2013 has seen new developments in technology, including virtual reality applications for changing rooms both in-store and online, as well as the development of technologies such as click and collect, mobile PoS, RFID and QR codes and clever visual merchandising, all of which have become embedded into many retailers’ every day operations.
Smart retailers will continue to invest in services that better connect the online and in-store journey, while delivering richer product information and ultimately personalisation.
Electronic labelling has become more widely adopted, in particular by high end fashion retailers such as Burberry, which is using RFID tags to personalise clothing. Customers can access a wealth of rich product data from RFID tags embedded into garments in-store with their mobile devices, when logged into Burberry.com, revealing the story of its creation by way of videos and product info.
Although, the real star of the show in 2013 is customer facing mobile PoS, with retailers such as Warehouse, Coast, Oasis and Reiss using the technology in multiple ways, from product information and stock availability, to wall mounted visual displays. Most importantly has been connection to the online channel, enabling customers to place an order then and there, whether a desired product is in stock or not – delivering the ultimate customer convenience and completion of a sale.
Other convenience based services that have become widely adopted this year include click and collect, which consumers have come to expect as a given delivery option. With contactless payments beginning to pick up momentum – delivering ease and speed when making payments under £20 – which are perfect for fast food environments. These and other convenience driven services will continue to grow in popularity in 2014.
However, the focus is still very much on multi and omni-channel, the facilitator for which is cloud based technologies that support a holistic view of stock – single product availability across channels – using services such as online connection in store via an iPad or click and collect. In short, one offering across all channels.