By Amy Nguyen
Shopping is more than a hobby for me, it’s a family pastime, energy boost and major source of happiness. So, imagine my excitement about emerging technologies that will make shopping easier and even more fun.
Picture this, you are entering your favorite clothing store where all the blouses, pants and jackets are neatly organized by colours and size. It immediately becomes a space where you feel comfortable because it’s familiar. You can browse or locate an item quickly. The employees are knowledgeable about the product but if they are unavailable then you can take matters to your own hands because the store has devices that can give you all the information you need.
The device is a long, thin, double sided touchscreen located throughout the store that instantly provides details about the product. It can even suggest other items to complete your outfit. It will tell you exactly where the item is in the store. If the store does not carry your size, you can search for this item at a different store or online. You can place a hold or buy it directly and have it shipped to your house the same day with no additional fees.
Once you are in the change room, you see a smart mirror. Instead of awkwardly calling out to a sales associate to grab another size or colour, you can communicate to the employee using the mirror from the comfort of the changing room. You can also search the store’s inventory and virtually try on different clothing, bypassing the time and bother of physically getting the product.
Once you are done shopping, you simply stroll out the door while your transaction goes through a contactless checkout. No waits, no long line-ups.
Sound like a dream?
This picture will soon be a reality as some of these technologies are in the process of being developed. Current retailers are now focusing on using the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver a better customer experience by connecting the physical store online. E-Bay has teamed up with Rebecca Minkoff to experiment with rolling-out smart mirrors in stores. Holt Renfrew, one of Canada’s premier retailers, is adopting IoT technology capabilities to better personalize their customer’s experience.
As a customer, my journey is different than yours. While I enjoy the experience, you may dread it. Retailers will soon have the ability to customize each shopper’s journey, using the latest technologies to create a more seamless experience for their customers. It won’t be long until we will have a store of the future at the local mall.