The day-to-day role of in-store employees is changing as new advancements in retail technology become more readily available. Retailers can use innovative technology to perform routine operational tasks while employees spend more time focusing on customer service and providing the best shopping experience possible.
In a recent article for Total Retail, Worldpay US Vice President of Innovation and Design Joe Kleinwaechter addressed three tech trends that are re-shaping the entire retail experience for both the customer and the in-store employee.
Retail robots are smart machines that can help consumers find specific products, offer customized promotions, provide inventory updates and accept secure payments more efficiently than many human associates. For example, SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper is one of the most talked-about robots in the retail industry right now. Pepper can welcome, inform and amuse customers and has already been placed in stores across Japan, including Nescafé sales outlets. Although these robots might seem threatening to the role of the human employee, they are actually helping to improve the consumer and employee relationship by performing monotonous tasks – e.g. checking inventory – and allowing human associates to focus more on customer service and problem solving.
Cognitive Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Half of consumers who shop in-store are more likely to shop at certain retailers based on the technology that is used to assist them, according to a Salesforce study. By equipping in-store employees with cognitive technologies or IoT systems that collect consumer data, such as customers’ order histories or stored payment information, retailers can offer a more seamless shopping process that adds a personal touch. Omnichannel systems can connect information from all touchpoints – in-store, online and mobile – to better understand customers. While this information provides good insight for retailers, it also creates a more enjoyable and individualized shopping experience for the consumer. Salesforce also found that fifty-three percent of millennials think it would help if a physical store knew about the online research they’ve done prior to getting there, and 31 percent want store associates to know what they’ve previously purchased in-store or online.
Point of Sale (POS) Technology
The practice of waiting at a checkout register may soon be eliminated from the in-store shopping experience. POS technology is making check-out seamless and less time-consuming, whether the customer is paying via mobile, credit card or wearable device. A classic example is the Apple Store set up. Customers can pay for their iPhone in the exact spot they found it using a portable device the employees carry around. In the future, retail robots could also act as a POS device and advance the pay-as-you-go sector even more.
To read more about how these three emerging technologies are changing the shopping experience, read the full article here.
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