Deep Dive 19 minutes Premium

RetailTech: In-Store Technology

Executive Summary

Retail stores are bursting with technology: on the store floor, on the walls and shelves and ceilings, in sales associates’ hands and in the back room. This report outlines several technologies retailers use to communicate with consumers, offering a quicker, smoother, more pleasant and entertaining shopping experience.

  • In 2019, US retailers should spend about $100 billion on capital improvements (stores and equipment), we estimate from US Census Bureau data.
  • Some of the most powerful in-store technology is brought in by consumers — their smartphones — which they use to research products, visualize themselves trying on apparel and even checkout and pay themselves.
  • There is a great deal of interactive technology in stores, such as product displays and magic mirrors, which collect information such as customer movements or emotions, which can then be used to offer personalized experiences and use augmented reality technology to show how a garment looks when tried on.
  • Sensors and cameras inside the store can gather a great deal of data about the shoppers: how many enter the store, the areas they visit, which products they pick up, if they carry them into the fitting room. Facial recognition technology can identify them, though this raises privacy concerns.
  • An army of robots has invaded stores, now greeting, guiding and fetching for customers, as well as taking inventory, mopping the floors, helping on the loading dock and in the warehouse.

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