3 Game-Changing Retail Tech Trends for 2015 – Wearable Tech, iBeacon and Mobile Payments
Last Updated:  May 22, 2018
The retail industry is the fastest to catch up to new tech trends. In order to stay relevant in a highly competitive market, every retailer needs to keep abreast with new technical innovations on the block.
Which technologies have the potential to disrupt? What are these technological advancements capable of? And, what does one need to know about these, to utilise them to their full potential? We will talk about 3 such technologies in this blog post.
1. Why Wearable Tech will benefit retailers
According to a new research from Accent Marketing, half of more than 1,000 consumers surveyed said they would buy wearable tech so brands can send alerts and have more insight into their lifestyle. Wearable tech, with its ability to collect data and also its sensor-driven element, has huge potential in the retail domain to gather analytics, enhance customer experiences and more. Here are a few reasons:
a) Huge scope for consumer data collection and analysis– Since wearables are in closer proximity to the fundamental movements, actions, and behavior of the consumer, the accuracy of data points collected could be higher than, say a smartphone. Collection of such data and its analysis offers huge scope of improvement in store layouts and product placement, optimizing the number of store associates at various locations and more.
b) Opportunity todeliver a seamless, omni-channel experience– With wearables, you get one more screen to interact with the customer. It gives retailers the opportunity to deliver a seamless experience across all screens – from laptops and tablets to phones and now say, watches. Brands that are able to do it well and soon, are sure to make a mark.
c) Take customer service to the next level – According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, 72 percent of consumers will look to wearable tech to improve customer service. Big retailers can outfit store personnel with wearable devices, thereby improving their responsiveness to in-store customer queries and requests.
How to make the most of wearable technology:
a) Enable it for very specific use cases: The Apple Watch has screen sizes of 38 and 42 mm. Such small screen sizes are not ideal for browsing e-commerce pages. You thus need to focus on delivering messages apt to the screen size, like bookmarking a dress, saving a coupon for later, or setting up an alert for a sale etc.
b) Ensure that your app is optimized for wearable devices: The experience offered to customers should not be a replica of the experience offered on a smartphone. The UX should be relevant to the new medium and should act like an extension of the phone. The Apple Watch, for instance is perfect for delivering instant notifications and quick glances, sharing information that can be acted on or ignored in a quick span of time. Anything that requires time is better suited for the phone.
2. Why iBeacon technology is the ‘next big thing’ for retail
According to a recent Business Insider report, beacons are expected to directly influence over $4 billion worth of US retail sales this year at top retailers. The same report also says that half of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. are testing beacons this year. With stores like Macy’s, House of Fraser, Lord and Taylor etc., deploying beacons at scale, it’s evident that retailers are convinced about the potential of beacons in retail.
Let’s look at why retailers should be investing in beacons this year:
a) Gather deep insights on consumer behavior: Beacons provide endless opportunities to collect massive amounts of untapped data on what products customers buy more often, which store locations are the most crowded, what are the most common traversal paths taken across the store. This can help improve store layouts, product placement and allocation of staff accordingly.
b) Personalize shoppers’ experience: Taking customers’ preferences, tastes, past purchases into account, you can deliver highly targeted offers and discounts to them. The easiest way to do it is to sync customers’ shopping lists, wishlists and favourites with your app.
How to make the most of beacons:
a) Limit the number of messages sent per store visit:Don’t send a plethora of offer and discount messages to customers. Offers should be based on certain ‘rules’ and criteria. Say, a regular customer who buys oats often can be sent a discount offer on milk; the same offer should not be sent to everyone inside your store.
b) Inform and educate customers about how the data collected will be used: Make sure you ask customers for permission to access bluetooth and location services as customers have a tendency to shy away from location-based services. It is, thus important to provide clear opt-in instructions.
c) Test your campaignon a limited audience before going mainstream: The best way to start a beacon campaign is to conduct a trial on a small scale with a limited set of people. Based on the experience and learnings from the trial, you can go mainstream.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!
3. Why Mobile Payments is the future of retail
In the United States, total mobile payments — comprising in-person payments, remote purchases, and peer-to-peer transfers — will nearly triple in five years, from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion in 2019, forecasts Forrester Research. The in-person portion will rise from $3.7 billion to $34 billion, Forrester estimates. Let’s look at how you can leverage mobile payments for your retail store:
a) Increased demand among customers: In its ‘Trends in Consumer Mobility Report’, Bank of America identified a preference for mobile payments among consumers. 38 percent of the respondents said they are comfortable using their smartphone as a wallet from which to make mobile payments. Nearly half (43 percent) use their smartphone to purchase items online, and more than half (52 percent) report receiving deals or offers on their mobile devices. There is thus, a huge demand for mobile payments among customers, that retailers can tap on.
b) Ability to process in-store payments faster: By offering mobile payments, the time for a customer to make a payment, and the staff time required for processing is decreased to a great degree. With Apple Pay, for example, consumers store credit card number(s) in the Passbook app on their iPhone. Making mobile payments involves simply holding the device near an NFC reader at the point of sale and approving transactions via Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Paying with CurrentC entails opening the CurrentC app on a mobile phone, scanning a QR code, and displaying a paycode to the cashier.
How to make the most of Mobile Payments:
a) Enhance customer engagement: Many mobile payment apps incorporate features that enable merchants to engage more closely with the customer. These kind of engagements, lead to repeat business and may turn occasional customers into regular ones.While some apps offer users the option of receiving and automatically redeeming exclusive offers and coupons, others help earn instant loyalty rewards and points.
b) Make sure payments are secure: Customers are wary of making mobile payments due to security concerns. As a retailer, you need to make sure that the payment option you offer is secure, all data is encrypted and inaccessible to hackers. Make sure your mobile payment app has built in security features and customers accounts and passwords are protected. Customer confidence in the payment option as a safe and secure transaction is the key thing here.
Thus, with ever transforming retail scenario, retailers need to keep up with the changing trends in technology – to surprise customers and beat the competition!
If you are planning an Eddystone beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to kickstart your campaign in under 15 minutes. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!