The Future of Retail: Technology Enabled Storefronts

Retail stores have constantly been evolving the in-store customer experience through technology. Electricity helped keeps stores open at night and in the early morning. Cash registers allowed store owners to become more efficient in exchanging cash for goods. Inventory Management software made it easier to keep track of store inventory. Advancements in technology are always being tested by retailers to see if there is a use which can be leveraged in the retail store. In this, the future of Retail is similar to its past, the future of retail is what we call the Technology-Enabled Storefront. It’s the blend of the retail experience with specific technologies which together create a better overall in-store experience for customers.

New Technologies Being Used In Retail Stores

As in the past, Retailers are looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition. In order to do so, they are always looking for new technologies to leverage in their store. No longer are other brick-and-mortar stores competing only with each other, but they are also competing with online shopping. This means that Retailers need to figure out a way to upgrade their in-store experience via technology that will allow consumers to have as good, or preferably a better, purchase experience. Another reason why Retailers are looking to integrate certain technologies in their stores is to capture some of the consumer data that is being transacted all of the time when a consumer purchases something online, but is increasingly difficult to obtain when that same purchase is made in-store. Because of this, store owners are leveraging technologies built to provide an engaging experience to the consumer while in-store, but also built to provide the business owner with powerful analytics about that consumer and his/her buying habits. This new data can empower store owners to provide an even better experience for customers in the future if it’s used properly.

What Does the Future of Retail Store Look Like?

The future of the Retail store is one filled with interactive digital technologies that allow consumers to get access to specific digital content, as well as, interact in a digital way with that content in order to get more fully engaged with the brand. Here’s where I see the future of the Retail store heading in the next few years:

  • You walk in greeted by a digital concierge displayed through an iPad Kiosk. If you want, this concierge will point you in the right direction for the merchandise you seek, as well as, remind you about on-going Specials and Contests
  • As you move through the store you’ll see larger kiosks with 30+inch screen TVs attached to the top of them. The iPads will control the content that gets put up on screen. Content will be displayed. Everything from in-store videos, to ads, and even ads for other businesses who sell complimentary products & services.
  • When you’re ready to check out you will either do so on your phone all by yourself OR store employees will check you out with a fully functional iPad enabled with a high performing point-of-sale system running
  • If you choose, as you leave the store you will receive coupons right to your phone via NFC as an incentive to come back again soon

This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to how we see technology impacting the retail experience. If store owners do it right, they can increase value for their customers, while at the same time increasing revenue for their business.