The Future of Retail Innovation – What’s your USP?

We're all consumers. We desire personalisation and instant gratification when we shop....How disappointing it is when your size clothing is NOT available!

We’re all consumers. We desire personalisation and instant gratification when we shop….How disappointing it is when your size clothing is NOT available!

The more we see and experience overseas, the more impatient we become with Australian retailers. We awaiting for them to innovate and integrate with proven technology solutions to provide us a Unified. Seamless. Personalised experience. That’s right – a.k.a Unique Selling Proposition.

3dotDigital recently presented at Queensland’s Premier Innovation and Technology event, QODE on The Future of Retail Innovations in Australia. The team along with our global technology partners have worked with retailers at a domestic and international level (inc. UNIQLO, Burberry and Dell) to deliver integrated tech solutions that blend the online and offline retail experience.  It’s become obvious that there are number of ways Australian retailers can take advantage of technology to yield greater return and meet global consumer needs.

Here’s several insights we shared …

1) Provide for Personalisation

Personalisation is a major key to enhancing the customer experience.

Personalisation makes customers feel special… if it’s on their terms. But HOW to personalise? As reported by Direct to Consumer ,

‘By combining good customer service with the latest customer experience technologies allows retailers can offer tailor-made, personalised experiences that keep customers coming back to their brand again and again.’

2) Ensure your physical stores are experience centres

Stores still have relevance but they need to be more than just a sales channel, or a warehouse of stock that you might otherwise find online. The National Retail Association only recently confirmed reports that the retail sector continues to be slow and that the mid-market to lower-value retail (mid-market apparel) is bearing brunt of physical store closures globally. However, consider that Alibaba began as an e-commerce company but is now aggressively expanding into physical stores across China. The same is occurring with Amazon. Let’s enable the potential of stores to be experience centres – extended arms of an enterprise’s digital touch-point. How? Keep reading!

3) Enjoy Real-Time Stock Control

At a basic level, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected physical objects embedded with sensors and displays. Your smartphone is an example of a connected device as is a virtual assistant device called Alexa. In the case of retail, IoT objects can include a kiosk, digital signage, cellular and Wi-FI tracking systems, RFID readers and smart cameras.

So What?

At present, a lot of time and energy by retail staff is focused on keeping track of items to ensure they don’t run out of stock and items aren’t misplaced on various shelves. Smart shelves automate both these tasks and simultaneously detect potential theft. The shelves are fitted with weight sensors and use RFID tags and readers to scan the products on both the display and stock shelves. Information can then be sent to a back-end inventory system so the shop assistant knows to re-stock. 

Enabling REAL-TIME STOCK CONTROL!

4) Optimise your Supply Chain

IoT enables demand-aware warehouse fulfilment. 

Currently, a typical distribution centre or warehouse is organised by aisles and shelves based on a fixed schematic. Using these technologies, warehouses can become smart spaces where automated pallets self-organise based on real-time demand. 

To this end, IoT can reduce inventory error, optimise your supply chain management, and decrease labour costs.

5) Understand how your retail network is connected

As consumers become omni-channel shoppers, every single touchpoint becomes increasingly crucial to a retailer’s success. However, each touchpoint affects the retail network in its own unique way as part of a larger connected system.

Have you considered how your partner e-commerce sites are affecting sales in your e-commerce site or physical stores?

Advanced geospatial and machine learning can now arm retailers with a detailed quantitative picture of how each of its customer touch points affects sales across the retail network and within micro markets.

From actioning these insights you can achieve a higher performing retail network!

6) Update for Voice Technology

Another emerging area growing under the data science banner is voice analytics.

An increasing amount of Australian homes are equipped with smart digital home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Home Pod. Admit it…you have one (or you know someone who does!). This technology provides significant opportunities for retailers to integrate the data from voice assistants into their omni-channel offering.  

Starbucks has even added its reorder app to Alexa, allowing customers to say “Alexa, tell Starbucks to place my usual order.” 

The Challenge – consider that you phrase questions differently when spoken to when written online.  You are likely to search the words ‘Men’s running shoes nike’ …but ask the question – ‘Hey Google, where can I buy Nike running shoes for Men?’

Search engine optimisation (SEO) was built for traditional searches, combing websites for keywords and ranking by relevance. Voice search has spawned a new field called “answer engine optimisation.” requiring updates to existing websites.

7) Action pricing changes immediately

It will be no surprise to you that price is a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions. 

Uber, for example, use dynamic pricing which matches fares to a number of variables such as time and distance of your route, traffic and current driver-to-driver demand. 

Retailers can also respond in real-time to changes in competitor’s prices, product demand and market conditions using dynamic pricing. The algorithms take into account factors such as individual commercial strategy and stock levels and adjust prices while ensuring margins are maintained. Being intelligent, they execute strategies which take advantage of pricing psychology. Tapping into repeat or regular history of loyal customers enables retailers to offer flexible pricing and contextual discounts. 

But how will retailers utilise the power of dynamic pricing in-store? 

Manually changing prices on each stock item will not cut it. There will be a move to dynamic digital signage and smart shelves connected through the IoT network which allows for changes in pricing to be actioned immediately.


8) Market contextually to customers

Facial Recognition can now integrate with a wide variety of retail solutions such as CRM and loyalty systems. Imagine alerts being sent to store assistants so that they can improve customer experience of your most loyal customers when they enter the store. Using a combination of in-store cameras and facial recognition software, retailers can now accurately assess the demographic information of shoppers. This includes metrics such as age and gender, enabling connected digital advertising solutions in-real time based on proximity.

Source

9) Excite your customers

Limitations with online shopping include not being able to try things on and see what looks good.

Yet this limitation doesn’t lead to shoppers rushing to stores to endure queues for the dressing room and nor does the thought of having to peel everything off to try one or two items.  

Enter Augmented Reality!

Optical retail chain Specsavers was one of the first to offer this in Australia allowing you to virtually positions different pairs of glasses on your face – producing a fluid front-on and side-on view.

Other augmented reality applications such as virtual change rooms enable shoppers to see a mirror image of themselves or generic body type wearing various clothing items. They can browse stock without the hassle of having to physically try them on. The USP – it’s an experience that entertains, engages, educates. It can convert more lookers into buyers. 

For retailers, augmented reality applications allow for the display of more stock than they could possibly fit in-store. Additionally, this tech solution can increase brand engagement, product exposure and reduce return rates because customers can make more informed choices.

What’s your USP?

To meet consumer expectations and needs today, an enhanced retail experience is invited, one that blurs the lines between the physical store and the digital world.  Available and proven tech solutions brings opportunities for retailers to optimise their operations, increase sales and provide a Unified. Seamless and Personalised experience.  

What’s your solution?

Any solution must be contextual to your brandbudget and business model. We at 3dotDigital, along with our global technology partners, invite conversations from businesses and individuals keen to understand the tech solution that will deliver on meeting your consumer needs and increasing your own commercial success.

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