Shopping lists used to be scraps of paper with hastily scribbled words on them: milk, sugar, Cheerio’s, beer. Now they’re becoming digital. And fast. There are many ‘shopping list’ apps available in both the App Store and Google Play: digital ways to note down what you need, and even sync your list with your family or housemates. As you discover you need something, you add it to the list on your smartphone and it updates the current one shared across a single household. That avoids the occasions when you buy milk and so does your partner, but you both forget to pick up the butter!
Of course, not everyone is going to use digital shopping lists, but the rise of apps enabling you to have the option of going digital shows just how fast the retail sector is changing. It’s one element in the emerging world of hyperconnected retail, which is the subject of a new whitepaper from Fujitsu: Retail’s Future in a Hyperconnected World. That future sees retailers making use of real-time insights from hyper-connectivity to boost store productivity, reduce waste and losses, drive better cash management and improve understanding of customers. The aim is to deepen brand loyalty, create new upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and boost growth.
All retailers want to achieve those objectives in a sector that faces multiple challenges. Consumers have never had so many ways to shop. They can shop online or instore, or do both at the same time. That’s why the point about digital shopping lists is important. Each shopping list is a set of data that can give retailers the insights they need to target customers with offers, ensure stock levels match demand, and suggest added products they might like.
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, you can see how a digital list can be accessed by a retailer (with permission, of course), and then influenced. Amazon’s Dash buttons are an attempt to get ahead of the list itself. A consumer chooses a brand they like, and then just presses a button when they need to buy it again.
Bricks and mortar retailers need to compete with online retailers, but, in the new world of hyperconnected retail, both can thrive. In fact, most retailers have online offerings which run in tandem with their physical stores. Large retailers are using the data they get from their online operations to understand customers better; but, as the whitepaper points out, “When it comes to understanding shoppers in physical stores in the same ways, these same retailers are in the dark.”
The key to shedding light on what customers are doing in store is in their pockets: their smartphone. That’s why networked cameras, sensors, and Wi-Fi access points, beacons and RFID tags are important. They work together to achieve hyper-connectivity. Those technologies help you influence each shopping list – whether it’s digital or just in the customer’s mind – and manage physical stores so they deliver flexible and rich experience as possible.
The first thing on your list should be to download the whitepaper. It makes fascinating, and rewarding reading.