ONE DAY, I’ll go into shops again (thanks to digital)

Published on 15/03/19

Customer experience and artificial intelligence have finally arrived in the retail world. Or at least, that was the major takeaway from the NRF Retail’s Big Show in mid-January in New York. Oney brings you a review of the 4 hottest trends which could lure people back to the high street. Examples at the forefront.

1. Intelligence is everywhere...even your shopping trolley !

Labels, trolleys, and point of sale terminals are integrated in the customer experience.

Result : shopping reinvented.

 We’ve all been there : for customers, wasting their time, rushing around the supermarket, looking for all the items on their shopping list, it’s a nightmare…Or at least, it was….

Kroger, the American retailer, is now working with Microsoft to design and set up digital labelling capable of providing real-time information. Not only can they to produce advertising materials, these labels interact directly with Kroger’s customer app to guide consumers efficiently through their shopping list. No more running through the aisles searching for soya tofu!

And why not pay with your shopping trolley?

That’s what Caper, the intelligent shopping trolley, can do. Equipped with a touch screen, cameras and weight sensors, Caper automatically scans and recognises products as they are placed inside. With its integrated point of sale terminal, there’s no need to queue at the checkout ! And the best part is that it’s not just an idea: Caper is currently being tested in two New York shops with a view to a full launch.

Crédit photo : Caper

2. Employees seize (back) power !

Data has finally left the realm of IT departments. Now it’s in the employees’ hands as well.

 Equipped with smart phones and smart watches, section managers and warehouse staff can now see data analysis directly and anticipate possible stock shortages or sales bursts.

Aim: ensure an omni-channel process which is quicker, helping users to process orders online, manage stock, speed up tasks and, ultimately, free up vital workforce to focus on the essential: exemplifying the brand and taking care of the customer.

The leading example ? Home Depot – undoubtedly. This American distribution company which specialises in home goods has put machine learning at the heart of its strategy, starting with its suppliers and warehouses for optimal stock management…and in future in shops with “enhanced sellers” who, earpieces in place, will be able to advise customers “live” about where products are located, their features and availability…the aim is clear: win the battle for customer satisfaction !

Crédit photo : The Home Depot

3. Hyper-localisation, hyper-personalisation… for hyper efficiency !

Having the right product on offer at the right time is every retailer’s dream…and that’s exactly what’s happening here !

The leading example? Dollar Shave Club, a pioneering company in the United States for subscription shaving products which, since starting out, has developed through its website.

These days the subscription model is losing steam which necessitates getting closer to “end users”. The brand taken a new turn.

How ? Quite simply by installing vending machines at strategic points: stations, airports, stadiums…

Forget your everyday vending machine spitting out crisps and soft drinks! The Dollar Shave Club vending machine is way more intelligent. It texts customers when they are near a machine and it invites them to buy products based on their purchasing history.

Beyond that, it’s also a powerful communication tool with screens displaying the latest humorous and disruptive advertising aimed at challenging the “high tech” image of Gillette’s previous ad campaigns. Here the hero is the average consumer, shaving their legs…shaving  their head. A shock campaign in Times Square during the NRF.

Crédit photo : Dollar Shave Club

4. The shopping experience : just enjoy it !

Advanced merchandising, dramatisation, customisation and personalisation but moreover a truly “phygital” approach…that is what you can expect when you enter the new flagship Nike store on 5th Avenue.

 After its Soho store, the Swoosh brand has gone one further with its app which lets customers choose, have their size brought to them and then, of course, try on.

There’s also a “Speed Shop” area, which, using the app again, allows purchases be made quickly. The sneaker bar lets people personalise their shoes.

Right up on the top floors are the Sneaker Lab, the biggest concentration of Nike shoes anywhere in the world, and the Nike Expert Studio where Nike members can have an appointment with brand specialists.

So, bricks and mortar are definitely not dead… even the purists are getting stuck in, like Covergirl and its digitalised shop which offers augmented reality to try make up, and a 3D printer to personalise its products. More than ever before, it’s the experience that makes the difference.

Crédit photo : Nike

NRF RETAIL’S BIG SHOW, what’s that ?

It’s undoubtedly one of the retail world’s most important events. It takes place every year in New York and lets people to discover new connected retail solutions.

37,000 visitors

16,000 retailers

700 exhibitors

99 countries represented (France was in the top 3 countries, excluding USA)