Technology has increasingly become more important in our lives the past years. It did not only have an enormous impact on our social life. It has also changed the way we go to work, the way we cook and the way we shop. Technology can also greatly simplify the tasks we do and can improve our productivity. It is then no wonder that many traditional retailers are looking for the best must-have retail technologies to further improve and revolutionize the industry like innovative retailers Amazon and Alibaba have already done.
One way to enhance the shopping experience for the customer is via the means of mobile technologies or apps. They can facilitate shopping or can aid your staff in keeping up with changing demands. Other technologies might help you collect data so you can personalize promotions or discounts. Technology and applications can help you improve your business and are definitely omnipresent in retail of the future, or in the words of Márcio Cyrillo, Executive Director at CI&T:
Our lives will be facilitated by a myriad of adaptive applications running on different devices, with different sensors, all of them collecting tidbits about everything we do, and feeding big digital brains that can adapt applications to our needs simply because they get to know us. (Source: VentureBeat)
In short, technology will help you, as a retailer, adapt and improve quickly. To make this journey towards improvement easier, we’ve rounded up a list of must-have retail technologies that are indispensable for every business.
iBeacons or beacons are devices that are installed in your store: on walls, ceilings or counters. How do they work? The iBeacon sends out a signal to all devices that can receive Bluetooth, i.e. your customers’ smartphones and tablets. Your customers need to have downloaded your application, otherwise the iBeacon cannot interact with their smartphones.
For example, your customer is walking up and down the aisle and can’t decide between several brands of crisps. Their phone buzzes: a notification. ‘Buy one, get one for free’ on Lay’s products. This is a brand new way how technology can interact with your customer. By knowing your customer’s exact location, you can prompt them to buy a product by offering a recommendation or discount. And, you are able to offer a dynamic shopping experience by using technology in store.
Increasingly more people are using their smartphone to pay for their purchases in store. However, not many retailers are able to support all types of mobile payment. In order to satisfy your customers, it is key that you offer several kinds of mobile payments. There is one big name out there that does it better than everyone else and that is Starbucks. We do have to mention that is not necessary for you to develop your own payment system like Starbucks has done. We quote them as an excellent example of how to respond to your customers’ demands.
Starbucks started to offer mobile payment options since 2011 and continues to be the biggest player on the market. In addition, by downloading and using the payment app, customers can also get rewards in the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program. Another company that has developed its own payment system and that is currently number two in the rankings of mobile payments, is Chipotle.
Other major players on the market of mobile payments are PayPal, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. Definetly worth looking into if you want to facilitate the payment process in your retail store for every customer.
In order to keep your retail business organized and efficient, it is of essence that you closely keep track of all your products. There are several sorts of inventory systems available to retailers but there are some differences among them. Essential before choosing any type of inventory system is researching what your needs are. What is your budget and how up-to-date do you want your inventory system to be?
It doesn’t matter if you choose Shopventory, Zoho, DEAR Inventory, Multiorders or EZ OfficeInventory. Bottom line is that you pick a solution that can interface with multiple sales channels such as your brick-and-mortar stores, your pop-up stores, your website and your online application. Hint: take a look on Capterra, in the section ‘Inventory Management Software’ if you like to explore more options that can help you with your inventory.
Soundtrack Your Brand
Soundtrack Your Brand, founded in 2013, partnered up with Spotify in order to give retail stores full control over the music in their stores. This is not necessarily a brand new technology but playing music proves to be an important aspect of your retail store. It gives your customers a hint on what kind of brand they are interacting with and they get to know the people behind the brand better. Music is your retail stores’ voice says Jasmine Moradi, Soundtrack Your Brand’s resident in-store music researcher:
Your customers enter the store with expectations formed by ads and social media. You’ve got to create the same emotions using music. Ads, visuals, promotions, and music all have to work together. (Source: Soundtrack Business)
And, when the ambience of the music fits perfectly with your brand, customers are more likely to browse for a longer period of time and possibly buy more of your products than when the music doesn’t fit with your store. Music to your ears?
It is not only of utmost importance to retailers to introduce themselves to new customers. Retailers should also pay attention to keep existing customers engaged with their brand. The ideal way to do so is by creating a rewards or loyalty program with which you can give your customers something back.
If you’re interested in implementing a rewards program, but have no idea where to start, take a look at Perka or Smile.io. Customers simply have to download the app and can see their reward points go up as they shop at your retail store. Moreover, they can receive discounts, gift cards, coupons and more.
Technology is your perfect ally
Technology will help you offer smooth shopping experiences, personalized offers and the possibility to pay with smartphone. It will help you with unique reward programs. And, it will aid you with staying on top off the demand of your customers. Technology has vastly changed the retail landscape and it will continue to disrupt the retail industry.
Are you and your business ready to implement these must-have retail technologies? Are you ready to start transforming the industry? Share which technology you have already brought into use. Which technology or other app do you recommend to your colleagues in retail? Don’t forget to share your ideas!