Today’s retail store is undergoing a drastic change thanks to emerging technology. Trends discussed at the National Retail Federation’s recent Retail’s Big Show expo include machine learning, the rise of big data and continually adapting devices…all of which are evolving the traditional shopping experience.
The Future of Retail
The retail store of the future embodies a quick, easy experience for the consumer. Consumers expect a digital and responsive environment even in a brick-and-mortar store, complete with the same insights they could get while shopping online. To enable this consumer experience, retailers should expect to invest in tech: tablets, digital screens and complete Wi-Fi capability.
When it comes to paying for goods, alternative payment methods are quickly gaining on cash transactions in popularity. In fact, CNBC reports that consumers are opting for new payment methods more than ever. Some 30 percent of respondents to a recent survey expressed comfort with a completely cash-free society. Retailers should be prepared. One example to consider: wireless payment “terminals” complete with tablets or computers that allow customers to self-checkout.
When planning for the future, retailers must consider the shoppers of tomorrow. Generation Z, those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, are one of the most cyber-savvy generations yet. As they age, they will continue to express a low tolerance for technologies that don’t work. In retail, especially, the expectation is a frictionless experience.
How can a retailer keep from becoming obsolete? Forbes reports that the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to create an impact on consumers, ultimately heightening the overall retail experience. The best action a retailer can take is to stay abreast of technology trends, updating systems accordingly.
Are You Ready?
With all of these changes on the horizon, security is a big concern for retailers. For example, if you purchase a new set of self-checkout kiosks, you should have the proper security in place to monitor these points-of-service. Install video cameras near these areas to record all activity. You can also check in on these feeds from your mobile device, no matter where you are.
With such substantial investments in your retail store’s technology, you’ll want to make sure everything is safe when you lock up at the end of the day. Monitored alarms can be installed to detect an open door, broken window or motion inside your store. You can receive alerts on your mobile device, and the alarms can also notify a monitoring center.
As more technologies are put online, there is a greater need to ensure cyber security. Especially in a retail setting, protecting customers’ sensitive credit card information is a top priority. Password-protect your network and all IoT devices to guard against hackers. Ensure that your sales software is up-to-date, and regularly assess your susceptibility to cyber attacks, increasing security where necessary.
Finally, rest easy knowing that you can monitor your business with flexible and convenient mobile solutions. You can arm and disarm your security system, check in on live video feeds, get activity reports of certain areas in your store and more, all from your mobile device.