Shops of the future: What is smart retail?
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Smart retail. What is it? Discover how this will change everything
What is smart retail? How will this change the future of retail?
Some people think that stores will disappear over time. We will buy everything online, and if we want to “take a look” at the products that we want to buy, we will do that while sitting on the couch at home, via virtual reality.
However, it’s quite difficult to imagine that the common habit of shopping will disappear. A lot of people enjoy going to a physical store and they also enjoy searching for the product, it’s an undeniable pleasure for them, even when they can easily buy anything from their computer.
However, the stores of the future will change, nowadays some of them have already changed for the better.
When we talk about “smart retail”, we are talking about the use of techniques and technologies used to make the customer experience more satisfying and more personalized.
The idea of smart retail is to close a sale, but also the idea is to get the customer to experience a customized experience so that the customer wants to return to the establishment in the future. In order to achieve this, concepts such as “customer journey” in the store, are quite relevant.
If we have a deep look into it, the customer journey is the route that the client takes which goes from observing the showcase of the store until the client leaves after purchasing a product.
What is that route? What are the specific moments that are part of it and create the customer experience? How can we improve each one of those moments and unite them in order to create a complete and personalized shopping experience, which will satisfy the client in order for the client to come back to the store? This is the kind of questions that are answered with smart retail.
But, how will the customer experience change in the future? Okay let’s say that…
The interaction with the customer will start a few meters away from the establishment. Given the proximity of the client, personalized messages will be sent to the customer’s phones and these will let them know about their product and the price or discounts.
Once the customer is in front of the store, the client will be quite impressed with the store window. Different screens and three-dimensional effects, designed to attract the attention of the clients, will appear before their eyes, this will prompt them to enter the establishment and this way they will start their own journey. In addition to this, these stores will be able to detect the gender or age of the passer-by, this way the stores will offer personalized advertising.
Once inside, we will see different things from what we find in a store nowadays. These will have become “exhibition halls” (like “museums”) in a way that the products will be there for us to observe, touch or test.
But wait, there’s more: the products on display will be part of an environment and a story, in which smells and sounds will be integrated with the customers in order for the clients to be part of it, by touching their emotions.
And what will we do if we actually want something? It will be as easy as ordering the purchase through our phones or screens which will be enabled for that purpose, and our products will then be sent automatically to our house.
But bear in mind that some products will also be available to us immediately if we wish, but it won’t be that common.
The customer service will also be quite different. Although some establishments will keep human employees, in others, they will be replaced by robots and screens equipped with artificial intelligence. Probably, this will also determine the opening hours and days, which in many cases will be extended, and it will reach 24 hours and 365 days a year.
The fitting rooms will also be very different. These will also be equipped with artificial intelligence, and these will know your tastes and your measurements, and will be able to advise you and recommend products that might be interesting for you.
Finally, the payment method will also be very different. The cashiers and the queues will disappear for good. The customers will pay for their purchases through their phones. In some cases, this will be done automatically, so that when the customers leave the establishment, they will get charged straight away.
But, in addition to more “standard” stores, other highly specialized establishments will offer personalised experiences for customers who are keen to live unique moments. Do you want to buy Star Wars products? How about doing that inside the Death Star while a big space battle is held outside? Do you want to buy products for diving? What if you could do that in the environment of an impressive seabed? The possibilities will be endless…
Now that you know what smart retail is and the changes that we will see in the stores of the future, you need to know that technology will be essential when developing these. And by technology, we mean monitoring. And when it comes to monitoring, the best thing is Pandora FMS.
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