Retail + Technology = Convenience, Personalization, Innovation

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You’ve heard about Seattle’s Amazon Go store —this easy-in, easy-out concept creates seamless customer experiences through the ultimate combination of physical store + technology. And it’s a prime example of technology impacting retail.

Inspired by XRC Labs Founder and Managing Director Pano Anthos’ presentation at the 2018 ICSC OAC Summit earlier this year, I’ve been fascinated by the integration and ever-evolving intersection of retail and technology. In ways that are obvious and some that are not, technology is impacting retail in a major way – with a focus of that impact on convenience, personalization and innovation.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

“…[C]onvenience has become a major factor in our buying decisions,” confirms a recent IBM blog and as evidenced by Amazon Go.  IoT (“Internet of Things”) platforms can facilitate a more convenient than ever shopping experience – an “omni-channel experience” (retail’s current buzzword).

A Forbes article from earlier this year claims that Amazon Go is “symbolic of the fluid nature of today’s retail environment, one where online, mobile and physical environments roll together to create an omni-channel experience for shoppers.” This idea has the power to go way beyond just Amazon Go. When embraced, it can bleed into service industries as well as noted below:

One particularly cool retail-oriented technology is Hemster which delivers on-demand tailoring using their innovative RulerSticker™, an easy-to-use tool to help set the parameters of your desired alteration. Hemster offers convenient mall stations and in-home alterations with online payment and saves all fit measurements in a database for easy repeat orders—creating a solid omni-channel experience.

Let’s Get Personal

The IoT also enables retailers to make shopping more personal. “Coupled with data from online transactions, digital sensors and devices will make our buying experience far more engaging and personalized,” claims IBM.

Forbes agrees – retailers are working to connect the digital with the physical store experiences. One modern concept is getting both trends right:

Strypes gives customers the power of design by enabling them “to add custom touches to existing consumer goods through [its] e-commerce platform or interactive in-store experiences with retail partners,” says XRC Labs. Strypes offers digital personalization and integrates the digital and physical experiences.

On-the-Spot Innovation

We can’t discuss retail + technology without discussing 3D printing and its potential to significantly alter the way we produce products.

IBM claims, “3D printers will enable stores to create products on demand, which will bring numerous new and small businesses to the market. In addition, many products could be printed locally, reducing transportation, warehousing and logistical costs.” One groundbreaking London store is taking the 3D printing lead:

Bottletop, “the world’s first 3D printed store created by robots using up-cycled plastic,” debuted a space that “…boasts a futuristic, immersive environment that reflects [its] commitment to sustainability, collaboration and technical innovation,” reports Chain Store Age.

What Does the Future Hold?

Whether it’s Hemster’s convenience, Strypes’ personalization or Bottletop’s innovation, technology will continue to impact the retail industry in significant and, most likely, unpredictable ways. More than ever, all participants in the retail economy must be nimble and observant to remain solvent and successful in the modern retail + technology climate.