In-Store Customer Experience Will Define the Future of Retail
Despite the phenomenal growth of online retail, it is still too early to write off the physical stores. Rather, the future of retail is about leveraging the combined power of online and in-store retail to deliver superior, differentiated customer experience and super-efficient operations.
However, the physical stores of the future will be drastically different from the traditional stores since in-store customer experiences will be driven by technology, just like online stores.
One great example is a leading retailer from Europe with whom, we started working with to streamline its IT operations and drive better operational efficiency. Today, the retailer is increasingly focused on improving the experience of its customers by providing a consistent experience both online and offline. We are currently working on concepts around back office transformation to enable a store of the future effectively.
Here are a few examples of the things to come:
Real-time Inventory Management
With the combination of scanning robots and video analytics, store managers will always have a real-time view into the inventory of products. Customer service robots or static AI enabled edge cameras scan the aisles and ensure that the right levels of inventory are captured. By ensuring data capture across the logistic supply chain, stores can streamline ordering, return, customer experiences and warehouse management.
Refreshing Stores with AR/VR
Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality tools can help store managers experiment with new store layouts and views to determine the optimum ways to display their products. AR/VR can also help visualize new arrangements for special occasions such as celebrations or marketing campaigns, pop up stores etc. AR can also help provide product intelligence/data either to store personnel to facilitate better customer service, or even directly to customers. Using AR from a customer experience perspective has not been tapped at all but is very promising.
Geo-location can help customers navigate the store effortlessly through a mobile app. When customers enter the store, they are prompted to scan something nearby. Then, based on insights from analyzing their past actions, customer can receive targeted promotions. There are also opportunities to upsell/cross sell. AR provides good opportunities to make navigation, product finding and promotion overlays easier.
In App Purchases
Stores can eliminate the need for customers to go to the cashier at the end of shopping by enabling Scan and Go applications or walkout like technologies – something that Amazon has already demonstrated through its new age stores.
Intelligent real-time video can help in effective store management by monitoring the movement of individual customers. It can also be a useful tool for crowd management. Video data combined with AR can be valuable in footfall management.