Store-based retailers need to innovate in order to reach the more tech savvy consumer. RetailNet Group analysts forecast US e-commerce sales to grow 25.18% faster than store-based retail sales from 2011 to 2015. Smartphone ownership among American adults is expected to grow from 25% to 59% in the same period.
Retailers spend piles of money developing their own apps, but the apps simply do not offer consumers enough functionality. According to Retrevo, 43% of mobile shoppers have downloaded a retailer specific app, however, only 14% of those shoppers have used the app to make a purchase. That means 86% of people who downloaded the app never use it!
Today, the iPhone, Android, and other web-enabled phones allow consumers to enter physical stores, interact with items, then compare the in-store prices with prices on sites like Amazon.com. If a customer, standing in a Best Buy store for example, finds a cheaper price on Amazon, they are only a single click away from having the cheaper option delivered right to their home.
The bottom line is that retail in 2015 will be a very different experience. Let’s take a look into the future of the store-based shopping experience.
- Contactless Payment via Google Wallet
- Virtual Fitting Rooms in Shopping Mall Lobbies
- Motion Gesture Window Shopping
- Tracking the Shopper’s Path through the Mall
1. Contactless Payment via Google Wallet
For the retailer, it is all about bringing convenience to the consumer. With the recent release of the Google Wallet payment solution, shoppers no longer need to carry their cumbersome wallets with them. Shoppers simply enter their credit card, loyalty card, and coupon information into the Google Wallet. When they are ready to check out, they simply need to tap their phone to the NFC reader, and go!
2. Virtual Fitting Rooms in Shopping Mall Lobbies
Kiosks in the King of Prussia Mall, and the North Port Mall in Philadelphia present shoppers with a full body scanner similar to the ones used by TSA agents in airports. The scanner, branded Me-Ality, was launched by General Growth Properties. It takes over 200,000 measurements of the shopper’s body, and 10 seconds later it prints out a list of the retailers carrying the size and style that fits them best.
As an added incentive, the company is offering people who by an item off the recommended list a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Me-Ality is solution behind the idea that every person has a unique body shape, and that not every clothing manufacturers’ sizes are the same.
3. Motion Gesture Window Shopping
Fraunhofer, the company behind the new system, is attempting to change the way people window shop at department stores after hours. Stores close, but urge to shop never stops. The new system allows shoppers to learn more about the items on display, no matter what time of the day they pass by. By using common hand gestures curious window shoppers can browse through the items on display, and even select different colors and styles.
4. Tracking the Shopper’s Path through the Mall
An Australian Mall in Queensland will obtain fit receivers to track shopper locations through mobile phone frequency codes. The operation will monitor customers’ mobile phones to track how often they visit, which stores they like and how long they stay. The receivers, provided by Path Intelligence, will be able to track shoppers within a two meter radius of their actual location in all areas of the mall.
Kerry Baddeley, Path Intelligence’s national sales manager, stressed that no mobile phone user names or numbers could be accessed through the new technology. “All we do is log the movement of a phone around an area and aggregate this to provide trend data for our business,” she said.
Data provided by systems like this one could help retailers and brands understand the point during the mall visit that shoppers spend the most money. Of course the biggest obstacle in initiative like this one lies in privacy invasion.
Store based retail in 2015 will undoubtedly be a very different experience.