can then leave the store without paying for their goods, with the money automatically debited from their Amazon account.
Amazon Fresh currently has six stores in the UK, with plans to open over 260 stores countrywide over the next three years.
Virtual modelling with Zara
One of the major advantages of digital technology in retail is that it can be used to create a personalised customer shopping experience.
Fashion retailer Zara experimented with augmented reality (AR) for a campaign in 2018, placing AR displays in its shop windows for two weeks. Rather than use mannequins to display the brand’s clothing, shoppers could use their phones to view real-life models wearing the latest fashions.
Customers could then buy any clothes they liked online or in-store.
Smart dressing rooms with Adidas
Many retailers now use smart dressing rooms, with Tommy Hilfiger, Macy’s, and Adidas taking advantage of this new digital technology.
Adidas offers a smart dressing room in its Oxford Street flagship store. Shoppers can use the technology to find more information on products they like, as well as request additional sizes and colour variations without leaving the space. They can even see how the clothes they have selected will look outside in the real world.
Automated robots in ASDA
While it may seem futuristic, robots can now be found carrying out tasks in stores worldwide. Robots can be used to carry out repetitive tasks, from restocking shelves to cleaning up spillages.
In 2020, ASDA trialled floor-cleaning robots in some of its stores, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These robots used artificial intelligence to go around the store, identifying when something or someone was blocking their path.
While the trial of these cleaning robots has now ended, ASDA is still using robots in its day-to-day processes, for example, in its distribution centre to sort through parcels.
Interactive hangers in Japan
And finally… something a little bit different! This digital technology is standard in stores in Japan but is not something we have seen in the UK just yet.
These hangers contain a small sensor. When the hanger is lifted, shoppers can see videos of models wearing that particular of clothing, as well as other clothes that complement the piece in question. The sensors can even be used to change the music and lighting to fit the mood!