Although more people are online shopping than ever before, there’s definitely still plenty of onus on an in-store shopping experience. Days out shopping in city centres, shopping malls and even shopping holidays prove that offline, in-store shopping is going nowhere. Although it’s not budging, it’s certainly evolving.
People love the experience of shopping in-store. Receiving good customer service, having the products at your fingertips and most of all, the ease of finding the products you like. But, as technology evolves, the introduction of it to the in-store experience will only enhance it for the shopper.
In this post, we’ve focused on the top four retail store innovation ideas that you may start to see in stores from 2019. These ideas will make shopping in-store better, more attractive and far easier.
- Augmented Reality
- Online and Offline Shopping History Track
- No Checkouts and No Queues - Pick Up and Go
- Virtual Reality Fitting Rooms
1. Augmented Reality
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality (AR) is the technological cousin of the revolutionary virtual reality (VR). Using your smartphone camera, it blends what you see physically in front of you with added information or content on your screen. It’s an interactive experience of a real-life scenario that envisages the product you’re looking to buy in your life.
How Can it be Used in Retail?
Whether it’s a pair of trainers from your favourite retailer, or an item of home decor you need for your new, cosy living room, augmented reality can be of great assistance. The technology can allow you to point your phone at your feet and envisage that you’re trying on a new pair of shoes that you’re looking to buy.
The stalwart of the footwear industry, Converse, introduced this into their stores back in 2010. They introduced “The Shoe Sampler” that allows shoppers to search for a pair of shoes before it superimposes them on their feet using their smartphone camera.
This allows the customer to see what shoes would look like “on” without the hassle of waiting for the assistant to go into the back for their correct size and saves time. Plus, even better still, you can do this in the comfort of your own home.
Augmented reality is definitely there to impress and bring a certain wow factor to different retailers’ brand. This will no doubt get people talking and share it via social media, which will create a buzz around the brand and improve their brand image.
2. Online and Offline Shopping History Track
A combination of both online and offline experiences is bound to improve the retail industry. Retailers have noted this and have started to implement this in their stores already. For example, terminals in their stores where customers can search online to see if the product is in stock and whereabouts it’s located in-store.
Before shopping, a lot of people tend to check out the online store to see if there’s anything in stock worth having a look at.
So, imagine if stores introduced a way where when you entered the store and approached an item you’d previously looked at online, the retailer sent you a push notification through an app or an email to your inbox. This would reduce forgetting that extra something to finish off your outfit, or persuading you to actually buy the item rather than giving it a miss.
3. No Checkouts, No Queues - Pick Up and Go
When self-checkouts were introduced into supermarkets and high-street stores, they were revolutionary. People love the idea of not having to queue for the checkouts and waste time. Instead, they could scan their items themselves and pay via machine. This technology is still apparent in stores today, but soon we could be seeing the next step up.
Some retail stores may flirt with the idea of having no checkouts but instead, a scanning app on your smartphone where you simply scan the items you’ve put into your basket. Then, rather than take them to the checkout and pay the sum, you simply walk out of the store and the app charges your bank account for the goods you’ve picked up.
This innovation was first introduced in 2016 where Amazon opened their own Amazon Go Store, but we haven’t seen it anywhere else on the high streets since. With convenience being key in all walks of life in the modern day, 2019 could finally be the year that we see more stores choosing to install this impressive technology.
If you’re thinking that shoplifters will have a field day in a store like this, then think again. This kind of store will detect when products leave the shelves and hidden cameras can even detect products that have been stuffed into pockets, up shirts and even down trousers. It’s not so easy after all.
4. Virtual Reality Fitting Rooms
Sometimes when we shop, we really like an item but we don’t have the time to queue up and wait for the fitting rooms to try it on. Introducing virtual reality fitting rooms would allow us to envisage us wearing the items we want to try on. Items like jeans can be tricky to get the right fit, so people often don’t buy them without trying.
Virtual reality would allow us to get an instant, accurate representation of how the item would look and fit, making the fitting room system a lot more efficient and miles quicker.
Not only this, it’ll allow us to set different conditions and settings to see how an outfit would fare in a specific type of weather or different setting maybe.
For example, Adidas is in the process of creating VR changing rooms. This will allow customers to expose themselves to different climates and stimulated weather to see if the garments they’ve chosen are appropriate. This is a brilliant tool to use and saves the time and risk of buying an item that turns out not being suitable and having to return it.
See How WiFi SPARK Can Help With Our Case Studies
The turn of the new year promises to spark exciting things for the retail industry. By connecting both your online and offline experience you’re bound to end up with happier customers and hopefully maximise profits.
Find out more about how you can understand consumer behaviour better and connect to your customers on different levels with WiFi SPARK. Download our case studies for free below.