Five Technologies That Will Disrupt Retail in 2015
In 2015, consumers will inevitably begin to integrate wearable connective technology more into their daily lives. For example, Luxottica Group S.pA. is launching a multiyear R&D collaboration with Intel Corp. to create eyewear infused with smart technology. The ultimate goal is to deliver smart, fashion-forward products that are meaningful and desirable to consumers. The first product from Intel and Luxottica is expected to launch in 2015.
Beyond creating a new touch-point for executing transactions and accepting payment, wearable devices will also provide a new channel for targeted promotions, behavioral and location tracking, and customer service. The level of intimacy and personalization will be even greater than that provided by mobile devices, requiring retailers to show even more sensitivity to consumer privacy and comfort. (See original story: Look out Google Glass, Luxottica and Intel partner on wearable tech)
Responsive design helps retailers easily optimize their e-commerce sites for the mobile channel, but native apps help retailers create specifically tailored mobile experiences. For example, apps let retailers more easily offer mobile consumers features such as in-store navigation, location- and time-specific promotions, social shopping with friends, and virtually trying on apparel items.
Target Corp. has gone live with several new in-store navigation features for its iPhone app. The features include new interactive maps along with enhanced shopping lists and search capabilities. Leveraging Point Inside technology, Target customers can use the app to more easily build shopping lists, find product locations and determine item availability at local stores. (See original story: Target adds store navigation features to app)
TGI Fridays recently launched a drone-based holiday promotion that produced some unintended bad publicity when a journalist visiting a restaurant received facial injuries from spinning drone blades. However, other retailers will undoubtedly learn from the error of TGI Fridays’ ways and find safer ways of using drones as promotional tools.
There are surely other drone-based efforts in development to support a host of unexpected and innovative processes. Drones may not wind up disrupting retail in exactly the manner Amazon intended, but they are almost certain to cause disruption. (See original story: Take that Amazon, TGI Fridays deploys ‘Mobile Mistletoe’ drones)
Connected associates armed with tablets, smartphones and PDAs have been helping to bridge the gap between the brick-and-mortar store and digital retail channels for some time now. But 2015 should be the year stores themselves truly become connected.
For example, specialty retailer Rebecca Minkoff has opened a “connected store” powered by EBay technology in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, Using EBay technology, the stores include mirrored displays with touchscreen video content that let customers request associate assistance or order drinks. Other features include the ability to use the Rebecca Minkoff mobile iOS app in-store to obtain personalized shopping options. (See original story: Rebecca Minkoff partners with EBay on connected stores)
Seamless retail has been the leading retail technology buzzword of the last few years, and on the front end retailers have been doing a decent job of creating a unified customer experience that lets consumers engage with retailers whenever, wherever and however they choose. But on the back end, fulfilling seamless retail has proven more challenging.
Responding to that challenge, Lowe’s Companies Inc. is among the first users of an omnichannel fulfillment solution that is being jointly developed by JDA Software Group Inc. and IBM. The solution will enable an omnichannel and transparent supply chain by synchronizing comprehensive order capture and order management with precision retail planning, efficient labor productivity and intelligent fulfillment. The combined solutions will resolve issues such as in-store pickup of online orders and fulfilling orders from alternate store locations, in real time. (See original story: Lowe’s provides omnichannel fulfillment with JDA-IBM solution)
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