Technology may threaten some business, especially brick-and-mortar store, but it can help more than it hurts. So, to maximize the advantages companies can achieve, they should understand the following ways that technology is changing the way we shop.
AR (Augmented Reality)
Through the use of AR, companies can extend the shopping experience to smartphones and tablets held by shoppers. Although this creates a “wow” factor, practical reasons underlie the implementation of AR in the retail environment.
Simply put, it helps people to visualize and experience a product before they buy it. Companies should cautiously adopt AR to avoid creating a gimmicky atmosphere in their stores.
VR (Virtual Reality)
As the cost of VR equipment decreases, companies have new opportunities to provide shoppers with unique experiences. Already, home improvement stores can use VR to allow customers to learn how to use tools and products to build things as large as houses.
Of course, to make this type of strategy work, brands must carefully introduce VR to shoppers. Additionally, stores will have to find ways to synchronize real-world displays with their VR environments.
Brands in practically every sector want to use robots to reduce operating expenses while improving efficiency. Already, robots have been tested to perform tasks as diverse as burger-flipping and customer service.
As robots become more reliable and versatile, the technology will become more pervasive, giving shoppers the customized experiences and personalized attention that they crave.
3D printing has given businesses the ability to produce products on-demand to meet customer specifications. Also, major footwear brands have provided build-to-order functionality so that shoppers can always get what they want.
Similar options have emerged in the clothing and jewelry markets. Stores increasingly will feel pressured to let customers, rather than assembly lines, create the products they buy.
Once regarded as a bygone tactic, interactive screens are re-entering the retail environment, giving customers a chance to learn more about products before they buy.
The availability of high-resolution screens, reliable touchscreens and high-speed networks means that shoppers will have access to the information they need at the point of purchase.
In summary, technology is changing the way we shop. Companies and their brands must embrace these trends and use them to improve the customer experience as well as profitability.