The Future of Retail Technology

The use of digital technology in shop stores has increased rapidly over the last few years.

Deliberately excluding mobile here, but here are a few examples of how retailers are using interactive mirrors, video, and touchscreens to enhance the in-store experience for shoppers.

Burberry's flagship London store aims to bring some of the web experience to the high street, featuring mirrors that double as video screens and staff armed with iPads. Other areas include the use of radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), which triggers catwalk related footage when some products are taken into a fitting room, or near a video screen.

Nordstrom now uses mobile POS devices in its stores to enable staff to check out customers anywhere in its stores, and cut the queues down…how great is that?!?!

The New Balance iPad app is designed to help customers and sales assistants in-store, allowing them to access the product catalog, check stock, and help with sizing issues. This store in London also uses motion-sensitive mirrors which display footage of local runners wearing products from the store as customers walk past them.  It also uses interactive touchscreens to allow customers to access further information about products, and order online.

Audi's digital dealership, Audi City, contains no cars, only huge screens on which customers can view and choose their preferred features. These new digital showrooms are designed to fit into an area the size of a regular shop and are designed for city centers where traditional dealerships aren't possible. 

Tesco has trialed touchscreen kiosks in several stores. These allow for stock checking and ordering. They have also used interactive mirrors which allow users to try clothes on 'virtually' using a gesture-based interface.

House of Fraser has also launched a series of .com stores to support its Buy and Collect service. These stores use touch screens and kiosks to allow customers to order for a store or home delivery. These stores allow House of Fraser to provide access to its whole product range without the need for the shop floor space of its usual stores.

These technology features are not only to enable more services available in store, such as selecting delivery options (almost like you would online) but also to provide a more immersive shopping experience for the customer. Allowing customers to enter a store, get a feel for a product, and then leave making a purchase quite quickly like they would on an online store. 

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