Harnessing Technology to Support a Seamless Shopping Experience
ID (RFID) chips: To create a shopping experience that's entertaining, helpful and data driven, some retailers are sewing radio frequency ID (RFID) chips into merchandise. As a result, when a shopper tries on footwear or clothing, the mirror displays additional information on the product, as well as related accessories and promotions. This interactive feature is intended to better engage the consumer and drive higher rates of conversion.
Smartphones: Retailers are now using smartphones to allow consumers to open accounts, earn points and interact seamlessly in obtaining information and making purchases. These tools deliver convenience and enhance customer loyalty, while improving a retailer's ability to gather consumer data. Some retailers and consumer goods companies are also using smartphones to offer additional information about their products. For instance, manufacturers are implementing technologies that provide details on the origin and freshness of food products. Smart packaging is evolving to more sophisticated interactive capabilities that help shoppers find products as they pass in-store sensors.
Social media: As consumers of all ages and demographics embrace social media and the channel becomes embedded in our digital interactions, evolving use patterns will shape the ways that shoppers find, purchase and rate products. Social shoppers not only swap product likes and deals with online friends, but they've also begun to seek the advice of digital influencers. As these influencers reach more potential shoppers, retail and consumer goods companies have launched initiatives to connect with them and provide products for evaluation.
Sensors and wearables: New technologies that combine sensor-enabled products and smartphones could create new business models for some consumer products companies. The recent popularity of sensor-based fitness devices is just one example of the potential. Other wearable technologies include medical sensors that remind users to take medications. As consumer and medical devices converge with mobile apps, the ways that individuals shop will very likely be transformed. Some retailers are also exploring the use of sensors to improve operating efficiencies. Applications include ensuring shelves are well stocked, confirming that store displays are ideally arranged, and identifying how consumers respond to promotions on a real-time basis.