The consumer shift towards e-commerce has left brick and mortar retailers scrambling to compete and catch up. The potential for a serious dip in profits provides a huge incentive for companies to change course.
Stores are quickly installing new technologies that offer premium customer experiences. Spending on new consumer-focused technologies is projected to reach $203.6 billion in 2019, a 3.6% jump from the prior year.
A footwear retailer that wanted to get in the game has rethought its in-store mobile experience, offering an app that lets users choose items to be delivered to a fitting room and check-out. The app also gives users personalized discounts.
In 2018, Amazon.com opened its first Amazon Go stores, which rely on cameras, computer vision technology, and smart shelf sensors to automatically charge users for their purchases as they leave the store.
A potential future retail trend includes designing facial recognition software that can match a customer’s face to a bank account, thus offering another means of cashierless check-out. However, this one may be a long ways off, on account of consumers’ clashing attitudes towards facial recognition software.
In China, a store called 7Fresh, is trying to optimize shopping experiences by experimenting with shopping carts that can automatically follow shoppers around. The carts are able to follow specific consumers, and avoid obstacles.
For more on the use of AI in retail settings, visit The Wall Street Journal.