The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world and making an impact on nearly every industry, and retail is no exception. While some changes that are currently being made will likely be short term, some might become permanent. Retail tech is adapting quickly to help retailers be able to reopen safely and successfully as soon as they can.
There are a wide range of changes and new ideas coming to the retail space. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent trends in retail IT and tech so you can prepare for the second half of this year.
How Will Retail Tech Evolve Throughout the Rest of 2020?
Virtual and Augmented Reality
While this might sound like something you’d only see in a movie, augmented reality will soon be, well, a reality. From dressing rooms that have high-powered screens to beauty counters with smart mirrors, shoppers will be able to see how they look in certain products without ever actually touching them. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to accelerate the adoption of this technology later this year.
Social Distancing Sensors
While this wasn’t needed before the pandemic, retailers that want to be open during an era of social distancing might find this useful. Indyme is a company that already sold sensors, cameras and monitors for retailers to watch certain areas of their stores. Now, though, they’ve slightly changed their product to remind people to stay distant. Indyme’s sensors can be used to monitor foot traffic in crowded areas of your store, such as the ends of aisles and checkout lines. Then, if the sensors detect a crowd is standing too close together, it will play a message reminding people to spread apart for safety.
Again, this was a trend that was on the rise before the pandemic, but now will become an expectation, rather than a nice-to-have. The sooner retailers can start to look for the right solution for their shop, the better (and sooner) they’ll be able to serve their customers. There are many different types of contactless payment options, from paying via mobile to tap-and-pay technology. Likewise, the industry is also looking at ways to clean card processors in between customer use.
Chances are you’ve heard of the Amazon Go Grocery store that opened earlier this year. There, customers can shop without checking out, by taking products off the shelves and then simply leaving. Sensors, cameras, and other technology know which products were taken and automatically charge the customer’s Amazon account.
While not all retail shops will be able to do this, there are other ways around it. One option is to have QR codes, where shoppers can scan the items they want to purchase, and then they’re delivered later. There will likely be an even bigger increase in online shopping, either from a mobile device or a computer. Product delivery services will also continue to rise in popularity.
Have you ever wanted to be able to target your customers with accurate, personalized messages while they’re in the store? Beacons are a way to do just that. These devices work when your customers have their Bluetooth enabled and your store’s app downloaded to their phone. If they have both of these things, the beacon can send your customers an update as they’re walking past the shoe department to remind them of the pair they were looking at on your website earlier this week. In the COVID-19 world, these beacons can almost act as sales associates for customers who wish to socially distance, and they can help decrease the amount of time shoppers are in the store.
These are five of the biggest trends in retail tech that are going to continue to grow throughout the second half of 2020. While they might be gaining attention due to COVID-19, they’re likely to last long after. Take the time now to identify which of these innovations your store could use to stay ahead of the game this year.
If you’re ready to upgrade your existing retail tech or deploy new technologies, call Kinettix. Our qualified global field techs are prepared to handle your retail IT projects — whenever, wherever. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.