With only 6.6% of retail sales conducted online in the third quarter of 2014, retailers know that it's critical to offer a seamless, stress-free experience for customers shopping in-store. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring.
Retail Dive was at the National Retail Federation's Big Show for 2015 in New York, where retailers and vendors turned out in full force to learn about and show off the future of retail. We saw many intriguing technologies hoping to remedy problems retailers might face, but the best came with a little bit of style.
Here are four technological innovations that could help retailers upend the old in-store model into something new and exciting.
Research shows that shoppers are significantly more likely to buy a product if they pick it up during the shopping experience. Once a product is selected and removed from an in-store display, Perch's interactive technology lights up and changes graphics, featuring on-demand product information.
Partnering with Kate Spade, Story, Baublebar, and more, the company claims that its products have increased both dwell times and sell-through rates for stores using them. The company also provides product interaction analytics for customers visiting the store.
MemoMi Labs recently partnered with Neiman Marcus to unveil their MemoryMirror, a fitting room installation outside of the actual stalls that lets shoppers see what they're trying on in a 360-degree view, change the color of the clothing, and compare outfits side-by-side. Once finished, shoppers can email or text the videos to themselves to share with friends.
Forget cards, pins, and even fingerprints. Toshiba’s Touchless Commerce technology wants to create a retail future where shoppers pay with their faces. Using 3D and facial recognition technology, the payment system scans the content of shoppers' baskets (currently limited to eight to 10 items) and the shopper’s face, charging the credit card attached to the facial profile. Although the system is still in beta and would probably take years for retailers and customers to trust and adopt, the innovation shows where the future of payments could be heading.
'Connected Glass' storefronts
eBay and Westfield Labs showed off their “Connected Glass” storefront at NRF, where shoppers can browse inventory found in-store and online, send selected items to dressing rooms, and even check out from their phones. Kate Spade experimented with this technology this summer with four pop-up Kate Spade Saturday interactive storefronts, while Rebecca Minkoff uses its dressing room model in some boutiques in New York and San Francisco.