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5 companies using technology to change the face of retail

Jan 2017 • 4 min read

Technology is booming in retail. With the High Street under threat, tech companies are developing ways to optimise the retail experience. The physical store has not changed over the last century but the shopper has. With the vast changes in technology over the last 20 years, the retail sector is lagging behind. These five tech startups are examples of how adapting the retail environment and analysing data can revolutionise the shopping experience.

Retail technology data

Retail Report allows big data to be harnessed to improve sales and customer experience

1. Retail Report

Data isn’t just online, it’s everywhere and growing fast. Data is invaluable for analysing the performance of any business, but it is a powerful tool for monitoring the standards of a retail store or centre.

Retail Report allows this data to be harnessed – it automatically collects data from around a centre and uploads it to a secure cloud portal. It then uses algorithm technology to turn this information into manageable and insightful reports, allowing management to develop and improve their centres. The sentirating feature, for example, monitors social media feeds and immediately alerts management to any sudden negative downturns in sentiment – often notifying of complaints such as long queues or broken lifts etc.

2. Augment

Augment uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology to increase conversion rates by creating an omnichannel retail experience to drive engagement and sales. Their service allows customers to try products in lifelike AR through their own device at home. This real-time augmented reality experience for retail removes the guesswork when shopping online and facilitates the path to purchase. Connecting offline and online shopping platforms not only drives sales but also makes the purchasing process easier and more convenient.

AR technology is currently fresh and exciting, making it a valuable marketing tool with the power to engage potential customers on a new level. However, while novel, AR also improves the buying process. By engaging with a product, a customer is more likely to feel comfortable making a purchase – especially on high ticket items such as furniture.

Retail technology robot

Robots are being used to complete manual and repetitive tasks

3. Simbe robotics

Robots and robotics are being used in customer service roles and retail is no exception. Many businesses are finding robots can be used to complete manual and perhaps mundane work. Simbe robotics’ autonomous shelf auditing and analytics robot, Tally performs tasks such as auditing shelves for out of stock items and pricing errors.

Tally undertakes the repetitive and laborious tasks and operates safely during normal store hours alongside shoppers and employees. Tally is equipped with a charging dock that it can autonomously navigate for continuous operation. The robot includes a suite of sensors enabling it to operate reliably and safely in retail environments while capturing information on the state of merchandise in the store. The data captured by the robot is sent securely to the cloud for processing and analysis. The data is then exposed through both an API and front-end application alongside specific recommendations to improve store performance to key stakeholders.

 4. Oak Labs

Oak Labs aims to bridge the gap between the online and offline world and create intuitive customer experiences. Their feature product, The Oak Mirror, is an interactive, touch-screen mirror creating an interactive fitting room experience. It allows shoppers to customize their fitting room’s ambiance, explore product recommendations and digitally seek assistance from store associates.  Shoppers who use dressing rooms are seven times more likely to make a purchase than those who just browse the sales floor.

Some technologies may be great for marketing, but technologies such as Oak Lab aim to take away the painful or inconvenient aspects of shopping. Driving sales in physical stores is essential considering the dramatic takeover of online shopping and retail stores must adapt.

Retail technology

 Making visiting stores an experience is key to combating online sales

5. Brickwork

Brickwork also aims to change the shopping experience by merging the online and offline experience. Brickwork gives retailers the tools to turn online traffic into physical footfall. With Brickwork, retailers can activate web & mobile browsers to deliver more customers into their local stores. Up to 80% of all customers who buy in brick & mortar initially look at products or retail websites. Brickwork allows retailers to engage with these customers and draw them in store.

The physical and digital worlds are no longer separate entities and the borders between the two are beginning to merge. Technology is allowing the best features of online shopping to feature in brick-and-mortar stores to create an omni-channel experience.

Connecting with a shopper’s smartphone opens up a myriad of possibilities of how to reach shoppers in new ways. Digital displays can show items that a shopper may have recently looked at online, but not purchased. Plus, if the shopper touches the item on screen an assistant will be notified to bring the item over. Alternatively, if the item is out of stock, the assistant is able to suggest alternatives based on the shopper’s past purchasing behaviour. Such technologies allow for a more personal experience, especially as mobile detection beacons can notify store assistants of your arrival, allowing them to greet you.

Automation and data analysis is the future and our partners at RetailReport can unlock the power that data holds for your organisation. For your free demo, contact us on 01279 215 915 or email [email protected].

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