In the past, shoppers typically entered retail environments at an informational disadvantage, and had to rely on a store’s personnel to help them overcome it. This was at the core of good customer service. So was making sure that customers could get in and out of a store as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Now technology is revolutionizing how retailers and shoppers negotiate these imperatives. The days when a shopper sidled into a big retail establishment clutching a scrawled shopping list and scanning the premises for an indication of where to go first are vanishing. Now shoppers are finding aid in the form of interactive digital displays, product information apps, and other tools.
Tech has also started making shopping faster. “Tap and go” contactless payment technology is cutting precious seconds off the checkout process. New staff task tools are bringing points of sale to in-store shoppers wherever they happen to be, eliminating lines. With “click and collect” services, shoppers can order something online and then show up at the store to take it home whenever works best for them.
Shopping from home, meanwhile, is becoming even easier thanks to tech that makes reordering staple products almost effortless. Tech is also increasingly defying the “last-mile problem” that makes home delivery a challenge.
This report delves into the state of the art of these innovations, lending a view of how they’re changing the process by which we buy things. It also discusses what we might expect in the future as the ongoing technological revolution continues to transform retail.