Today, we are witnessing first-hand how technology is disrupting entire industries.
Retailing is being reshaped in so many different ways, from sourcing and supply chain to assortment and inventory planning, and from inventory and resource management to the checkout line. All of these changes focus on what’s in the store and on the shelf.
It’s great that retailers are embracing all sorts of new technology to run the enterprise leaner and more efficiently, but nobody makes a penny in retail until a customer buys something and we tend to forget that most critical moment, the decision to buy.
Advances in AI are powering new ways to connect with customers from conversational commerce to improved segmentation and hyper-targeted offers in the e- and m-commerce space. What a brilliant “cut-off” strategy ― making the sale before the customer even knows they want the product or sets foot out the door heading to the store. It’s not going to get any easier as more and more sophisticated online selling strategies are being tested and deployed to lock consumers into virtual shopping. Add to all of that split-second online buying that taps the emotional core of shopping and “triggers” the decision instantly. It’s not as easy to revoke that split second decision as it is in the store by simply placing an item back on the shelf.
So, with that mountain of challenges comes a single simple question: How to get consumers into the store and keep them coming back? Are we focusing enough on the shopping experience? If the answer were easy, we’d all be doing it, but it’s not. The answer in part is to use as many channels as possible to connect with customers and give them a reason to come into the store. At the end of all of those expectation building channels, options, and effort, comes the final test ― making the shopping experience in the store unique, immersive and last but not least flawless. Easy right? Far from it.
Technologies that can transform your business
A new generation of unified commerce solutions are linking shoppers’ behavior ― online, in-store, in real life, which is being harnessed to improve the retailer-customer relationship. There are many new technologies available today that can help retailers know even more about their customers and use that knowledge to sharpen their customer experience design and model even better, more unique customers shopping journey.
Here are some innovative technologies that show promise for even greater disruption in the store and are starting to give the retailers that adopt them a competitive edge over the competition:
Facial Recognition – A fun display determining what kind of shopper you are and telling retailers a little more about you, your preferences and behavior in the store.
Interactive Advertising – Ads Reality (a Fujitsu partner solution) showing an interactive VR catwalk in store using digital displays and consumer mobile technology to drive traffic and buying both online and in the store.
Smart Fitting Room – Combines Fujitsu’s Market Place POS software, Fujitsu TeamPOS 8000 POS Hardware, Fujitsu Taskforce wearable communications platform and an Interactive Mirror to improve not only the fitting room experience but also to drive sales at that most critical “moment of buying decision” by incorporating pay now in the fitting room to avoid checkout queues or even worse, abandoned sales.
Market Place with RFID – We’ve been talking about RFID for decades, but getting past the dock doors and into the stores has been a challenge. Cost, source tagging, reliability, even physics have stood in the way of realizing the dream of item level inventory management using RFID. With the potential of combining RFID with other technologies like machine vision and artificial intelligence, it looks like RFID may be ready for a renaissance. Labor wage rate pressure and focus on seamless checkout may be the impetus to push RFID over the goal line finally. Fujitsu Market Place and whole basket and cart scanning technologies are ready to take on the challenge of seamless checkout with RFID.
Taskforce – Today, many retailers are looking to bring more wearable technology to their store operating environments ― ranging from store staff communication, task management, and even safety all intended to improve the shopping experience for consumers. Hand-free two-way communication can be a significantly useful tool when running the store with tight labor hours and spread out staff. When integrated with self-service checkouts and POS, wearable technology using Fujitsu Taskforce can make all the difference between a happy customer and a customer leaving with a disappointing experience.
AI Delivery – Artificial intelligence can be harnessed in a growing number of ways, from assortment planning to pricing and promotions strategies. AI can also be used to help the store run more efficiently. With so many different tasks and priorities, can AI help store staff make better decisions on what they do next, or even multi-task and get more done in less time? The answer is yes, whether it’s taking care of the customer in front of you and at the same time managing alerts like a delivery arrival before the truck arrive at the back door or handling a remote approval at checkout, AI can help determine priorities and utilize resources across the store to operate more efficiently.
Intelligent Engineering with Augmented Reality Support – Seems like all we need these days is a set of tools and a smartphone to fix anything. That has never been truer than today and using augmented reality and mobile devices to help store technology support teams “see” the problems can help make corrections faster and easier. With intelligent engineering support, you have the ability to provide enhanced remote diagnostic and support using AR tools.
Retail Engagement Analytics – Using in-store consumer behavior analytics in real-time can help store operators and their staff respond to enhance the customer shopping experience. At the enterprise, in-store consumer behavior analytics helps store planners and merchants gain deeper insights on physical customer counts (not just transaction counts), passers-by, customer clustering, travel path, dwell time, and “hot and cold spots.” When merged with actual conversion rates, retailers can have much deeper insights on conversion rate, shoppability, and NPS score results.
Connect with us at NRF 2019: At Fujitsu, we have a very clear understanding of complex global retailing environments and challenges. If you are attending NRF, come see Fujitsu, a global powerhouse of leading edge retail technology “front and center” at Booth #4405, Jan 13-15, Javits Center, NYC. Fujitsu will exhibit and demonstrate all the technologies mentioned above.
We have a broad portfolio of “Connected Retail” solutions and services that can help you drive greater efficiency and business value from within your stores and how we can help you harness the power of “co-creation” to deliver new, tangible and lasting value, across your enterprise and the global customers and communities you serve.