The development of new technology has always had a strong and immediate impact on the world of commerce. New hardware and software is very quickly translated into practical applications for online and offline businesses. You might be thinking of fitting out or refurbishing a retail space in the near future. Here we’ll examine six ways in which these new developments will affect both the process and the result of your shopfitting endeavour.
Major retailers are now experimenting with shops that allow customers to make purchases without ever having to interact with sales staff if they do not wish to. This can be achieved by a number of means. Some systems use mobile apps linked to credit cards which the user can scan themselves using the camera on their phone. Other setups use cameras to observe customers and link that to information gathered by bluetooth sensors to determine their identity and the products they have chosen. This staff-free checkout process must be balanced with security and theft concerns. However, many customers express a preference for this style of shopping which could rejuvenate foot traffic to some physical locations. This technology is still being proven, but it maybe be desirable to arrange your retail space to allow for easier integration and conversion in the future.
Fully dynamic pricing
Some retailers tend to have large volume of products on their shelves, each individually priced. For the first time, the technology needed to remotely update and display information and prices for each item is becoming affordable and easy to install. Based on electronic ink systems, these individual screens may be programmed wirelessly or integrated into the local network of the shop. This will then allow prices to be continuously updated and refined based on time of day, demographic changes, pre-programmed sales and other factors of your choice. Using a system like this will require careful analysis and planning before committing to your fitting out.
Pre-visualisation of shopfitting
In order to make a commercial space into a successful venture, it is necessary to fully understand how it will look and operate before starting the hard work of making it a physical reality. Architects and designers have many tools at their disposal to demonstrate 3D walkthroughs of their mockups and proposals. New software which integrates with mobile phones and tablets will allow this pre-visualisation process to take place in the store itself. By moving the device you will be able to see a live view of the potential design. This will allow the design to be tweaked and refined and snags to be overcome before starting your fitting out. The main benefit of this it that it is always less expensive to make required changes mistakes earlier rather than later.
Virtual store assistants
The use of bluetooth beacon technology has become more widespread lately, and one potentially interesting use case is to assist customers without incurring extra staffing costs. Some retailers are now using assistant apps which work on mobile phones being used by people in the shop. The beacons allow the app to know exactly where the user is located, and can then offer directions and assistance in finding particular items. Additional useful information such an online reviews for individual items can also be offered to the customer. Using this approach will require the development of a custom app as well as highly-integrated beacon system when fitting out the shop.
Although expensive, new mirror systems which integrate displays and interactive touchscreen technology allow retailers to support and encourage customers during a vital time in their purchasing decision-making process. Shoppers can be helped to feel safe and relaxed when trying on clothes using magic mirrors, which allow the lighting to be altered, different angles to be displayed, or even alternate sizes of clothes to be requested and brought to them. Users may also be identified using their phone, allowing past purchasing history and preferences to be displayed, and individualised recommendations to be made.
This marketing technique also relies upon the use of beacon technology. Certain locations inside the retail space are outfitted with sensors which can identify individual smartphones in the immediate area. Special offers and coupons may then be sent directly to a customer via bluetooth or a specialised app. For example, the system maybe observe a customer lingering near or repeatedly returning to a particular item. Since this often indicates indecision about their purchase, they will be then be given a custom time-limited offer to encourage them to make a choice. This technology requires careful installation and placing of the beacons during the shopfitting process, as well as a suitable choice of software vendor.