The future of shopping is expected to transform the way people shop and boost sales due to 3 new technologies which have led to exciting innovations.
With the onset of these new technologies shoppers are in for a new buying experience that will make them smarter shoppers and make shopping fun. The retail technology has advanced to a level whereby holographic greeters, touch-screens and virtual shopping mirrors VM, have been innovated to catch the attention of consumers and increase sales for retailers. These will change the shopping experience for the better although some customers may find these innovations enticing while others may find them irritating or intuitive.
You may have seen a virtual lifelike lady greeting visitors at the entrance of a store. This is a Holographic Greeter which is intended to catch the attention of shoppers as they enter the store. It conveys a message to the audience addressing both their auditory and visual senses. They hear and read the message which is in form of colored QR Codes. Some users may be receptive and find the whole thing exciting while others may find it irritating.
One of the benefits derived from this innovation is that, it is cheaper than paying a real person to be a greeter. The Holographic Greeter may also be fitted with a scanner that displays enticing information. The scanner may display personal greetings, special offers, new products, discounts, directions, contacts, reservations or any other message in an interactive manner which makes shoppers receptive. There has been an increase in sales and profits for those who have adopted this technology.
When the Holographic Greeter is placed at the entrance, in places where people are waiting to be attended or in high traffic areas it becomes easier for them to concentrate on the advertised message. This engages the receptive audience that has a tendency to stop and pay attention, interacting with them in a personal way. If this can be done throughout 24/7 it can lead to more sales at cheaper overhead costs. Wherever the customers may be, the Holographic Greeter/Concierge provides them with a virtual information desk that can be accessed anytime.
Expert Opinion: Some experts are of the opinion that, human interactions are very important because human beings are social animals. Technology cannot eliminate that need of social interactions and people will still crave for it. Unfortunately the virtual greeter does not offer this to them.
Virtual Shopping Mirror
It has becoming easier to communicate with shoppers nowadays and interact with them through the Virtual Shopping Mirror. Shoppers can have their needs and preferences met in real time from a mobile device at home, online, in the store or anywhere else.
The popular Virtual Shopping Mirror concept is gaining reputation on fashion websites today. The mirrors have been introduced in boutiques, clothing stores, hair salons, barber shops and optics and they are proving to be successful.
You will be able to try fashion items virtually from the comfort of your home or in the storehouse without wearing them. Since there are so many items on display, you can search by brand, style, color, size and style to see how they would fit on you. This is a wonder in itself and quite fascinating when you view how shoes or clothes look on you and how they match virtually instead of viewing yourself in a real mirror. There may be no need to fit the shoes or wear the clothes to see how you look when you are using the Virtual Shopping Mirror. This has been embraced especially by those who have no time to shop physically. You can move and turn around to see different views.
The VM has brought exciting experiences to shoppers who can now view how they look on new fashion garments online within seconds.
Retail stores, exhibitions, booths, kiosks and trade shows have added VM technology where shoppers can choose items using a touch-screen VM, by either holding the item up in-front of the mirror or wearing it. You can try different combinations until you get your favorite outfit. You can select the garments which are on the menu and watch yourself on the screen and change the garments as you like while controlling the buttons virtually in the air.
On fashion websites robots which have different body shapes are used to fit the garments on. The right style which matches the shopper’s body shape is chosen using sensor measurements. The shoppers try to fit the prototype with different styles, colors and sizes of the garments until the best fit is chosen. This can be done by waving the clothes using hand motions on the screen in order to pick and try them using a digital mirror. Combine items as you like, on the screen to see how the combination looks like.
Another hand motion can put the items on the shopping cart and payment is done. You can also text the digital photos of the outfits to your mobile phone to shop later. This has advanced to a level that the mirror has become interactive giving you feedback on available colors, material information and even show you different accessories which are matching options, which you can wear together to co-ordinate the appealing fashion.
You can send images of your choice to friends and family using email or the social media to hear their opinions before you buy or just add them to the shopping cart to purchase. This will give shoppers the intelligence to make better shopping decisions. They will have control of what, where and when they want to shop using TV, tablets, mobile devices from anywhere even from home. Shopping will be more engaging and inspiring.
The Virtual Shopping Mirror will not replace traditional shopping but the two will go along together. Customers will save time and shop faster. They will end up with a smile when they see how they can look like in different outfits, which is entertaining. The salons and drugstores have VM for scanning different hair coloring products and make-ups which the customer has an interest of buying, on the customer’s digital photo without applying the make-up or hair products.
Expert Opinion: Some experts expect VM technology to be readily adopted by large departmental stores. The retailer will expect to realize more sales and higher profits. Others feel that the mirrors tend to be intuitive and some consumers might not embrace them. One of the challenges presented by these mirrors is that some people like touching the texture of the garment while some of the materials have some elasticity which is not presented on the Virtual Mirrors. You may also see how a shoe looks on you but you may need to feel the fit.
Touch-screen technology has become popular in this modern world helping the retailer to make interactions with the shopper more engaging and interesting. The shopping cart has become a friendly helper. It is fitted with a touch-screen computer which is intended to make shopping much easier. The overall consumer feedback has been encouraging and the future is optimistic for the shopper.
People can now touch a display by using the hand, fingertip or the nail. The user can also touch the screen using an object such as stylus. Whether you are using the touch screen of your smartphone, tablet computer or a mobile device, you can choose what you want from the display on the screen which is simpler than pressing buttons. Shoppers are now able to compare different products, prices, features and brands by using the information displayed on the touch-screen. They are able to interact directly with the content displayed. The future of shopping is enjoyable with the consumer targeted to have a smart shopping experience with the vibrant touch-screen.
The touch-screen has a display of items, recipes, specials and other information s readily available. When shoppers identify themselves or scan the shopping card, they are taken through their shopping lists and helped to shop by being shown the location of the products in the store while they are still at home. The product images, price comparisons, different brands, nutrition, ingredients and alternative products are all displayed to help the consumer make more informed decisions with everything at their finger tips. It is easy to choose what they want to buy with all this information.
The retailers communicate with customers anywhere, anytime through the Web, smartphones and other mobile devices or within the store. They are also able to personalize sales by understanding consumers’ shopping habits and preferences in order to meet their needs. This is done by collecting consumers’ data through their brand loyalty in their favorite stores.
Expert Opinion: Experts are of the opinion that, the Touch-screens will be popular in large enterprises where consumers are faced with excessive information where they generally tend to delay decision making. The touch-screen will help them view the information readily and make more informed decisions with ease and at a faster speed and this in turn increases sales for retailers.