Nowadays, we can purchase anything using just the tap of our cards or even just our fingerprints. There’s no question that the transformation of the retail industry is well underway. Keep reading this article to find out what the future of retail looks like & how this affects us.
Augmented reality (AR) technology grants us a way to create a blend between the real and digital world and apps that enhance the customers shopping experience are now widely available.
For example, Ikea’s AR catalogue allows customers to visualise how furniture will look in their homes before purchasing. The app makes redecorating easier by allowing the placement of 3D, true to size furniture around the home. Another widely used concept used by numerous retailers is that of the AR mirror. One app, presented by glasses manufacturer Warby Parker, takes a map of the users face and uses the technology to recommend frames and allow user to virtually try them on. Similarly, the ModiFace app lets customers test out different makeup shades and products before buying.
In order to remain current and retain customers, we are seeing augmented reality crossing over into physical stores. Many retailers, such as Topshop & Uniqlo, offer the Kinetic fitting room; an AR mirror in which the customers can see the clothes superimposed onto themselves by simply standing in front of the mirror.
Biometric authorisation is the technology in which payment is made using our genetic code, be it fingertips, face, or eyes. This form of payment is becoming increasingly popular and one recent development in this field is finger vein identification. A Costcutter store in Uxbridge became the first supermarket in the world to present this technology to its customers. This technology scans the customers unique vein pattern under the skin of the finger which then links to their bank account. This method is thought to be one of the most secure techniques of biometric payments as each person’s vein map is unique and incredibly complex, meaning that the chances of accurately replicating a vein pattern are infinitely small.
Similar technology is also due to be rolled out amongst the online retail world. The online retail industry saw shopping cart abandonment at 75% last year, resulting in an estimated sales loss of more than £18 billion. Mastercard announced that in April 2019, the option of choosing biometric authorisation during online transactions should be made available to all Mastercard users. Biometric verification has shown to decrease the check-out time by roughly 70% and so we can expect to see the number of cart abandonments significantly decrease and sales numbers surge.
We’re all familiar with contactless debit cards and the convenience that has been implemented into our shopping experience. Subsequently, this technology is now being introduced into several aspects of the retail industry. Costa Coffee & Barclay’s have introduced an innovative way to pay with a reusable coffee cup that has a contactless chip installed into the bottom. The necessity of a debit card vanishes as payment is made easy with just a tap of the cup. The cup is usable at more than just Costa and can be used at any and all contactless terminals.
The same technology has also woven its way into the fashion industry with K Ring, the world’s first contactless ring. Consumers can complete transactions with a product that doesn’t need to pair with a mobile so can be used even if the user’s phone is dead. Common issues that have previously caused major disruptions to everyday life, such as a missing wallet or forgotten phone, are problems of the past when payment can be made with a ring.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of our lives with the likes of virtual assistants such as Alexa & Google Home. Roughly 27 million voice devices have been sold in the US alone and findings from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners show that 29% of people with access to a smart speaker shop using voice command. With access to a user’s shopping history, the speaker can ask if certain product should be reordered and recommend products based on previous purchases. This creates a highly personalised experience for the consumer and will likely build both loyalty and brand awareness.
What does it all mean?
Smart technology is altering the retail industry, both online and in store, at a remarkable rate. HTEC believes in embracing the future and we work to develop & provide the upmost advanced solutions so that our customers can continue to grow and thrive within this new age of retail.