How retail tech will (further) revolutionise shopping

Digital transformation has evolved workspaces of all kinds, and perhaps nowhere has the change been as dramatic as in the retail environment. Technology has enabled the creation of alluring, colourful and dynamic shopping spaces which not only draw customers in and fulfil their need for information and inspiration, but craft experiential opportunities which elevate the simple act of buying something to a multi-sensory event, maximising both buyer satisfaction and spend.

So what are the key technologies that we see revolutionising the world of retail for the foreseeable future? We’ve chosen five of the most useful and impactful types of tech that we predict will be used in increasingly innovative ways on our high streets and in shopping centres, delivering an optimal retail experience:

Large-format digital displays

Okay, so perhaps you might not think big digital displays are all that groundbreaking in terms of their tech – they are quite a familiar sight after all – but it’s the way they’re used that makes them innovative and a great way to both drive footfall and inspire additional purchases. External facing video walls offer incredible flexibility for eye-catching campaigns with the wow-factor of impressive scale, while in-store screens at strategic points can be used for a wide range of purposes from menus and dynamic imagery, to livestream TV or brand content.

Holographic technology

Harnessing a similar impact to that made by digital screens, but taking it up a notch, 3D holographic displays are really starting to make their mark in the retail sector. Both 2D and 3D content can be played in immaculate detail, and interactive capabilities mean that content can be rendered in real time and respond to the audience for even better engagement. It’s said that a holographic message is twice as likely to be seen by shoppers, and boasts a 40% longer viewing time than 2D adverts.*

Sensor-driven experiences

Sensor technology is really transforming both the shopping experience and the analytics behind retailer decision-making. The latest people detection sensors can not just identify presence and distance, but even the demographic of the people in front of the digital signage, enabling targeted content to be shown for maximum interest and impact. In terms of useful analytics, the standard footfall and pickup data can also be joined by details about engagement, which can be used to optimise merchandising and media campaigns.

Lift and learn

Tapping into the trend for customers to prefer a self-led process of product discovery, lift and learn technology is the perfect way to provide an in-person shopping experience to rival online information gathering. Various types of sensor can be used to trigger various types of response – proximity, light pick-up, tilt and temperature sensors, as well as those which track gestures or demographic, can be used to initiate a range of actions, from the playing of specific, dedicated content, to changes in lighting or sound, mechanical movements, and even scent release. This provides an impressively seamless and immersive experience for shoppers.

Touchscreen online ordering in-store

Retailers can now avoid lost sales through a lack of stock, and provide access to a broader offering, by providing opportunities for motivated shoppers to order online in-store, for delivery to their home – the ultimate in choice and convenience. Touchscreen online ordering is also a very effective option for complex purchases where there are a variety of personalisation options, and there’s the added benefit of supporting this process with in-person staff, unlike with remote online ordering options.

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