How Tech is Transforming the Shopping Experience and Businesses
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Shopping is something that most people do several times a week. For example, according toStatistica, on average, Americans go to the grocery store 1.6 times per week and visit other types of stores several times per month.
So, when the shopping experience changes it has a huge impact, which is why the past few years have been so interesting. Retailers and other types of businesses are adopting new technology at a phenomenal rate. Recent research carried out by Accenture shows that to be the case (read about it here). The result of which is that consumers are seeing their shopping experience change radically. Here are just a few examples.
Digital screens and tailored advertising
Gone are the days when in-store advertising was changed once a month. Retail outlets are switching from relying on static, paper, or plastic-based advertising and promo materials. They are now increasingly using digital display screens instead.
There is no longer any need for stores, dental clinics, salons, bars, and cafes to use generic advertising. With the help of easy-to-edit templates, any business can quickly put together a promo that they know will appeal at a local level. This granular, knowledge-led approach to advertising is incredibly effective. So, it is not surprising that those businesses that have digital screens are using them extensively. For example, as of August 2021, 5,000 businesses have already usedMandoe’s digital sign software to create over a million digital signs. A significant percentage of which were adverts. There is no doubt that more businesses will see the value of digital signage and start using it within the next few years.
Combining the online and offline shopping experiences
Most consumers now shop online as well as offline. Even if they buy in-store they frequently research what is available online first. Some retailers see the way shoppers merge the two shopping experiences. This is a particularly good approach for those firms that sell the kind of products that people like to see, touch, feel, and test before buying. How these firms are providing consumers with the best of each world varies considerably. So, if you would like to learn more and read about several examplesclick here.
Innovative checkout technology
One of the most radical areas of change is how customers pay for their purchases. Stores are increasingly making the payment process as slick and fast as possible. Again, how they do that is changing. Here are just a few examples:
Roving shop floor checkout staff
In the UK, M&S provides customers with the chance to pay for small purchases without having to use any kind of checkout terminal. At busy times, members of staff are sent to the pay points to scan purchases using a handheld scanner and Wi-Fi-enabled card payment machine. It is an extremely easy solution to deploy. In many cases, stores will already own the necessary equipment to be able to set this solution up themselves.
For most retailers, the goal is to automate the checkout process. Something that is now possible, although it is likely to take some time before the wrinkles are ironed out for the technology to become more widespread. But there are alreadyseven chains using automated checkout systems in the USA. Most have found that it works and are planning to install the technology in more of their stores.
Much of this tech requires a super-fast and stable online connection to work. So, it is not surprising that we have seen huge improvements in router technology. The fact that so many devices need to be connected and exchange data means that many retail outlets have their own internal networks. Most are now using branch and edge routers which can run on multiple layers to build resilience into the network and keep all that payment and comms data moving fast enough for customers to be served quickly.
This new generation of routers is also far more secure than previous models were. In most countries, firms are now required by law to keep their consumer data secure, so network security is becoming an increasingly important consideration.
Even more interesting times are ahead
There is little doubt that CoVid has sped up the rate of tech adoption. It forced firms to innovate and created an environment where there was virtually no resistance to these changes from consumers. Now that there is momentum and an appetite for new technology from customers, most firms will roll out even more technology. Most will do it as fast as possible because doing so will lead to more efficient ways of working, which automatically generates higher profits.