No doubt, digital innovations are changing the way we live. Most importantly, they are reshaping how shopping is done .Shopping experience online is a norm now in most countries and it has been a game-changer for the retail sector.Interestingly, lots of consumers still want to physically interact with the products before buying. They love to ‘touch and feel’ products available in a shop before they decide buying them, according to TimeTrade Systems research. So, what is the solution?
Virtual reality is reshaping the way we could shop. From car dealerships, auto design studios to virtual retail stores, VR is the future. Researchers are working on VRs that could take you to your desired virtual store. It would enable touch-based communication where you pick any product you like and feel it. One current example is Gloveone, who has created virtual reality gloves.
Another example is a virtual grocery store in Korea. The digital billboards are attached to walls at locations with huge traffic such as a railway station. As consumers pass by, they see them as regularly displayed items on shelves. The purchasing is as simple as 1,2,3; scan the QR code of the product you want to buy with your smartphone and done. The product will reach to your doorstep.
Recently, Wal-Mart Canada presented a Virtual Toy Store, which is a 3D display of toys at public places. Same as the Korean grocery store, consumers can scan the QR code of the product they are interested in buying and rest is done electronically. And that’s not it. Wal-Mart has more plans for you as they have collaborated with Proctor & Gamble to deploy sales truck in the state of New York displaying product images and QR codes lining the body panels.
Most people are used to reading user reviews before buying a product, but now consumers prefer checking user-generated video reviews. Google found this interesting and introduced ‘Channel Gadget’ that works best both for customers and the retailers. The customer is connected to the retailer who has their desired item in stock and they could buy it there. Offering a similar shopping experience is Ditto permitting you virtually try their eyewear before purchase. Their web app lets you try different glasses onto your face, so you find out what looks best on you.
Ecommerce sites are not just there anymore to display items asking you click on the purchase button, some even allow you to customize your desired product. Do you want to design your own shoe? Yes that’s possible now. Shoes of Prey is offering a nifty tool that lets you customize your shoe from toe to heel.
Internet of Things
Not only shoppers but retail owners also can take advantage of latest technologies. One good example is ‘Smart’ digital price tags, which would allow them to alter prices of products in their stores with a click of a button. Imagine you have thousands of products and you want to re-price them, how much time it will take? You can even change prices to reflect the real-time demand of a product, but that could bring a negative feedback from consumers.
‘Beacons’, a tech previously employed to inform customers about discounts and coupons, is now reshaping the shopping experience. Customers looking for Snapdeal mobile coupons and Flipkart offers for mobiles, were informed on their smartphones as a deal becomes available. The technology has gone one step forward. In the present time, what you need to do is to download the retailer’s app on your smartphone, opt into beacons and it will guide you throughout your shopping. For example, if you are unable to find an item, beacons will tell you where you can find it. Future implications include the personalized shopping where a sales associate would attend you the moment you walk in the store.